The 10 Best Online Survey Apps in 2020

By Emily Esposito - Last updated July 3, 2020 -

You are reading: Chapter 7 of 9

Ask one person for feedback, and it's hard to know whether they represent the majority or minority. Ask a hundred, though, and you'll start to see a clearer picture and distinct trends.

Today, it's easier than ever to create and distribute a survey that collects exactly the information you need to make confideyesnt choices. Whether you're designing a new product, improving your site, or just wondering whether people prefer literal apples or oranges, there are hundreds of survey apps on the market designed to help you ask the right questions—and get responses from the right people.

But if you're brand-new to survey-building, you might not know where to start. So we tested a lot of online survey tools and narrowed it down to the top ten.

The 10 best online survey apps

What makes a great survey app?

In order to get the answers you need, you have to ask the right questions. A good survey app will allow you to customize each question, so you can ask for information in a way that makes sense to the people answering it—whether that's multiple choice, short answer, or a rating scale. Customizing questions also allows you to collect the exact type of information you're looking for, even when you're not looking for a binary yes-no or either-or answer.

A solid online survey tool will also allow you to build a survey that uses logic like branching, so that you can direct respondents to answer further questions based on their previous answers. For example, if your first question is "Have you seen The Princess Bride?", you only want people who answer "Yes" to see the next question: "Who is your favorite character from The Princess Bride?".

Finally, good survey software will offer features that let you see and analyze the data you collect. After all, surveys are supposed to help you piece together a bigger picture from individual responses. A good survey app will make it simple to break down the data question by question, without having to export answers into a separate tool like a spreadsheet.

While these are the absolute basic criteria for good survey tools, this list includes many apps that go above and beyond in terms of features. These tools help you tackle advanced techniques, like collaborating with a large team, automating your workflow, and ensuring your survey is accessible.

It's also worth noting that there are plenty of form apps that offer similar features. Some, like Google Forms, may be included in a suite of software you already use. But most form apps are designed to help you collect specific information, like the names and email addresses of people who'd like to subscribe to your email newsletter. Survey tools, on the other hand, are aimed at large-scale data collection and analysis that uncovers broad trends.

Best survey app for beginners

SurveyPlanet (Web)

SurveyPlanet is ideal for editing and viewing your survey in one screen.

Know you need to create a survey, but not sure how to get started? SurveyPlanet is an excellent place to start. It offers over 90 survey templates with-pre-written questions that you can use as-is or tweak to better fit your needs.

As you build your survey, you can view a live copy as you edit—right in the same window. The editing panel is a thin column on the left side of the screen and, as you add your survey title, choose from nine question types (e.g., from multiple choice to an image-based question), and input questions, the right side of the screen will display and populate your survey in real time.

SurveyPlanet makes editing fast in other ways, too. By default, for each question you enter, you'll see one text field below it to type in a response. But, if you choose Multiple choice, Rating, or Form as your question type, you'll automatically see additional text fields appear as you begin typing the first response option. This lets you quickly add responses to each question without having to click the + button or press Enter on your keyboard.

With this streamlined editor and these types of shortcuts, we were able to create a 10-question survey in under five minutes.

SurveyPlanet Price: Free for unlimited surveys, questions, and responses; from $20/month for a Pro plan with question branching and result exports.

Best survey app for creating visually appealing surveys

Typeform (Web)

Typeform lets you create visually engaging surveys.

Sometimes, simply asking text-based questions isn't enough. Typeform is a form and survey app that lets you create beautiful, engaging surveys that incorporate images, GIFs, and icons.

As you add questions, you can search Unsplash—a repository of royalty-free images—or a library of icons and select the perfect visuals without ever leaving Typeform. Can't find an image that's quite right? No problem—it's also easy to upload your own. You can even incorporate videos into your survey. This feature isn't just a cool gimmick; it can be incredibly useful if you want to run a virtual focus group, for example.

And Typeform lets you preview how these visual elements will look as you build your survey, in the same window, so you can play with the placement of each image in relation to each question. You can even preview how they'll render on a mobile device.

Typeform is a great option if you need to build a slick-looking survey or a survey that gauges opinion about design or video options, or that measures brand recognition. And when you create automated Typeform workflows with Zapier, you can take your surveys a step further. You can use survey responses to create new email subscribers, add items to your to-do list, and more—no code required.

