Building a successful business is no easy feat, especially in a world where consumers have more options – and distractions – than ever before.
That’s why market research is essential to any business marketing plan and marketing strategy.
Market research lets you learn more about our target consumers and their behavior, spot emerging trends, uncover important data, and make informed business decisions.
But with so many target consumers out there and so many places and methods to reach them, where should you start?
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best market research tools available to you across a variety of tactics and approaches.
Let’s get started.
One of the more well-known survey tools, SurveyMonkey offers a broad list of features and capabilities for creating audience surveys.
Whether you want to create your own survey or choose from one of its 250+ expert-created templates, SurveyMonkey offers a user-friendly interface that enables you to customize your surveys to your needs.
It also offers a suite of helpful features, including AI-powered knowledge to help you pose the right questions, as well as built-in reporting and analytics.
- SurveyMonkey offers a free Basic tier with unlimited surveys featuring up to 10 questions and 25 responses per survey.
- Individual plans start at $39/month with unlimited surveys and questions, and up to 15,000 responses per year.
- Team plans start at $25/user/month, starting at three users. This level also gives you unlimited surveys and questions, but offers 50,000 responses per year.
Typeform is an easy-to-use tool focused on helping users create intuitive and engaging forms, surveys, quizzes, polls, and more. Its selling point is the ability to create truly conversational, beautiful forms.
With Typeform, you can create slick surveys with customizable interactive elements, such as images and videos, that encourage your audience to take action. Its focus on interactivity makes it an appealing tool for market research.
Typeform offers plenty of useful features – from conditional logic to creating dynamic surveys – that adapt based on answers to real-time data analytics and integrations with tons of popular tools, from Slack to Google Analytics.
The company even offers a standalone video tool, VideoAsk, where users can create “video forms” to prompt responses.
- Typeform offers a Free plan with unlimited typeforms and 10 responses per month.
- Paid plans start at $25/month billed annually for Basic, $50/month billed annually for Plus, and $83/month billed annually for Business.
- The company also offers an Enterprise plan.
BuzzSumo is a content research and analysis tool that can help you gather some powerful market insights.
Regarding market research, BuzzSumo can help you understand the content landscape in your industry (and beyond), find out what’s resonating with your target consumers, identify influencers in your niche, and track how your content is performing vs. your competitors’.
The BuzzSumo tool analyzes articles (over 5 billion!) and social media posts across the internet to identify top-performing content. It allows you to comb through five years of data so that you can discover the right content ideas for your audience.
- 30-day free trial (no credit card required).
- Membership tiers start at $159/month billed yearly for Content Creation (individual) plan, $239/month billed yearly for PR & Comms plan, $399/month billed yearly for the Suite plan, and $999/month billed yearly for the Enterprise plan.
Want to capture user feedback and deepen your understanding of market trends? Qualaroo might be the tool for you.
Qualaroo is a customer and user feedback tool that claims to be “10X more valuable than email surveys.” Using Qualaroo, you can add a survey to a page on your website or integrate it into your product.
The tool uses behavioral triggering to show surveys or feedback prompts in response to specific user behavior, so you know you’re targeting the right people with the most relevant questions.
Qualaroo also offers visual customization so you can get the branding right, automatic language translation, a library of survey templates, audience targeting, and IBM Watson Sentiment Analysis to help you organize your results.
- 15-day free trial (no credit card required).
- Plans start at $69/month billed annually for Essentials, $149/month billed annually for Premium, and $299+/month billed annually for Business tier.
It allows you to effectively “spy” on your competitors by viewing their marketing strategies, advertising history, what keywords they’ve bought on Google Ads, and more – which can help you find gaps in the market and optimize your own approach.
You can feed the SpyFu tool a URL, and it will instantly show you its results for SEO topics like organic keywords, top pages, backlink analysis, total traffic, competition, and more.
Not only can SpyFu help you gain an understanding of the SEO landscape for your industry and gain a competitive advantage, but it can also tell you how hard it might be to dominate a specific niche.
- SpyFu offers paid plans starting at $16/month for Basic, $36/month for Professional, and $149/month for Team (billed annually).
Another great tool for SEO and competitive analysis, Ahrefs is a popular choice of many marketers for good reason.
Using Ahrefs, you can learn more about the search landscape of your market, discover what keywords your customers are searching for, track your competitors, and analyze content in your industry to inform your own strategies.
