NONE: Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Are we surveyed out?

Re: ONLINE-ADS>> Are we surveyed out?

Scott W. Spain (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 12:19:07 -0600

Andy Lester <> wrote:

>I think there's one other thing to remember about surveys, and it can't be
>said enough: What is it you want to know? Some surveys I fill out and it
>seems like someone put the question there just 'cause it's something
>that's supposed to get asked.
>For example, do you actually care about the gender of your visitors? What
>if it was 50/50? What if it was 95/5? Would you do anything differently?
>If so, ask it. If not, don't.

Disclaimer: I'm entering this conversation half-way through and may be
completely missing the point. However, I'll address your question to the
best of my ability...

The gender question you bring up is a very good example. It is important
to understand that learning who your visitors are is not always the purpose
of a survey. Online surveys are often used to predict the effectiveness of
something that may take place in the "real world." In cases like this,
gender is often the most important question that can be asked. If you know
that your targeted "real world" audience is 50/50, but your web visitors
are 95/5, then you know something very important about that data. First
you know that you probably shouldn't be using this medium to measure
off-net issues. Second, if you have no other choice, you can weight the
data to represent the known universe.

Let's look at an example. Let's say a presidential candidate wanted to see
if he could predict an election based on web survey data. If he/she just
randomly interviewed people on the web he would be WAY off. If, however,
he had a sample of people who's demographic make-up matched that of the
national average he would be MUCH closer. If he/she asks the gender
question he/she has the option of weighting that data to make it
representative. Or, he/she could always collect a bunch of extra
interviews and through out the extras that are above and beyond the
representative sample. Of course, in this particular case he/she is nuts
to begin with. The psychographic make-up of the Internet is NOT going to
represent the general voting public. But, was the most obvious way to
explain it.

Now, if you're just talking about intercepting web site visitors to get
their opinions of your site, gender may not always be a necessary question.
However, there are many reasons to ask it. Especially if, for example,
you learn that Women purchase more often from your site than men do. If
you are using the survey to decide where to place TV ads for your site, you
may not want to advertise during a boxing match or rugby game.

Just a few examples. Though your point is well taken. As a professional
market researcher, I can't tell you how many times I've seen unnecessary
questions asked.

Scott W. Spain
W3 Resources, Inc.
Get Paid to Gather Demographic
Data On Your Site Visitors!

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