See more ways to automate Typeform with Zapier.

Typeform Price: Free for up to three surveys with ten questions each; from $35/month for an Essentials plan with up to 1,000 responses and custom Thank You screens.

Best survey app for creating surveys on a phone or tablet

SurveyMonkey (Web, Android, iOS)

Create, edit, gather responses, and analyze results on the go with SurveyMonkey.

One of the biggest names in survey apps, SurveyMonkey also offers the best mobile survey experience. While most survey apps just let you collect responses on mobile, SurveyMonkey allows you to create, edit, gather responses, and analyze results on your smartphone or tablet. And anything you do on mobile will sync with your desktop account and vice versa.

Rather than forcing the desktop experience to fit on a smaller screen, the entire process has been redesigned and reimagined. The interface is simple and clean, with big buttons guiding you through the creation process. Each question gets its own page in the editing phase, letting you clearly see and organize the survey's flow. If you want to reorder the questions, no problem. Just tap and hold the page number, and drag it to its new position.

When you're done building the survey, you can send it via email, text, or WhatsApp, or share it on social media. As responses start coming in, you can see the total number of responses and completed responses and dig deeper into the data with a pie chart that shows the number of responses to each individual question. This level of analytics is rare on mobile, but SurveyMonkey has figured out a way to let you drill down into the details, even on a small screen.

When you connect SurveyMonkey to your other apps with Zapier, you can automate key parts of the survey process. You can send personalized thank-you notes to respondents, create to-do list items based on survey responses, and more—all with no extra manual work.

See more ways to automate SurveyMonkey with Zapier.

SurveyMonkey Price: Free for surveys with up to 10 questions; from $25/user/month for a Team Advantage plan with unlimited questions and surveys.

Best survey app for self-hosted surveys

LimeSurvey (Open source, downloaded to your server)

LimeSurvey lets you host your own surveys, completely free.

If you want a highly customizable survey builder or need to gather confidential data, LimeSurvey offers one of the most popular solutions.

It's an open source survey project that lets you build detailed surveys and host them on your own servers. Open source software, like LimeSurvey, combines the benefits of scalability and low costs, allowing everyone on your team to have access to the tool.

LimeSurvey offers just about any feature you could want, although the getting started process is different. Once you sign up, you need to "create an installation," which generates a free survey instance for your account. In doing so, you'll choose a domain name that best represents your survey and select the server location to determine where your collected response data should be stored. Then, you'll automatically be redirected to the admin interface where you can create a survey.

The learning curve is a bit steeper than any other app in this roundup—you'll have to dig through menus to set things up, add question groups, and then tack on individual questions. But if you want a survey builder that's 100% free and deeply customizable, and you have the technical know-how, LimeSurvey offers more robust functionality than you can find even in paid survey tools. And, thanks to the open source community, it also supports more foreign languages (more than 85!) than you'll find in other survey tools.

LimeSurvey Price: Free for up to 25 responses/month; from $24/month for a Basic plan with unlimited surveys and 1,000 responses.

Best survey app for offline surveys

QuickTapSurvey (Web, Android, iOS)

Create offline surveys with QuickTapSurvey.

Some surveys are best filled out offline, like QA assessments inside factories. Other times, you may have weak internet connectivity and have no choice but to run an offline survey. Whatever the reason, QuickTapSurvey offers a way to build offline surveys that may even be better than online ones.

You can create your own survey or choose from more than 50 customizable templates based on survey category, like an employee exit survey or post-event feedback survey. If you build a new survey, you can select a "face-to-face survey" that shows one question at a time or a "mobile form" that allows you to run mobile-only surveys and shows all questions in a list. When it's time to build your survey, you drag and drop different question elements from a floating toolbar, like ratings, text and number fields, and more.

Once you complete your survey, click Publish and then log in to the QuickTapSurvey app on your smartphone or tablet and download your newly published survey to collect responses. The survey can be filled out offline and synced back to your account automatically when you're online again.

With Zapier, you can also save time on survey follow-up. By connecting QuickTapSurvey to the other apps you use, you can automatically create new leads from survey responses, share responses with your team in a chat app, and more.

