9 Best Market Research Tools for Your Online Business
Online businesses come in various shapes and sizes. Any kind of website can be a business, but so can an app, or even a type of content like a podcast. If it’s making you money, it’s business, and if it’s communicating with consumers, understanding those consumers can be crucial to your success.
That’s what market research does – it helps you learn a whole lot about your market, the industry, the competitors, and your target audience. There’s a variety of ways you can perform market research and even more tools you might use for it. In this article, we’ve picked nine of the best ones that should help you cover as much ground as possible.
The tools on the list include:
Surveys are one of the tried and tested market research tools that have been in use for a long time. Since we’ve got the web, however, there’s been a proliferation of tools that let you perform surveys online. SurveyMonkey is one of the best-known and best-rated ones.
What SurveyMonkey does looks fairly simple – it allows you to quickly develop a survey, quiz, or poll. You can then deploy their survey via all sorts of communication channels. The data you get from the survey are gathered, sorted, analyzed, and beautifully presented for your inspection. There are, of course, a bunch of different themes you can use to create the survey, and lots of filters you can use to segment the results, but you get the gist of it – SurveyMonkey lets you ask people, and it helps you understand their answers.
This isn’t the end to what you can achieve with SurveyMonkey. You can also track customer feedback, employee feedback, and use a whole suite of market research solutions that focus on areas such as market knowledge, product innovation, and brand and creative development. As is often the case, the more you ask of SurveyMonkey and the more it gives to you, the more you’ll have to pay. The basic plan, however, is free, and it might be the perfect starting point even with all of its limitations.
The questions influencing your business decisions are important, but they’re hardly the only questions that matter in today’s world. The two will occasionally – or even regularly – overlap, and the best place you might go to find out about it is the Pew Research Center.
The Pew Research Center has been the organization behind countless studies about the state of the world, occasionally, and the United States, more often. The Pew Research Center is the place to go and find out how many Americans like to shop online, or how people are using social media in 2021, or what’s up with Gen Z. The Research Center conducts an incredible number of surveys on a variety of topics, it publishes awesome content, and after a while, it makes its datasets available to the public.
Pew Research Center is a nonprofit. You can access what it has to offer for free, although you’re more than welcome to donate to the Pew Charitable Trust.
Plenty of time, the official source of data will be the most trustworthy, available, or simply – abundant. These official sources of data can come incredibly handy when your online business has a plan to advance on a foreign market – in that case, that country’s governmental bureau for statistics might as well be the first place you should go looking.
The US Census Bureau, the EU’s Eurostat, and the ASEANStats which covers South-East Asian countries are examples of national and supranational statistics bureau which provide access to a wealth of information – usually for free. Some of them might have parts of their website that are specifically suitable for market research, as they contain business information.
Even if there’s no such section walled off from the rest, with a little bit of digging you’d be surprised how much useful information you might find.
Do you need to research keywords when doing market research? What a silly question – everyone needs to be doing keyword research all the time, whether as part of market research or something completely unrelated. Instead of the usual suspects for keyword research tools – or in addition to them – maybe you might think about giving Wordtracker ago.
Wordtracker is advertised as more than just a mere keyword research tool. It’s still a keyword research tool, all right, but it combines your competitors’ keywords, PPC and SEO insights, data from Google, and its very own research technology to deliver pretty much everything you’d need when researching keywords for market research. A combination of four different tools, Wordtracker can help you look for keywords that are being used in your market, trending keywords across different niches, the keywords your competitors are looking into, and deliver custom reports.
Wordtracker is available for a free 7-day trial. After that, you’ll have to switch to one of the paid plans which start at around $27 per month and give you access to different numbers of keywords and different territories.
Few things are more important when entering a new market segment or industry than getting one’s bearings and figuring out who the biggest players are. SimilarWeb is a tool whose website traffic analysis lends perfectly to a variety of other applications, including market research.
