How to Use Facebook for Market Research Surveys

It’s an understatement to say that there’s tremendous interest in using Facebook for market research.  Indeed, among the most popular posts on Research Access is one written last year by Survey Analytics‘ CEO Vivek Bhaskaran, entitled “Social Media Research – Using Facebook for Survey Invitations and Market Research.”

What not everybody realizes is that companies are using the power of Facebook’s large audience to conduct research every day.

While Facebook-fueled surveys are not right for every situation, they can be extremely powerful in the right circumstance.  The biggest advantage is access to a massive audience of people who do not normally complete surveys.  However, even Facebook’s large audience will not necessarily yield a sample from the target audience you are trying to reach.  In addition, sampling through Facebook Ads can be expensive, depending on the particulars of your study.

Since Vivek wrote his Facebook sampling post last year, there have been many changes to Facebook, but the fundamental principle outlined in that post still holds true.   So it’s time for an update.

Also, I will explain how to use company or brand fan pages to get valuable feedback.

1) Use Facebook Pages to Reach Your Customers and Fans.

You can ask followers of your company or brand fan page (or your personal page, for that matter) to provide feedback in several ways.

  • Post an open-ended question asking for direct feedback.  For example, “We are looking for feedback on Research Access’ new look and feel.  What do you think?”   You can add language encouraging people to post their comments on Facebook, or you can give an email address for them to contact you directly.  The feedback you receive will be useful but will not be generalizable to all customers or fans.
  • Post a poll.  Facebook now has a “Question” option in the status update box allowing you to post a poll to your fans.  Please note: you can only do one question at a time, and the results will be visible to all fans.  Interestingly, there is an option to allow your fans to add responses which you didn’t necessarily consider when creating your question.

Ask a Question

  • Post a link to a survey.  Instead of using Facebook’s built-in question function, you can simply share a link to a survey.  You should also include explanatory text in the post.  Here’s a hypothetical example Research Access could use: “Please take 5 minutes to give us feedback on Research Access’ new look and feel. Everyone who completes the survey will receive a free eBook copy of QuestionPro for Dummies.”
Post a Link

2) Use Facebook Ads to Reach a Wider Audience.

Using Facebook Ads, you can open your survey up to a massive audience which can be targeted in very specific ways.  Here are the steps for directing Facebook users to your survey using Facebook.

  • Start creating a Facebook by clicking the “Create an Ad” link in the “Sponsored” section in the right-hand column of your page.
Create an Ad
  • Create an ad with an image and a message that will drive the right type of traffic and redirect those who click on the ad to an externally hosted survey.  Select “External URL” in the “Destination” drop-down list.  Put your custom survey URL in the “URL” field.  Use the “Title” and “Body” fields to create a compelling call-to-action for survey-takers.  Be sure to include an image that will garner attention.  In the “Targeting” section, you can target your survey by geography, age, specific interests and more.
  • Define your budget and schedule.  With Facebook Ads you have a great deal of control over your ad’s schedule.  Importantly, you can define a daily budget which will not be exceeded.
  • Finally, preview your ad, then start your campaign!  Good luck.


About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.


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