SurveyMonkey is the survey market’s big boy. It’s a global leader that claims to have over 20 million answers daily. That’s huge.
But can an online survey tool that was created in the last millennium really serve the needs of an ever-evolving market?
There’s no doubt that some of the updates they’ve released in the last 24 months including SurveyMonkey Genius (a tool that makes it easier to get your account setup) help bring it into the 21st century.
Problems you might run into with SurveyMonkey
But there’s a number of things that you’re going to run into if opt for SurveyMonkey without doing any other research:
- SurveyMonkey pricing gets expensive really fast – for 10 users in your organisation, you’re going to be paying a minimum of $3000 (£2,307.62) according to their pricing pages
- The SurveyMonkey feature set is so vast that it can be dizzying – for a lot of people, SurveyMonkey is just too expansive to understand in any kind of useful way
- Nothing happens in real time on SurveyMonkey – this gives data a sort of ‘dead’ feeling and makes it a poor choice for live event scenarios in particular (more on that later)
- The response rates that SurveyMonkey claims to be normal are quantifiably low – according to their website, a survey where there is no prior relationship with the respondent can have a response rate of up to 20-30% – we consistently see other platforms outperform this and our own data shows a response rate of between 60-80% as normal.
Is there a free version of SurveyMonkey?
Yes – SurveyMonkey has a free version. But it has some pretty significant limitations. For example, you can only add up to 10 questions per survey – that's not enough for a lot of people. On the free plan, you can only collect survey responses with 3 'collectors' (read: sources) – so if you want to share your survey widely, you might need to upgrade.
On the other hand, SurveyMonkey’s free version has loads of expert written templates and questions you can use.
In comparison, you can use doopoll's free version to ask unlimited questions, create unlimited surveys and collect unlimited responses (you only pay when you want to review more than 10 responses). Value for, uh, no money!
It was the focus on helping our customer have a delightful, cost effective and straightforward experience that lead us to creating doopoll – a real time survey tool that helps you get 3-4x the response rate over other tools.
So a heads up here: we’re clearly convinced that in a lot of cases you’d be better off choosing doopoll than a comparable survey tool on a number of metrics. It’s why we included ourselves as an alternative to SurveyMonkey in most of the categories below.
But as you can get a free account on doopoll, we’d encourage you to test it out.
And on that note, we’re going to give you a list of alternatives to SurveyMonkey (hey, and because our product is that good, we’ve included alternatives to doopoll too in case you need extra proof) across a number of categories.
Best alternatives by category
Best all round survey tools
Survey tools come in all kinds of flavours (as we hope this article is going to show you) but if you’re looking to use a survey tool across your business, you’ll want something that can handle diverse needs.
You should look out for a product that can handle all kinds of different use cases, that integrates with other tools (either through Zapier or natively) and that has pricing that aligns to your needs.
Most survey tools have a paid trial or a free tier, but to maximise the value you’re getting, you’ll quickly find yourself wanting to upgrade to a paid tier.
Flexible and simple to use, doopoll is a real winning choice if you need to build a survey and get a good response rate.
We built doopoll in 2015 to help organisations get closer to the people they care about: whether that’s staff, customers, live event attendees or more.
Our customers consistently score our live chat support with top marks and we have a world class net promoter score because customer service is such a focus for us.
With customers from FTSE 100 companies all the way down to solo teams, we help people in all walks of life create surveys that get 3-4x more responses than leading market players.
Additionally, 43% of doopoll surveys that ask for an email and name at the end of the survey get it.
doopoll Features include:
- 5 questions types – single and multi slider questions replace likert scale and other similar question types, while open text allows for deeper answers. As usual, standard multiple choice question types and yes/no question types available
- Realtime sentient analysis powered by machine learning
- Results and reporting screens designed for all kinds of usage including for presenting to a room on a large screen via the Presenter view
- All voting in real time, use any device
- Simple to use as a respondent and a survey creator
- Data capture is incredibly high performing
- Integrates with over 1500 tools via Zapier
doopoll is free to use when you're getting started. You can get an unlimited number of responses and unlimited questions (unlike SurveyMonkey which only allows 10 questions) free of charge but you need to choose a paid plan to see more than 10 responses on any survey.
Is there a free version of doopoll?
