When online polling first surfaced more than a decade ago, it was considered highly suspect by academics and industry professionals alike. But, over time, telephone surveys became more expensive, “Do Not Call” lists were adopted, and the limitations of snail-mail surveys for cell phone-packing millennials became clear. At the same time a number of academics were proving the reliability of online polling results. Ultimately our industry came to accept online surveys and their various trade-offs.
Today, I do 85 percent of my research with online surveys. I use valid lists provided by my clients or purchased from a reliable supplier. I also use professionally developed questions, rigorously tested prior to launch.
So I am the last person to trash online surveys. However, when this announcement arrived from Pollfish—delivered, of course, by press release—I breathed a sigh of relief. I had my Measurement Menace of the Month.
What Pollfish has done is make it easier for advertisers to put polls into their ads. Seems like an ideal way to confuse two different objectives and end up with bad data. So I turned to Nate Laban, CEO and Founder of Growth Survey Systems, one of my go-to resources for all things about surveys. He called Pollfish’s practice, “one of my least favorite suggestions from market research clients. Research is for gathering information to make exact marketing and organizational decisions that impact as many people as possible. It is not a channel for marketing. If your marketing plan is counting on a small portion of your contacts seeing an online survey, you are doing it wrong! This is a method that is usually suggested by those without a lot of experience.”
Couldn’t have said it better. Congratulations, Pollfish, you are our Measurement Menace of the Month! ∞