Whether your public relations effort is focused on B2B or B2C consumers, having reliable data is important. One of the most popular ways to collect the data is the consumer surveys. However, most PR practitioners fail to exploit the true potential of this tool.

The data collected from your survey can be used to understand how people interact with your product, gaining direct insight into consumer behavior. They can also provide real-time analysis of issues related to your brand or market niche. Surveys and statistics are powerful in PR campaigns because numbers help you tell stories. Telling stories helps drive the consumer-brand relationship.

Here is how you can use surveys to boost your digital PR campaigns.

Keep an Eye on Your Competition

Most PR professionals use online surveys to collect customer feedback. However, they can also be used to learn about your competitors. Competitors, regardless of how unique your market niche is, are out there and they are constantly trying to hijack your consumers. If you want to get a comprehensive report about your competitors and their PR strategies, you should consider conducting an online survey as often as possible.

Create a competitor analysis survey by asking your customers which similar products and services they use. This simple survey will not only help you identify your competitors but also help you find out why they are getting better PR results. Alternatively, you can also ask your consumers what they think you need to do to have a competitive edge over your competitors. Don’t forget to ask them about your strengths and weakness as well.

You can either limit these surveys to your present consumer base or create surveys for those who aren’t your customers as well. Either way, you will be able to collect vast amount of valuable information about your competition which you can leverage to boost your upcoming PR campaigns.

Avoid Unexpected Social Media Lambasting

Consumer surveys are also a testimonial of your social media presence. In fact, it is one of the best ways to find out if the online content genuinely reflects your brand. You can use this tool to listen to consumer complaints and their problems through a controlled channel. Otherwise, you will be facing terrible feedback, criticism, and pent-up horror stories surfacing unexpectedly on the social media.

Seoul Secret, a beauty brand, created the “White makes you win” campaign to promote its skin-lightening products. The company posted Tweets along with a video of actress and singer Chris Horwang. Chris talked about her career explaining how having a white skin helped her climb the ladder of success.

Needless to say, the campaign was a disaster as people harshly criticized the video for having racist overtones. Had the company conducted a consumer survey first, it could have quietly wrapped up the whole thing without letting it turn into a PR disaster.

Combine Machine Learning with Traditional Surveys

As a PR professional, you must have heard about how retailers and e-commerce companies around the globe are using machine learning and Artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the shopping experience. The e-commerce giant eBay recently announced the launch of two AI based services called “Image Search” and “Find it on eBay” on mobile devices recently. The “Image Search” allows a buyer to search eBay listings based on an image, while the “Find it on eBay” feature allows them to share URL link with eBay to search the products.

Similarly, tech companies are now exploring the application of machine learning, AI, and data science in the field of PR and marketing including consumer surveys. You can take the help of qualified data scientists to extract systematic information about your brand. The data scientist will help you interpret the data to create meaningful patterns that scream what your customers want. In short, any business embracing the data science and machine learning will help transform your consumer surveys profoundly.

Krux, a data management platform company, and Survata, a San Francisco-based survey company have combined machine learning with consumer surveys to boost the social media game of a brand. The brilliant combination of Machine learning with consumer surveys will allow brands and advertising companies to map the data collected from surveys to the PR campaigns in real-time.

“For example, if a research team was pre-testing banner ads that will be eventually be flighted to ‘auto intenders’—or in-market for a car—they can now run the pre-testing survey against an ‘auto intender’ segment,” said, Chris Kelly, Survata CEO.

Capitalize on Pop Culture and Trending Topics

Social media is one of the most dynamic fields out there. New trends and cultural movements hit the social media on a frequent basis. Spotting latest social media trends is instrumental in getting the most out of your PR campaigns.

Whenever a new trend hits social media channels such as Twitter or Facebook, use consumer surveys to find out which trends your customers find attractive. The change can be either short-lived or long-term. However, regardless of its duration, you can spin your next PR campaign around a trending topic among your social media audience.

The British non-profit Missing People with BBH Barn capitalized on the Pokémon Go fad to raise awareness for the real missing people. The campaign comprised posting vinyl posters of missing people in the form of Pokémon balls targeting the Pokémon players in the area. The campaign urged gamers to look for real missing people while they’re out playing.




PR professionals use various metrics to get the feedback from their consumers with online surveys leading the way. However, surveys have a lot more potential than you can imagine. From keeping an eye on your competition to capitalizing on trending social media topics, you can incorporate them into your PR efforts in the most innovative ways. Have you ever used online surveys to boost your digital PR campaign? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

About the Author: Dipti Parmar is the digital PR strategist and account manager at Preceptist and handles content marketing campaigns at E2M. She helps brands and individuals with their marketing while keeping their online reputation spotless.