Yes! The free plan of doopoll includes:
- Unlimited surveys
- Unlimited questions
- Unlimited responses (see the first 10 on any survey before upgrading – read more about why we do this)
- Survey templates
- 1-click download of charts as well as all our other reporting functionality
- All question types – multiple choice, slider, yes/no, multi slider and open text
- Add your branding – logos and colours
- Live chat customer support – talk to a customer service representative when you need help (our global response time is under 15 minutes during working hours)
- And much more
doopoll's Paid Plans
Solo – great for freelancers or solo businesses who want more responses than the free version but want to get a low price option. Contains all the features except for the Presenter view, multiple users and some Enterprise level functionality – £9 per month
Plus – Great for small SMEs. Get up to 250 responses per survey and collaborate with up to 5 team members – £33 per month
Super – Great for larger SMEs. Get up to 1000 responses per survey and collaborate with up to 10 team members. Plus benefit from the Presenter screen which is designed for presenting at events – £83 per month
Works really well for people who are looking to create a form that can accept payments and has advanced question logic. The branding options on Typeform beat the market by some distance.
Typeform is a form builder more than a survey tool. It allows you to build a very specialised kind of form with features like question logic and also accepting payments. It’s that last bit especially useful for small business owners or people who are looking to test out an idea for a business and see if people will pay.
A feature of Typeform that I think is pretty useful is the calculator functionality which allows you to perform custom calculations based on a respondent’s answers. Pretty neat and not a functionality you see in most survey tools.
Customer reviews of Typeform are mostly positive with a good number of them highlighting the fact that the design customisation options are really extensive.
There are some negative reports about customer service and time to resolve issues (one comment on G2 says that it took Typeform a month and a half to reply – but you’d have to assume they’re way quicker normally).
Is there a free version of Typeform?
Yes. Here’s the features you can use:
- 3 Typeforms
- 10 questions per Typeform
- 100 responses per month
- Reports and metrics
- Email notification when someone completes your Typeform
- Embed your Typeform in a web page
- Download your data
Typeform's paid plans
With Typeform you mostly pay for features rather than capacity. If you want to do more with Typeform, you need to pay more. Which makes sense.
Essentials – £28 per month – 1000 responses per month. Basic integration with Mailchimp and Airtable (Check your GDPR commitments). Collect payments. Custom thank you screen.
Professional – £40 per month – 5000 responses per month. Integration with HubSpot. Add a Facebook Pixel (again, check your GDPR commitments).
Premium – £55 per month – 10000 responses per month. Remove Typeform branding and get live chat support (Note: I was surprised to see this only on the top tier).
Is SurveyMonkey safe?
Data security and privacy should be really important to any survey tool provider. There's a few things you need to take into account when you're asking whether SurveyMonkey is safe though:
#1 – How important is anonymity to you?
You can collect personal data using SurveyMonkey in two ways: by explicitly asking for things like an email address it in text input etc. or by automatically configuring SurveyMonkey to collect personal data like IP address.
We would say that collecting an IP address without permission from a user definitely counts as breaking anonymity which is why we don't have this feature on doopoll. Also, unlike SurveyMonkey, we don't track who opens any email invites to surveys you send out – that's also a sure fire way to break anonymity.
For some use cases, this won't matter but for most, this is a key data security problem for users.
#2 – Where is your data stored?
Where your data is processed matters. Asking: is Surveymonkey GDPR compliant is not a bad idea. Particularly for companies in the EU who have to be extra careful to abide by the GDPR legislation. SurveyMonkey don't guarantee that your data won't be transferred to America although they do say that they submit all data in compliance with EU–US Privacy Shield legislation. That's important.
But we have many customers who have switched from SurveyMonkey to doopoll and this was a key factor in their decision making. We endeavour to store all data in EU or EEA data centres.
#3 – How is data transmitted?
You're probably never going to need to know about this, but it could be important someday. Online, data is transmitted in a number of different ways. The most important consideration here is: does SurveyMonkey transfer data over a secure, encrypted connection? The answer to that one is yes! They use the https:// protocol – as do we. you can check this by taking a look at that address bar up there on your browser – you should see a little lock on it.