With its keyword and content capabilities, Ahrefs will help you find gaps and opportunities in the market so that you can improve your content, your site, and your search visibility.
- Website owners can sign up for Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for free limited access to its Site Explorer and Site Audit tools.
- Paid plans start at $83/month for Lite, $166/month for Standard, $333/month for Advanced, and $833/month for Enterprise (billed annually).
7. Delve AI
User personas are a crucial facet of an effective marketing strategy – and as such, developing them is a common step in any market research process.
Thanks to tools like Delve AI, it’s easier than ever to build user personas.
Delve AI offers a suite of persona-building tools based on your needs and the data available to you. Depending on what stage your business is in, you can generate:
- Competitor personas using Delve AI’s data.
- Social personas based on your social audience.
- Customer personas using your customer information.
- Live personas for your website based on Google Analytics data.
Beyond its multi-channel capabilities, Delve AI uses AI algorithms for accuracy in personas, offers behavioral insights, real-time updates to your personas, and more.
- The company offers a free Lite plan.
- Business plans start at $71/month for Standard, $159/month for the Growth tier, and $439/month for Pro (billed annually).
- Agency plans start at $167/month for Standard, $343/month for Growth, and $687/month for the Pro tier (billed annually).
8. Sprout Social
We don’t need to tell you about the importance of social media when it comes to connecting with your audience and driving business success. It can also play a major role where market research is concerned.
Sprout Social offers a robust suite of social media management features. Perhaps the most useful for market research are social listening features – which allow you to track market trends, industry keywords, and social conversations – and its competitor analysis capabilities.
It also provides insights into audience demographics, behavior, and interests, which you can use to inform your marketing approach.
- Free 30-day trial.
- Plans start at $249/month for Standard, $399/month for Professional, and $499/month for Advanced.
- Sprout Social also offers an Enterprise tier plan.
9. Google Trends
How can you supercharge your market research efforts? Look to search data.
Google Trends is an incredible tool that enables you to analyze real-time and historical search data to discover market trends, up-to-date consumer insights, and more.
By using this tool to access the latest information on how people search on Google, you can spot emerging interests and opportunity areas, and keep an eye on what consumers are most interested in.
It also offers location filtering so that you can see what’s trending in any given market.
If you’re looking for data and statistics on pretty much anything in the world of business and marketing, you might want to check out Statista.
It’s a business intelligence platform that provides “statistics, reports, and insights on over 80,000 topics from 22,500 sources in 170 industries.” This means that if you’re looking for specific market research insights, Statista most likely has something to fit your needs.
From in-depth reports to data visualizations and industry forecasts, Statista can give you reliable insights into what’s happening in markets around the world, and highlight market and consumer trends.
- Free Basic account available.
- Paid accounts start at $149/month for Starter and $490/month for Personal (billed annually), with more options available.
If you’re looking for something extremely robust, Qualtrics’ market research platform is an all-in-one, AI-powered solution for your market research needs.
It offers a suite of features and capabilities, including:
- Panel Management: Enables you to create research panels from email lists, site visitors, social followers, and more.
- On-Demand Respondents: Companies can pay for access to survey respondents that match their target demographic.
- Product Development: Get access to early feedback on your new products and services from customers.
- Purchase Behavior: Explore data on what is fueling purchase decisions among your target customers.
- And more.
While it requires a more dedicated investment, Qualtrics’ software is scalable and powerful. It comes with automation and integration with many other tools, and customers have access to a support team.
- Qualtrics offers a free survey maker tool with up to 500 responses.
- For pricing details, reach out to the Qualtrics team.
It’s important to stay on top of how your customers feel about your business, services, and products – and Temper provides a super simple way to do just that.
The concept is simple: Come up with a simple question you want to ask your question, and your customers can respond by clicking a smiley face that corresponds to how they feel.
You might want to ask your customers, “How do you feel about our new product?” or “Please rate your experience with our customer support team.” With just a little bit of code, you can place a Temper widget on your webpage, in a blog post, or in an email footer and get quick feedback on audience sentiment.
- Plans start at $12/month for Hobby tier, $49/month for Pro, $89/month for Business, and $199/month for White Label.
- Temper offers a 60-day risk-free, money-back guarantee.
You’ve likely heard of the question-and-answer site Quora, but have you considered its potential as a market research tool?
Quora is an online community where real people can go to ask questions about anything they’d like, and share their experiences and opinions with others via answers.