If you want to learn something as simple as which websites draw the biggest crowds in your industry, SimilarWeb will let you find it out in a couple of clicks. It will do the same for iOS and Android apps. That’s, however, just a small part of what SimilarWeb can help you with. When you want to size up a market, for example, you might use SimilarWeb to find its actual size, identify the upcoming trends, and see what the biggest players are doing.
SimilarWeb won’t stop there, either. You can use the tool for competitive analysis, audience analysis, mapping and optimizing conversion funnels, and even lead generation. The platform will let you try out a limited version for free. When you’re ready to take the next step and opt for one of its paid plans, you’ll have to talk with someone at the company as they don’t make their pricing plans public.
Do you want your online business to use the same market research tools companies such as Ferrari, Adidas, Microsoft, and Sony turn to? Look no further than Qualtrics, an experience design and improvement platform. What’s an experience design and improvement platform, you might ask? A whole lot of things.
Qualtrics is a platform you can turn to when you want to increase customer retention, for example, or increase customer lifetime value. It will also have more than a couple of ways to help you increase your business’ market share, brand awareness, help your product-market fit, provide key market insights that can drive your product or service design.
Then there’s a whole world of research the company can help you with, from product pricing to naming research. Qualtrics is a serious tool for businesses that want a deep dive into the many different areas of market research. For starters, however, you might try out the company’s free survey account and see if one of their over fifty survey templates might help you find the answers you’re looking for.
When it comes to the marketers’ equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, SEMrush is a tool that needs little introduction. When you need to check some keywords, run an audit of your website, find ways to make your content better, SEMrush is a collection of tools you can turn to with confidence that it will deliver results.
So what does SEMrush have to offer to you when you want to do some market research? For starters, it has tools that can help you perform market analysis, namely through the Market Explorer and Traffic Analytics tools. If you want to check on the competitors, you might also use the Organic Research tool to see who your organic competitors are, Advertising Research to see how you compare in the paid advertisement space, and then the Social Media Tracker and Brand Monitoring tools to keep an eye on your mentions, as well as theirs.
SEMrush has plenty of other tools you can use to help you understand a market and your place in it. While you’re able to get free access to the tools using a free trial, eventually you’ll have to graduate to a paid plan that starts at just under $120 per month.
It would be very hard to talk about anything that transpires online without mentioning Google and some of its products. When it comes to doing market research, Google has not one, not two, but a whole myriad of tools you can check out on their Think with Google page.
Promoted as a digital marketing toolbox, this bundle of tools will go beyond letting you do simple market research. Still, if you want to focus on market research and related activities, you can do so by using the Rising Retail Categories, for example, to catch some of the fast-growing categories in Google Search. You can also use the Find my Audience tool for a deeper dive into your YouTube audience if your business has any. Market Finder and Google Trends are pretty self-explanatory and ubiquitous tools.
Apart from the tools, you can also use the Think with Google portal to access valuable consumer insights. The platform would be worth a visit for the content alone, even if you didn’t want to use any of its tools.
The phrase “market research” might not denote it, but a lot of the time the research in question is little else than simply asking people what they think. That’s what forms, surveys, and quizzes do – they ask questions, hoping that people will have enough patience and time to answer. If Typeform has anything to say, though, people should have a nice experience filling out a form.
With a tagline that “there’s a better way to ask,” Typeform has quickly become an industry darling. The tool lets you create forms and surveys that are made for humans, aren’t boring, and might be faster to finish the more questions they have. They employ a three-step process where you create a form from scratch or using a template, share it online, and then see the results. Throw in a handful of useful integrations, and you’ve got yourself a highly effective tool that’s easy to use.
Typeform is available for free, but with several limitations. When you’re ready to get serious with your market research forms and surveys, you can move up to the paid plans which start at $25 per month.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Market research is a huge industry, and there’s no lack of tools that will help you find out anything you need about an industry, a market, a niche, or a specific company, product, or service. You should be aware that serious market research, the type of research that gives you insights you might use when making decisions for your online business, is something you’ll have to invest some time and money in. So don’t forget to shop around for a tool or two that suits your needs and feels easy to use, and get ready to spend some time with it.