Other tools you might consider in the general use survey tools category:
Snapsurveys – Snapsurveys pitches itself as a sort of lightweight research tool in comparison to other available options. They’re all about ‘deeper insight’. You get 1 seat for £850 a year. Which is steep.
Smart Survey – The third UK based alternative in this section (doopoll and SnapSurveys are also UK companies). Again focused on research uses but usable across the board. Free trial available. Their single user licences start at £35 per month and their team licences start at £90 per month (but with no month to month pricing available for teams)
SurveyGizmo – If you’re an enterprise user (usually that means you’ve got 250+ people in your organisation) SurveyGizmo wants your surveys! Again, they don’t focus on the sexy simplicity of surveys like doopoll and Typeform do, but instead go for the more research heavy uses. Plans start from £23 per month.
Best survey tools for live events
SurveyMonkey might be OK for doing pre or post event feedback, but when you want to engage the audience and keep their attention, you need a real time tool to do it.
There’s a class of live survey tools which have emerged over the last several years and they vary quite greatly.
When considering buying a live poll or live survey tool, you should ask yourself these questions:
- How good does this look when I project the results onto a big screen?
- How easy is it for my attendees to access the survey?
- Is this value for money – can I use this after the event?
Let’s take a look at the three main competitors in this area.
Here we are again. I promise this isn’t a tokenistic recommendation.
doopoll genuinely delights event organisers, presenters and audience members. Anecdotally, you can hear people using doopoll because they audibly ‘wow’ when they see their votes moving the results on the big screen.
Unlike other event voting technology, you don’t need to download any apps or use any hardware to take part or manage a live survey. Just enter a unique event code into our event page (https://doo.vote) using any web browser and you’ll be on the poll in seconds.
doopoll doesn’t require wi-fi to work and we’ve seen it work reliably with even 3G phone reception.
If you’re running an event using doopoll, you’re going to want to choose the ‘Super’ plan for £83 per month (you can also choose to pay annually if you run a few events a year.) The benefits of that plan are that you get access to the truly unique presenter view which makes your presentations stand out from other conferences and events. Here’s what that looks like on a big screen:
Event organisers love doopoll
“Over the last few years we have been paper based and doopoll has absolutely transformed our events."
“The ability to share a meaningful link and poll name aids delegate engagement and at a recent event achieved 92% response rate – unheard of through other mediums!”
“Our CEO used doopoll to engage the Senior Leadership Team at an event. We also used the platform to engage the entire staff base in a discussion on quarterly performance.”
Slido is another popular alternative to SurveyMonkey for live events. If you’re running an all hands meeting and want a survey tool, Slido is a good choice. It also works for bigger events and conferences.
I really like the effort that Slido have put into building their question and answer feature in particular. This allows you to accept questions from the audience and have everyone else vote the best questions to the top of the queue. That’s pretty neat if you want that level of engagement.
Like most other tools in this section, Slido just needs you to load a link in your web browser. You can do it on a mobile too.
Slido also offers a downloadable app for presenters to control their surveys on the big screen. When I tested it out for this, I found it quite difficult to use and I couldn’t manage to get it to work with my slides. But I hope that you have a better experience. Potentially their new Google Slides integration will be easier to use.
You can run a one off event for Slido and you get response to your questions for 7 days either side of the event (you have to specify a date.) Their Private plan allows you to ask 5 questions per event and is priced at £119. That feels a little restrictive and so you may want to opt for an annual plan starting at £500 per year for a single user.
There’s a lot good about Slido for live surveys at events but the fact that you can’t use it for things other than events and the restrictive nature of the pricing and features means that it’s not great value for money.
It’s a trade off you’ll have to make if you want to use Slido.
Mentimeter is a similar tool to Slido but is way more targeted at the education market. It’s not a bad choice if you want to do interactive word clouds and also have a platform to manage your slides.
In fact, that’s the biggest differentiator between Mentimeter and doopoll or Slido: Mentimeter is a presentation product with survey functionalities built in.
The difference might seem subtle but it is significant. With Mentimeter, you present your slides directly through their product (either use their slide creator or upload yours as images) and then you add new ‘slides’ with questions etc.
A downside of Mentimeter that I have found is that it’s quite fiddly to know what to do once you’re on the product. When I trialled it in writing this article, even as a competent tech user, I struggled at times to know where I should be clicking.
