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Online Polls

Learn what are online polls, their advantages, various use-cases and how to select between online polls and surveys.

Online Polls

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What are online polls?

An online poll is a survey in which participants communicate responses via the internet, typically by completing a set of questions on a web page. Online polls may be open to anyone, or to a selected group of people from a larger panel.

Online polls offer flexible, convenient and time-saving option to learn about public opinion in a cost-effective way. The free online polls are easy to create and can be made live within minutes! A free online poll live on your website can gather you quick responses due to the easy accessibility of the internet on desktop as well as mobile devices.

Example: Voting Polls were created to understand the opinion of the public and are presented to a sample of people that would be influential in generalizing the opinion of entire section of society.

Why create free online polls?

  1. Quick feedback

    Free online polls help you get on-the-spot feedback for any event that was conducted in the past. They also offer an excellent way to know the thoughts of the people for any event to be organized in the future. Thus online increase the probability of success for any event, provides insights into the existing scenario and helps you to make better decisions and strategize your future course of action. Online polls also let you connect with your audience at any point in time. When you create a free online poll, you convey a message that you are listening to them and their opinions matter.

  2. Reach a wider audience

    Online polls, by nature, are so easy to distribute and respond, thanks to the internet. You might be a business based in CA, but you will not have to worry about reaching your customers based in NY, or anywhere across the world. This helps you to reap maximum benefits out of online polls and better understand the choices of your target audience.

  3. Easy distribution

    Online polls can be easily embedded on your website to make it available to your visitors. If polls are placed in the mid of the content or placed in the sidebar, it is very easy to gain eyeballs of the readers.

  4. Easy to respond

    Generally, polls contain one question which can be a single, multiple choice or an open-ended question. Answering one question hardly takes a few seconds. It’s because of this sheer short length of a poll that it is so easy to respond. Also, a large section of the society spends time online which makes it a lot easier to access and respond to online polls as they don't have to specifically devote time to respond.

  5. Quick & accurate

    Creating a free poll online is really quick and one of the fastest ways to gather feedback and opinion. It takes only a few clicks to create a poll and make it live. Depending on the configuration, online polls can offer instant results to the respondents. This also gives a clear idea to them as to how does their opinion stands in comparison with the larger crowd. Furthermore, due to the lack of data entry in the chain of steps, it is less likely that any input errors and inaccuracies will creep in the results.

  6. Easy to analyze

    Most free online poll creation tools allow you to present data in form of graphs, bar charts, pie charts and many more. You can compare results of different polls, perform text analysis and create filters. This is a huge time-saver when it comes to sharing results with your team members, and is, therefore, another reason why online polls are a great choice for busy professionals.

  7. Net Promoter Score

    Asking just one question, “On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your family and friends?” is all you need to understand how satisfied or dissatisfied your customers are. Net Promoter Score helps you discover ways to improve your customer engagement.

  8. To make tech-based decisions

    Confused what to buy, Android phone or iPhone, desktop or a laptop? Send out a quick poll to your friends/colleagues/family members to see what gadgets they favor and instantly know what you should buy!

How can you use free online polls?

Given the benefits of free online polls, they are used in various domains and in different situations. There are innumerable use cases of online polls used to keep the audience engaged. Below are some of the typical examples of where online polls can be used to gather online opinion and feedback.

  • Elections

    Media companies or political parties can run polls before primary or presidential elections to get an idea of who is being more popular amongst all the candidates. With polls, one can have a fairly good idea of the likelihood of winning an election.

    Example: If a media company wants to know which political party is most likely to win the U.S. Presidential elections, then they can run a free online election poll on their website and social media platforms to understand the sentiments and thoughts of their visitors.

    online polls
  • Sports

    Many times during important world cup tournaments that are quite followed across the world, businesses want to know who will win the final match. Based on the probability of a certain team or individual winning a match, they take certain important business decisions.

    Example: During the FIFA tournament, companies like Nike and Adidas can run a poll on their websites and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to predict the trophy winner. Such tactics can really help businesses to engage with their customers and maintain a good relationship with them.

    online polls
  • Education

    Massive online open course websites, academic institutions, and Universities can run a quick poll for a course to understand if students liked the curriculum, and course, in general.

