Audience Survey: What it is + Free 3-Step Guide

The audience survey is conducted using a variety of methods, including in-person, over the phone, via email, or over the Internet. The most common method is online surveys.

This type of research involves interviewing people who have already been identified as having a particular interest in your product or service. Methods such as these may not yield accurate results if the sample size is too small or if your respondents are not representative of your target audience.

When conducting a survey, it’s important to keep in mind that the questions should be worded clearly and concisely so that respondents understand what they are being asked and can provide accurate answers.

What is an audience survey?

An audience survey is a fundamental methodological element of market research, based on collecting data on current audience members using a standardized framework and question set.

A lot of business questions can be answered with audience research, including what people like, who influences them, what issues they face, and how they feel about brands and services.

Audience research can be used at any stage in the marketing process. It’s most useful when used to find out more about your target audience and their motivations before you create a product or service. This will help you understand how much demand there is for your idea and whether it will be successful. It’s also useful when deciding which audience segments are most important to reach for your marketing campaign.

How to conduct an audience survey

First of all, it is important to understand that when designing an audience research project, it’s always useful to distill your business problem into a single sentence and check that each question goes some way to answering it. 

1. Ask the right questions

Ask yourself what am I ultimately trying to achieve? What do I need to know to make a difference to what I’m already doing or I’m aware of?

For example, if your business is losing customers because they’re not being engaged in the right places at the right times, you might ask:

  1. What are my customers’ needs?
  2. What do they want from me?
  3. How can I make sure we meet their expectations?

2. Identify your audience to ask the right questions

If you want to get a true picture of what your potential customers think about your product or service, it’s important to make sure you’re asking the right questions.

For instance, if an independent school asks those who don’t have children about their views on school entrance criteria and the appeal of extracurricular activities, it will give irrelevant results. That group will not be making decisions about which school to attend; hence they’ll end up with the opinions of people who have little influence over the final decision and design marketing collateral to appeal to the wrong people.

On the other hand, if an independent school asks parents whether they would consider sending their child there if they had one or more children already enrolled at the institution, then this question would provide valuable insight into whether that particular customer base might be interested in sending their kids there.

3. Recognize the strengths and disadvantages of your research

The main strength of audience survey research is that you trust the data is directly relevant to your target audience, as they are from the demographics that you are aiming towards. Hence, you are at some level assured that, for instance, the product or service that you are introducing or have modified will be well received by the target population.

Another positive is that it helps to somewhat confirm the thoughts, emotions, and general ideas of your audience. Maintaining a relationship with your customer base is crucial, and audience research provides you with the customer feedback that you require to meet customer needs.

The main weaknesses are that sometimes it can be difficult to collect data from this demographic because it may not be representative of the entire population. In addition, there may be bias in terms of who chooses to participate in surveys which could skew results.

Audience survey Examples

Research methods fall into two categories: Primary Research and Secondary Research.

  • Primary research is first-hand research conducted by you or an agency. This can include interviews, focus groups, surveys, or any other form of direct data collection. 
  • Secondary research is reviewing information from sources already published, also called desk research. Data journalism is a great example of this.

Having understood this, the most important distinction we can mention is Quantitative and Qualitative audience research. 

  • Quantitative audience research is a type of audience research that focuses on statistics and facts rather than emotions. It can be collected in ad hoc online or telephone surveys, but it can also be longitudinal in nature, collecting answers to comparable questions over time. Exit interviews, eye tracking, diary studies, large hall tests, and omnibus surveys are further examples of ad hoc or longitudinal surveys.

Transactional data reviews are another form of quantitative audience research where the data is collected without the overt questioning style of a survey (but it may have some similarities to survey-style data collection). The information collected within registration databases (for example) is more of a survey style of data collection. Transactional information is often internal information held by a brand and not directly collected for audience research purposes.

  • Qualitative research is a form of research that uses non-numerical information to understand a topic. It can be performed using surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, case studies, and more.

The use of surveys is the most common form of qualitative research. They allow researchers to collect data from a large number of people all at once. Surveys can be conducted by phone or in person, and they can be open or closed-ended (meaning that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers).

In-depth interviews are another common form of qualitative research. Usually, these interviews occur over the phone or via Skype, and they often focus more on feelings and emotions than they do on collecting numbers. They’re great for getting in-depth answers from specific individuals because you can ask follow-up questions based on what they say during the interview itself.

Focus groups are also popular in qualitative research because they allow researchers to observe body language as well as hear people’s thoughts and concerns about a topic together as a group rather than individually through separate interviews. The result is a more accurate result of what’s going on for individual participants within their own environments—which can be useful when trying to understand how people think about something together rather than just.


To conclude let’s note that in order to be successful in any business, you need to know your audience. Conducting audience research will allow you to get a better understanding of your audience, which in turn will help you connect with your customer and help your company grow. It enables you to be customer-centric rather than product-led thinking.

Audience research can help companies make better decisions about how best to meet their customers’ needs or decide who they should focus on, how they should reach them, or what they should offer them. It can also help provide evidence for marketing claims that the company may want to make but (as yet) have no supporting evidence. Let QuestionPro Audience do the hard work for you and unlock the power of insights. 

Generate Better Insights with QuestionPro Audience


The power of data is undeniable and at QuestionPro we know that a solid understanding of your audience and what they want, need, and expect can help you make smart decisions about how to market your company, build brand identity, and engage with the right people.

QuestionPro Audience makes it easy to generate insights that will help you plan how best to market your company and build brand identity through strategic communication channels that target specific demographics or consumer groups. Request a free bid now!