I think partly this comes down to the fact that it’s such a departure from a classic survey tool and is really angled towards creating interactive presentations. But that might really suit your needs because, hey, you’re not me!
Plans start from free (but very limited) and go up to $24 per month for an individual. If you want to buy for your team, 5 users will cost you $119 per month (and you can add or subtract users to change that price).
If you’re an educational institution, you can benefit from their special pricing for education (see their pricing page).
Best survey tools for customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is one of the biggest use cases of any survey tool. You can see this by just googling ‘Customer Satisfaction templates’ (pro tip: just use one of ours here.)
There’s all kinds of different alternatives to SurveyMonkey in this space. From the smiley face buttons that you see in airports or IKEA, to email only surveys, to conversational messaging bots (although expect to see fewer of these in the 2020s)
Here we’ve pulled together a few options for the best customer satisfaction survey tools.
We care a lot about customer satisfaction. So much so that we literally wrote the guide to it. We spend a huge amount of time working out how to make our customers’ experience better and we’re proud of our world class Net Promoter Score (NPS) as well as our global response time of under 15 minutes to support requests (within working hours).
But seriously: doopoll is the ideal alternative to SurveyMonkey for customer satisfaction. Here’s just some of the stuff we offer for people looking to do customer satisfaction.
- Integrate with 1500+ other products via our Zapier integration – so you can send automated responses to customers
- NPS, CSAT and CES survey templates are available for you to use right away
- Real time sentiment analysis of comments powered by machine learning
- High engagement rate with surveys – standard of 60-80% response rate across all surveys on our platform in any 7 day period.
You can also collect unlimited responses for free. You choose a paid plan when you decide that you want to see more than the first 10 responses – that way, your package grows with the value you’re getting.
If you’re looking for something that’s going to let you email a clickable NPS, CES or CSAT question to your customers’ inboxes, Delighted might be something to consider. Their emails look pretty clean and they clearly get the job done.
You can survey people on one platform for free. But if you can also upgrade and survey people on any platform starting at $224 per month billed annually.
One thing to bear in mind is that Delighted is specifically for this function. You can’t run other kinds of non-customer satisfaction related survey on it throughout the year. You’ll need to buy other tools if you want to do that – that means the costs will start adding up really fast.
If you’ve ever answered one of the Happy or Not hardware surveys at the till of a supermarket or in an airport by pressing the happy faces, you’ll be familiar with the concept of Customer Thermometer.
Like Delighted, they are focused on customer feedback surveys delivered in one click emails. So focused in fact that that’s all you can do to answer one.
Unlike Delighted, you can segment your responses by customer support representative etc and see it all on an online dashboard – which looks a little outdated but nonetheless effective.
Their pricing is pretty confusing. You start paying from $29 a month all the way up to $150 a month. For $29 a month you can have 50 credits per month – a credit corresponds to 1 survey sent or 1 response when you embed the survey into an email yourself.
I guess that means that you can have 50 responses for $29/mo – which feels high when you might be doing a lot of customer feedback. (If you only want 50 responses a month, you can get a similar package on doopoll for $11 a month – and you’ll also get all the other functionality that we mentioned above for that price.)
Best survey tools for employee engagement
Staff feedback is wildly important for any organisation. The cost of a staff member leaving can be huge (£40,000 per staff member according to HRReview.co.uk). That means that anything you can do to ensure you know how they’ve feeling early is a good thing – helping you to preempt costly staff churn.
In this section we’re taking a look at the slightly more confusing world of Staff Feedback survey tools.
Unlike other kinds of survey tool, you’ll find that staff feedback tools are often highly opinionated about how you should be conducting feedback and also about how you should be segmenting by department.
And you should definitely ask yourself that question: are you looking for a tool that you will implement for all staff in your organisation and store their data in it, or are you just looking to do a simple employee engagement survey?
Culture Amp is a tool for people managers. Specifically, for people who work in organisations with many departments and a feedback heavy culture.
Like many tools in the employee engagement and people management categories, the tool breaks out responses into whatever departments you define meaning you can track morale, engagement and more by job function.
Their pricing isn’t publicly available which feels like a sign that it’s pretty expensive but if you’re looking to build your organisation around an employee engagement tool, this one is a good choice.
