SurveyMonkey is Great, But Not for Startups


SurveyMonkey is an all-around great tool.

It’s tried and tested. It’s been around since 1999—one of the earliest survey platforms on the internet. More than 25 million people use SurveyMonkey, and the company recently went public, further enhancing the stability and predictability of the tool—especially for users who use SurveyMonkey as an integrated part of a larger workflow.

But all of that said, SurveyMonkey is not a good survey tool for startups.

What SurveyMonkey Does Well

As mentioned above, SurveyMonkey is not only a powerful tool, but a stable and predictable one—ideal for integrating surveys into larger project management workflows and CRM systems. This is what makes SurveyMonkey the best among its competitors, which otherwise are almost identical tools.

SurveyMonkey also has arguably the most question types and data reporting formats of any other broadly-accessible tool. In our experience, 99% of all survey research needs are covered by the options and formats SurveyMonkey offers. From more basic functions like multiple-choice questions and nested dropdowns to more advanced ones like conditional logic and SPSS variable naming, there’s little one won’t find in the suite of tools SurveyMonkey offers.

Finally, SurveyMonkey’s offers an intuitive way to add “team members” to your projects, whether they are inside or outside your organization. Perfect for collaboration on advanced surveys, or if you’re hiring an outside specialist to work on one of your survey projects, but with whom you’d rather not share your login information.

What SurveyMonkey Does Poorly

It’s simple: Pricing.

SurveyMonkey has decent rates, but not if you’re launching just one, or two, or three survey projects. The fact is, their basic license (Advantage: $384) won’t get be sufficient if your survey has any mildly-complex logic branching. You’ll need a higher license level (Standard: $444).

That’s prohibitively expensive for a startup with plans to run only a handful of surveys. With some panel providers (like PeopleFish), it’s the cost of more than 200 consumer survey responses!

Additionally, SurveyMonkey isn’t easy to use. Yes, it’s about intuitive as it can be, but to get the survey you have in mind into a usable, functional, programmed instrument takes a lot of time and experience, no matter what tool you’re using. It’s one of the most frustrating parts of any survey research project.

Here at PeopleFish, almost one-fourth of our clients have tried and failed to program and field their own survey using a self-serve tool like SurveyMonkey. The fact is, it’s just not easy to get all the survey logic and branching right, and you’ll often find that what you want to accomplish is hidden behind yet another paywall only after you’ve got your survey 90% programmed.

Talk about a frustrating waste of time and energy. And worse, whatever work you’ve put in up until you discovered that your needed logic or branching feature is going to cost another $300 isn’t transferable into another platform. Once you’ve started in SurveyMonkey, you’re stuck—you’ll have to start programming all over again if you decide to use a different tool.

What PeopleFish Does Better

With PeopleFish, you don’t need to buy a subscription. You pay only for the responses you keep.

In other words, the $444 you’d spend on a SurveyMonkey subscription can instead by used to pay for, say, 200 survey responses from your target market consumers.

On top of that, you don’t have to program your survey. We do that for you.

It’s easy to just write down what you want your survey to do. It’s harder to actually get your survey programmed exactly that way. So leave the frustration to us. We’ve programmed many thousands of surveys, and can do so quickly and efficiently. There’s no need for you to waste time learning how to use yet another survey tool. Just send us your questions in a Word doc, spreadsheet, or even in an email. We’ll take care of the tedious programming.

Finally, through strategic partnerships with a host of survey tools, PeopleFish is able to implement whatever logic or branching you need. Full stop. There’s nothing we can’t accomplish when it comes to survey programming—just tell us exactly what you want to see, and we’ll have your survey programmed in no time. We even employ JavaScript programmers to accomplish logic and branching that’s not part of any survey tool’s standard features.

The Bottom Line

At PeopleFish, we believe every entrepreneur and marketer deserves the chance to hear from consumers. To “test the waters” and validate their ideas with real-world consumer feedback.

So we make it easy. Your questions, quality responses, no minimum purchase. That’s it. No expensive consultants, frustrating survey platforms, or stacks of confusing raw data. Just ask the right questions – we’ll take care of the rest.