See more ways to automate QuickTapSurvey with Zapier.

QuickTapSurvey Price: Free 14-day trial; from $49/month for a Pro plan with custom branding and advanced question types.

Best survey app for one-click surveys

YesInsights (Web)

Create one-click surveys with YesInsights.

When creating a survey, sometimes simple is best. YesInsights forces you to keep things simple by forcing you to create one-question surveys that respondents can answer with just one click. That's right—you can only create surveys with one question, which allows you to collect very precise responses.

The setup process is simple. You choose between a regular survey or an NPS survey and whether you'd like to email out your survey or use a beta widget that displays it on your website. Then you're ready to draft your one-question survey.

If you choose to distribute your survey via email, you can create a landing page that respondents see after they click their answer or set up a triggered follow-up email. When you're ready to distribute your survey, you select your email service from more than 35 options, and YesInsights will provide the plain text and HTML for you to copy and paste into your email client.

If you choose to embed your survey on your website, you can customize the widget's appearance, selecting a light or dark theme and entering hex codes for background and highlight colors. You can also set up a thank-you message that appears after respondents have finished the survey and indicate when and where the survey should appear on certain page URLs (immediately after the page loads, after scrolling a little, after scrolling to the bottom, etc). When your survey is ready, you'll need to install YesInsights' JavaScript snippet on your website.

It's also easy to use survey results from YesInsights to power activities in other apps. For example, you can create a Zap that adds survey respondents to a specific email marketing list or puts responses into a spreadsheet as new rows.

See more ways to automate YesInsights with Zapier.

YesInsights Price: Starts at $20/month for a Personal plan with five surveys and 1,000 responses.

Best survey app for gamifying surveys

Survey Anyplace (Web)

Gamify your surveys with digital scratch cards or a digital slot machine thanks to Survey Anyplace

Surveys often offer incentives for respondents to finish answering every question, but that usually means respondents have to enter their contact information into a question field and someone has to manually select the winners from that list. With Survey Anyplace, you can gamify this process by using a digital scratch card or digital slot machine to let respondents know instantly if they've won a prize.

If you select the scratch card question type, you are first prompted to enter a message that respondents will see at the top of the page (Survey Anyplace recommends this message provide information about the available prizes and/or how many prizes are available). You can then use the default scratch layer (the image that will appear on top of an image that respondents will have to scratch away) or upload your own.

Then, you choose what the "surprise answers" will be and the probability to get each answer. The default surprise answers are "won" and "lost," both set at 50% probability. You can use the provided winning and losing images, or upload your own. When respondents get to this question in the survey, they use their mouse to click on top of the image and drag their mouse over the image to "scratch" it off.

The slot machine works similarly, but with far less customization. You're able to enter a message and customize the probability to win, but that's it. The slot machine itself stays the same with the classic bar, cherry, and seven symbols. When respondents get to this question in the survey, they click a big red button that says Play and watch the slot machine turn.

For both the scratch card and slot machine, it's important to note that you are responsible for purchasing and shipping any prizes to the respondents. But with Zapier, you can automate other post-survey work, such as creating new leads from respondents' information or adding responses to your CRM.

See more ways to automate Survey Anyplace with Zapier.

Survey Anyplace Price: Free 7-day trial; from $39/month for an Essential plan with up to 400 responses, the digital scratch card, and the digital slot machine.

Best survey app for chatbot surveys on Facebook

Surveybot (Web)

Create chatbot surveys in Facebook Messenger or Facebook Workplace with Surveybot.

A successful survey is all about distribution—making sure the right people know about your survey and answer all your questions. Surveybot lets you leverage your already established network by distributing your survey via Facebook Messenger or Facebook Workplace.

When you sign up for Surveybot, you either sign up using Facebook Messenger or Facebook Workplace, or create an account manually and connect your Facebook account later. Building the survey itself is easy—you can customize welcome and thank-you messages, then drag and drop question types into the editor. You'll see a live preview of your survey appear as you type your questions. You can choose certain logic, like ending the survey if someone responds with an invalid answer, or set reminders if respondents haven't completed the survey after X amount of days.

