What is a micro survey and how to use them on your website


There are a lot of ways to survey users and visitors on the web, and not all of them work in all situations.

One quick way of getting user feedback and market data is to use micro surveys instead of a full blown website survey.

But what exactly is a micro survey?

A micro survey is a survey that is very short survey that is usually under 10 questions, and can be answered in full in just a minute or two.

As an example, MARE allows you to run micro surveys on your website wherever a visitor is on your site. This means that a visitor can answer your survey without leaving any given page on your site, and without distracting them from the action they were taking on your site.

Let’s go over how micro surveys differ from regular website surveys, and what best practices we can use to get the most out of website surveys in general.

3 things to consider when creating a new website survey

Before you create a micro survey campaign, you need to consider a few things, and plan out your survey so that you get the best results.

1. What question are you trying to answer?

I know this may seem obvious (we’re talking surveys here!), but being really clear about what question you’re trying to answer is very important. This is because the question you ask may not be the same as the information or feedback that you’re trying to get.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to ask your users about what types of features they want to see in your web app. Many companies might ask something like this:

“What features do you think are missing from [enter your app name here]”

But this is not a great way to get information from users.

The reason?

Users don’t know what they want.

In this case, it can be much more useful to ask your users what they are trying to accomplish. This will give you insights about what types of problems you should be solving, and what features you can build into your app to solve these issues. An example question might be:

“What was your reason for using [your app name here] today?”

This should give you insight into what action a user is trying to take, which can tell you if your app is sufficient to perform this task.

2. What is the context of the respondent?


One common pitfall when running a web survey is to not consider the context of the respondent when they are taking the survey.

Here’s an example:

You send out a newsletter to your list on a Monday asking them for feedback about the products that you sell on your site. Your list will contain subscribers that have had much different experiences with your company or blog. This is because every subscriber doesn’t sign up at the same time.

Some subscribers will have been with you for months or even years. Some subscribers would have signed up just yesterday.

The context of these two subscribers is very different, and the survey or questionnaire that you send to them should also be different.

What if a subscriber just downloaded an ebook from you yesterday? If you are asking them the same questions as someone who has been a customer for 6 months, you are missing a HUGE opportunity for insight.

3. What is the attention span of the respondent?

If you want to get great quality results from a lot of respondents, you need to consider what the attention span of the respondent is. If you are sending people to your web survey on social media, your respondents will be less willing to answer a long drawn out survey then if they are invested in the results (ex. if they are answering a questionnaire for a job).

For this reason, you need to understand how much time your respondents will be willing to put into your survey, and design your web survey around this. Creating a survey that is too long for visitors with a low attention span will lead to disappointing results.

Micro surveys allow you to optimize for each user

ecommerce website survey

Here are some things you can do with micro surveys that you can’t do with a normal website survey:

Target by user action

user-actionsOk, so let’s say that you have an e-commerce website, and you have a lot of visitors who get to your checkout page, but they aren’t completing their order.

Using a micro survey, you can target these users, and ask them why they didn’t complete their order.

Maybe it’s because they don’t trust the site.

Maybe it’s because they didn’t find what they were looking for.

Maybe it’s because they wanted to continue shopping.

Either way, using a quick pop-up survey, you can gain insights into why they are bouncing and design your checkout process based on this feedback.

Target by specific pages

specific-pagesWith micro surveys, you can target a visitor based on the page they are reading or interacting with. This is powerful because you can ask questions that are specific about that page….

…but that’s not where micro surveys are really powerful. What’s really powerful, is that you can ask visitors questions that relate to the page they are on.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that a visitor is reading about gardening, and you are selling a new product that helps them to grow vegetables in their home. You could ask this visitor about what vegetables they are interested in growing.

This question doesn’t relate to your website itself, but instead gives you insight into what your potential customers want from your products.

You can use this information to craft better website sales copy, or to develop new content that your readers will love.

