A Quick History of Online Surveys

Our members often ask us how the online survey became a thing. They wonder why companies are willing to pay for opinions. We love answering questions that matter to our members, so here’s the scoop.

Companies Want Opinions!

Did you realize that companies truly value our opinions? They’re in the problem-solving business. To sell, their goods need to solve a problem for their customers. Think about things we all buy, and the problems those items solve. That list could go on forever, but what it boils down to is that everything we buy is for a purpose. We seek things that make our lives better and easier.

Companies desperately want insight into our buying habits. Surveys help answer the questions that companies have about consumer buying. These questionnaires help brands better identify a target audience to woo in advertisements. Our opinions shape marketing campaigns.

Opinions are highly valuable to companies. So they use surveys to capture those opinions and learn from them.

Surveys Started Before the Internet

Long before the internet was around, companies used other methods to gather consumer information. Questionnaires often came in the mail for consumers to fill out and return. Some companies assembled focus groups, gathering a variety of people together in a central location to answer questions. Sometimes, telephone agents would call and ask the opinions of people in the household.

Downfalls of Non-Digital Survey Methods

These previous information-gathering methods worked, but they were time-consuming and costly. Companies spent a lot of money on postage for their mailed surveys. They paid people to meet for focus groups.

And once they got the information, they had to spend time gathering all the data into a useable form. They had to read handwriting that wasn’t easy to decipher. Plus, all that paper also lead to incredible amounts of waste. While companies could recycle it, consumers often regarded the surveys as junk mail and sent them straight to the trash.

Telephone surveys also weren’t as effective as desired. People answering the phone often mistakenly assumed the person wanted to sell them something, and hung up before providing information.

These downfalls meant companies were ready to try something different. They wanted to streamline their information-gathering missions.

Hello Digital Surveys!

As the Internet took off in popularity and accessibility, companies started rejoicing! They realized that a digital survey:

  • Didn’t produce the waste
  • Reduced the cost of gathering opinions
  • Was much easier to validate
  • Provided the same information as more traditional methods

It was everything they’d been looking for. With digital surveys, companies could reach an even bigger audience. Printing and postage costs did not limit them.

Online Surveys Spread Rapidly

After the initial testing of digital surveys was complete, more companies jumped on the bandwagon. They started creating surveys to gather opinions virtually.

As consumers grew overwhelmed with surveys popping unwelcomed into their inboxes, companies had to find a way to improve response rates.

Survey sites were born, helping match companies to consumers who wanted to share their opinions. Rewards began popping up as a way of thanking the consumer for completing the survey.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

iRazoo Offers Digital Surveys

Did we answer all your burning questions about the history of online surveys? We hope so!

If you’re looking for a great survey site to try, we’d love to have you join us. iRazoo offers so much more than surveys, so sign up for a free account today and start earning!