It offers a unique opportunity for brands to conduct market research within their specific industry or area by connecting with Quora’s diverse community of consumers, professionals, and others.
Try searching Quora for topics related to your business or niche, and look at what types of conversations are trending. Or, you could ask a question yourself!
It’s a great tool for engaging your audience, keeping an eye on your competitors, and even developing new ideas for content, product development, and more.
- Quora is free to use, though it also offers separate business solutions.
Crunchbase is a handy tool for getting a good picture of your industry landscape and how your competitors are faring.
It’s a database of companies that includes information like funding round data, investors, and financial information for each business. It also includes information such as employee headcount, leadership data, and more.
You can search Crunchbase by region or industry, allowing you to see how other companies in your niche are growing, and who is deciding to fund them. This can help you identify investment opportunities and market gaps, or even just gauge the overall health of your industry.
- Crunchbase offers a Free plan where you can preview profile pages at no cost.
- Paid options start at $29/month for Starter and $49/month for Pro (billed annually).
- An Enterprise option is also available with custom billing.
15. Google Market Finder
Another excellent market research tool from Google is Market Finder. This free, interactive tool is focused mostly on researching target markets – so you can use it to discover which markets might have the most potential for your company, monitor demand for your products or services, and more.
There are two primary features within Market Finder:
- Test your export readiness. By providing your company’s URL and completing a short quiz, the tool will grade your “readiness” to expand into new markets abroad.
- Dive into new markets. You can take another short quiz that will suggest new market recommendations based on the information you provide, as well as external data like search volume and Google Ads.
Market Finder can also integrate with your Google Analytics data for more accurate information.
Semrush is a one-stop marketing tool that can be leveraged to gain incredibly useful market research insights.
The company offers features dedicated to this type of research, such as its Market Explorer tool, which enables you to get quick information on your specific industry, conduct an analysis of market share, and benchmark your business against your competitors. You can also use the tool to analyze the potential of a new niche or market region for your business.
You might also find Semrush’s traffic analytics tool useful, as it allows you to go deeper with competitive analysis and target consumer demographics.
- Semrush offers a free account with limited capabilities.
- Paid accounts start at $108.33/month for Pro, $208.33/month for Guru, and $416.66/month for Business (billed annually).
17. Pew Research Center
While not a traditional marketing tool, the Pew Research Center is a widely known and respected resource that can be super effective when it comes to market research.
The site hosts a robust catalog of reports, surveys, and research covering everything from tech and digital media to politics, cultural trends, and more. The data is unbiased and credible, offering a unique perspective into what today’s consumers think and feel on various topics.
You can use the Pew Research Center as a tool to further hone your market research efforts, providing you with insights into the attitudes and behaviors of your target consumer, as well as the various factors that are impacting their desires and purchasing decisions.
18. Exploding Topics
We all know the saying, “I liked it before it was popular” – well, with Exploding Topics, your business can be the one to say this.
Exploding Topics helps you spot trends before they become super popular by analyzing searches, mentions, and conversations across the web to identify products, topics, and industries that are on the rise.
You can use Exploding Topics as a resource to help you predict shifts in the market and consumer interests, which can inform everything from your product design and strategy to your marketing approach.
It’s a lot like Google Trends, with some key differences; it pulls in data from a variety of sources and is focused on highlighting emerging trends before they take off.
- Exploding Topics offers a free version of its Trend Database.
- Paid tiers begin at $39/month for Entrepreneur, $99/month for Investor, and $249/month for Business (billed annually).
In today’s day and age, you can’t build a successful business without an effective website. But how can you know whether your website will resonate with your target consumer?
You can use Loop11, a usability testing platform that helps facilitate user testing of your products.
Loop11 makes it simple to create a usability test and secure participants.
It enables you to view the user’s experience through video, audio, and screen recordings. Then, it presents you with in-depth insights and UX metrics to help you understand what’s working with your website, app, or product and what’s preventing people from converting.
- Free 14-day trial with full capabilities.
- Paid plans start at $179/month for Rapid Insights, $358/month for Pro, and $533/month for Enterprise (billed annually).
Market research is key to any business plan, no matter what industry you’re in, what stage of growth your business is at, or what customers you’re serving.
From competitive analysis to keyword research, user feedback, and more, focusing on your market research efforts will pay dividends to your business in the long run.
And while there are plenty of different ways to approach market research, these represent some of the best tools available to you – and can be a great jumping-off point for you to get started.
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