The real fun starts at the campaign stage, where you choose how to distribute your survey on Facebook. If you didn't connect your Facebook account to Surveybot or don't have a Facebook Page associated with your Facebook account, you can only generate a link that you can share via any channel (like email) and it will open your survey in Messenger.

If you do have a Facebook Page, you have a variety of options. When you're in the Campaign phase of Surveybot's editor, you can choose to automatically message users with your survey when they comment on a post or click on your ad. Once users begin answering your surveys with Surveybot, they'll automatically be added to a "panel," a segment inside Surveybot that shows all previous respondents. When you have enough users in your panel, you could send a direct message over Messenger about your new survey. And lastly, you can trigger surveys to launch when someone completes another survey, when a respondent enters a panel segment, or by calling the Surveybot API.

When you connect Surveybot to the thousands of other apps on Zapier, you can cut out a lot of the busywork surrounding surveys. You can create Zaps to push new Surveybot responses into Slack, for example, or create new leads in your marketing automation hub—all while saving time.

See more ways to automate Surveybot with Zapier.

Surveybot Price: Free for first 50 survey responses; then pay-as you-go at the rate of $6 per 100 responses.

Best survey app for collaborating on survey questions

SmartSurvey (Web)

Collaborate on survey questions with your team with SmartSurvey.

Collaborating on survey creation can be a frustrating task—you usually have to share one set of account credentials or make sure you don't override each other's work. You're almost better off working on a list of questions together in a Google Doc, then having one person build the survey. SmartSurvey, though, gives you an easier option with its shared file and question libraries.

Everyone on your team can add questions and multimedia (like files or logos) you want to include in a survey and share those assets with each other. Then, when it's time to make the survey, click the Add Question from Library button when building the questions. Finally, you can share your results page with a password-protected link or export the survey results so everyone has access to the findings.

By using Zapier to connect SmartSurvey with your other apps, you can create automated workflows that make it simpler to take action based on survey results. You can use a Zap to create customer support tickets from submissions, use survey data to enrich your leads, and more.

See more ways you can automate SmartSurvey with Zapier.

SmartSurvey Price: Free for up to 15 questions per survey and up to 100 responses/month; starts at £45/month for a Professional plan with unlimited questions and 1,000 responses/month.

Best survey app for optimizing your surveys

SurveyGizmo (Web)

Use SurveyGizmo to estimate fatigue and accessibility scores for your survey.

You put time and energy into finding the right survey tool, coming up with questions, and building the survey. In the end, you can only hope that respondents can and will participate.

With SurveyGizmo, however, you can test your survey before you send it out to ensure it's successful. The Survey Diagnostics tool uses data from other surveys in SurveyGizmo to estimate "survey length" (how many minutes it takes for someone to complete your survey), "fatigue score" (how long or complex your survey is), and "accessibility score" (how user-friendly your survey is).

After you've built your survey, you navigate to the Test tab to access the Survey Diagnostics. You'll see meter icons made up of green, yellow, and red segments to indicate your fatigue and accessibility scores. Estimated length and fatigue scores are based on the number of survey questions and their complexity, while the accessibility score is an indication of how many questions may present usability issues.

You can even automatically generate test responses or invite others' feedback on your survey. That way, you'll get a polished survey others are sure to fill out. And with Zapier, you can automate your survey follow-up.

See more ways you can automate SurveyGizmo with Zapier.

SurveyGizmo Price: Free for three surveys; starts at $35/month for a Collaborator plan with unlimited surveys and responses.

Other great online survey tools

Keep in mind, you might already have an app that includes a survey builder. Many form builder apps include survey templates, and all could be used to make a survey with a little extra work. Marketing automation tools—including email marketing apps like Constant Contact—also often include survey builders, so if you're already using one of them for your marketing, it might be best to use it for surveys, too.

Or, if you're working in a large enterprise that has more advanced needs from your survey, you might find tools like Qualtrics, Adobe Marketing Cloud, or SoGoSurvey to have more features you need.

Go to Chapter 8!

Originally published in June 2016 by Matthew Guay, this post was updated by Emily Esposito in March 2019 and again in July 2020 by Hannah Herman with each app's latest features and pricing and with great new survey apps.

Image Credits: Clipboard photo by Dave Crosby.


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