Target by page views

pages-viewedIt’s no big secret that you want to have visitors that engage with your site more than visitors that just bounce. However, if you have 10 main pages on your website, and a visitor has registered 20 page views, they may be not able to find something on your site.

This will negatively impact your conversion rates. Luckily, using micro surveys you can get some feedback.

If you target users by how many page views they have on your site, you can ask them a question like:

“Were you able to find what you were looking for?”

Your own visitors may be able to point out what additional information your site needs to close the deal.

Target by scroll depth

scroll-depthSimilar to page views, you can target visitors by how far they have scrolled down on your site. This is especially valuable for content publishers who want to gain insight into what their readers think about their content.

For example, if you run a blog, you could survey visitors that only scroll all the way to the bottom of your content. These visitors are most likely to have read the article, and can give you some insight into what other content they are looking to see, or even how valuable the content was to them.

This is a great way for bloggers to get ideas for new blog topics to write – directly from the people who are consuming their content.

Target by time on a page

timeonpageThere are times when certain pages on your website could be confusing, or even worse broken. By targeting visitors who have spent a certain amount of time on your page, you can ask them questions about why they are not continuing to read more content, perform other actions on your site, or even sign-up / opt-in.

Each of these user behavior targeting methods allows you to conduct a micro survey with a very high level of context. This context will not only give you higher quality responses, but also a higher response rate.

Other advantages of micro surveys

Getting visitors to your survey

Getting visitors to see your website survey or questionnaire can sometimes be difficult. If you’re sending out a newsletter, you may find that only a small percentage of your list even opens your email. You may find that an even smaller portion clicks on a link to take the survey, and an even SMALLER portion will actually take the survey.

This can be for a number of reasons. Maybe your newsletter subscribers want to answer your survey, but you’ve just caught them at a bad time.

Micro surveys solve this problem by finding visitors on your site while they are active. This will greatly increase the response rate of your surveys.

Attention span & survey fatigue

Micro surveys are quick and easy to fill out. They won’t wear your visitors down with many questions. Remember, your visitors’ time is valuable. Respect it by asking small, relevant questions and your visitors won’t get frustrated.

Effort to deploy

Micro surveys are easy to deploy on your site. Using MARE you can deploy a new question within seconds to every page on your site (or just a single page). This allows you to ask many small questions across your site to gain a ton of valuable feedback.

Context is very important with any survey, so the more specific your surveys are to the pages on your site, the better.

Speed of results

Deploying your surveys quickly will allow you to get a lot of results quickly. This allows you to go from hypothesis to real user feedback in as little as a few days (or even a few hours).

MARE’s survey results are updated in real time, so as soon as you start getting results, you can start digging into the feedback.

Other creative ways to use micro surveys on your website

  • Getting testimonials
    Use micro surveys in key areas of your site to ask for testimonials. Remember, context is king with deploying a great survey, so find where your current users who are happy with your product or service will be on your site and target these pages.
  • Getting insight into customer frustrations
    Ask customers about their frustrations to find new product ideas or ways to improve your site for less friction.
  • Pushing visitors into your sales funnel by paring micro surveys with landing pages
    Ask visitors if they’d be interested in downloading an ebook and send those visitors to your custom landing page. Send the visitors who said ‘no’ to another question that asks what type of information they WOULD like to see.
  • Coming up with new blog topics
    After a blog post, ask your readers what types of topics they’d like to see more information about.
  • Finding problems with your site
    Ask visitors about information or tasks that they’re trying to accomplish on their site, and why there were not able to accomplish those tasks or find the information.
  • Determining reasons for abandoning a page or conversion
    If a bounces off your landing page to another page on your site, ask them why they left to find out how to improve your landing pages.
  • Run a Net Promoter Score survey

Now it’s your turn

Using this information, you can launch your own micro surveys on your website to gain valuable insight into your audience. If you haven’t already, sign up for MARE to get started. It’s free to use, and you can deploy your first survey in just a few minutes.

Let us know if you have any other creative ideas for website surveys in the comments below.

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