    Example: Udemy can run a poll for all the students who bought the course “Angular 8: The Complete Guide” and get to know if they liked the course, and thereby predict their sales.

    online polls

Characteristics of good free online polls

  1. Right questions

    Although the definition of ‘right’ is subjective, the general best practice is to avoid asking sensitive questions - questions that might hurt somebody’s sentiments or religious beliefs. Use words that convey the meaning clearly. Phrase the poll questions such that it extracts the exact information that you need, and avoids the possibility of ambiguous response. The options should also be mutually exclusive. In case you think that the respondent will not be able to select a clear answer, give them an option to express their non-decisiveness. Do not use unfamiliar acronyms and abbreviations.

    Example: If you are a travel agency and want to predict which will be the most popular holiday destination for the next season, then give out options that are geographically quite different and will help make better a decision.

    online polls

  2. Connection with the audience

    A good online poll encourages the audience’s engagement. Design the look and feel of the online poll such it’s easy to catch the attention. Ask for their opinions and preferences – and make it a fun experience. Good online polls ask for ideas on new initiatives like training, health and wellness programs, and more. Often, good polls also have their URLs cusotmized so that they are more readable and meaningful. Such URLs prove to be user-friendly if shared as plain text via email.

    Example: If the HR department of a company wants to increases employee engagement, then they can ask questions that would let them understand their choices and employees too will be happy to respond.

    online polls

  3. Well-targeted

    Online polls should be displayed at a place where they are easily accessible and won’t take much effort to respond. As online polls will be accessible over the internet, make sure they are responsive for all devices in addition to desktops and laptops. Hence, people who will be browsing your website over mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will also be able to view the free online polls correctly. Unless it is well-found by the people, you will not get enough responses.

  4. Well-distributed

    Apart from embedding it on your website, you can also share free online polls over the social media platforms. This drastically increases the access of the audience, as most people are active on sites like Facebook and Twitter. It is believed that sharing free online polls over such platforms also increases the response rate. People spend their leisure time on social media and hence they wouldn’t mind answering a question that just requires a few clicks to answer. Online polls can also be distributed by QR codes, so all one has to do is to just scan the code and answer the poll question.

  5. Offer incentives

    One of the other ways free online polls gain the attention of the people and make them respond is by offering an incentive. Apart from keeping it free which is an incentive in itself, you can also offer gift coupons for the first person who answers the poll question.

How to select between online polls and online surveys?

Both online polls and surveys allow you to gather opinion and feedback of the audience. They offer you insights into their thoughts and experiences. Based on the outcome of the poll, you can change your future strategy or test if you are going in the right direction. It can help you to be more confident about your performance so far. Surveys, too, help you get valuable inputs from your audience and help you serve them with better products and services.

But, if online polls and surveys are so similar, what is the difference between poll and survey?

  • Time

    If you want to make the decision right now, online polls are the right choice. But if you can wait for all of your respondents to answer questions, then you should go for surveys. Online polls are likely to gather higher responses, as they take very little time to respond. Surveys may take more than a few minutes of a respondent’s time. Hence, somebody might delay answering it. In such cases, online polls make a better choice.

  • Decision

    Surveys are for making decisions and getting insights, polls, on the other hand, are for getting a quick glimpse. Surveys often employ question logic like branching, scoring, quotas, criteria, etc whereas polls don’t test the logical behavior of the respondents. Also, if you want to force them to answer a few mandatory questions, it is possible through surveys, but it is not possible in the case of online polls. It is likely a person might skip answering the poll questions.

    Another aspect is how important decision you want to make. If you just want to know the pulse of how people view the topic, go for an online poll, but if you want to know the details and gather statistical data that will help you predict how people will act, then you should go for online surveys.

  • Number of questions

    Online polls are short, typically one question long, whereas surveys consist of many questions which are related to each other. For instance, if you are creating a customer satisfaction survey, then there are many questions that explore various parameters of customer satisfaction. Had it been a poll, it would have been a simple yes/no question, asking whether you are satisfied with our services. Poll questions are one-liner and ask the respondent’s opinion very directly. Survey questions can be a bit longer.

  • Control over respondents

    Surveys offer you the flexibility to select a specific number of respondents from a specific demographic. You can ask qualifying questions and only allow those respondents who fit the criteria to finish the survey. Online polls are presented to everybody and do not offer a mechanism to filter respondents based on specific criteria.

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