Packages start for organisations of 50 people or more.
Peakon and Culture Amp are so similar that there’s very little to say about either that doesn’t apply to both.
There’s this one thing: the Peakon brand is a little more geared towards data and analytics than Culture Amp. If you’re spending a lot of your time in a tool, you also want it to look clean and simple – Peakon definitely has the edge in this area, in my opinion.
Another thing I really like about Peakon is that they provide open data about benchmarking. You can see your benchmark here by region, job role, seniority, gender and tenure. I think that’s a great piece of marketing but also a value add.
Look, we’re not in the same game as Peakon or Culture Amp. We’re all rounders. We give you the features and tools you need to run a mega effective employee engagement survey and then get out of your way while you slay it as a people manager.
A key benefit of doopoll that we see in this area is how well trusted our anonymity first approach is. By default, everything you do on doopoll is anonymous. You can optionally allow respondents to link their responses to their name and contact details – and they’ll be notified before this happens.
We also provide really powerful segmentation features using our report filters. So you can ask a question like ‘Which department are you in?’ and ‘Which office do you work from?’ and then use filters to build up a picture of your organisation on that basis (as an example.)
Our charts respond in real time too – so if you’re filtering, our charts are filtered. That makes compiling reports to share with the key decision makers a total breeze.
We won’t create a fancy dashboard for your organisation, but we think you’ve got that. We’ll just make sure you’re getting the responses in the structure you need.
(Oh, and you can find out our pricing above. Open and transparent. Like you want your organisation to be.)
Is Qualtrics better than SurveyMonkey?
Qualtrics is a data collection and analysis company. SurveyMonkey is a survey software. The two things might seem quite similar but the experience of using them is totally different.
With Qualtrics, you can create surveys of many different types. Employee satisfaction, product feedback, market research, and more are all part of Qualtrics Research Core. But in addition to that, they're really focused on the reporting features and helping you understand things like customer experience.
On the other hand, SurveyMonkey helps you create surveys. While reporting is important, it's way more about the collection of responses to your survey questions from your target audience.
If you're a huge organisation (we know a lot of academic organisations in this category), Qualtrics might be a better choice for you. But if you're a business looking to track trends in the opinion of your clients, SurveyMonkey is a better choice out of the two.
Best free survey tools
Sometimes you want a simple tool to run a quick survey and don’t care about what features it has. That’s understandable. For those cases, there’s a few tools you might want to consider:
By users, Google Forms is the biggest survey tool on the internet by quite a distance. That’s because it’s a Google product, free to use and comes packaged with Google Suite. Form responses go directly into a Google Sheet so if you want an easy way to look at your results in a table, this one’s for you.
Slack is the most popular work collaboration tool around these days. And it’s already embedded within hundreds of thousands of organisations around the world. So there’s a good chance you’re already using it.
Slack’s app directory has many options for polling apps. They’re easy to install and if you’re looking for free, you’ll likely find something that works for you on there.
Word of warning: most of the apps in the Slack polling directory can only be used within the Slack channel you’re in. If you need to share it more widely, make sure the app you go for can do that.
Pro tip: if you’re just looking to run a super quick slack poll, you can use the message reactions function to take a straw poll. Just add the appropriate emoji votes and allow everyone to vote using those. Simple!
Having already mentioned Google Forms, I just wanted to take a moment to sing the praises of Airtable. It’s one of the most flexible tools we use in our work at doopoll.
It’s somewhere between a spreadsheet and a data base and it integrates with a huge number of other tools (mostly through Zapier).
A feature that a lot of people are surprised about is the ability to create forms for your Airtable Base and have each response input directly into the Base. Great if you’re integrating with another tool as well because your form responses will be available in that tool too.
But if all you want is a simple form and you don’t already use Airtable, you’d probably be reinventing the wheel by choosing this one.
doopoll has a free plan which you can use to get off the ground quickly. Create an account here if you need:
- Unlimited surveys
- Unlimited questions
- Unlimited responses (see the first 10 on any survey before upgrading – read more about why we do this)
Did you find what you were looking for?
If you didn’t find what you were looking for yet, I’d love to hear more about it. Book a time in our calendar here and we can help you find a solution.