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What Is An Omnibus Survey And How To Use It For Conducting Quantitative Market Research?

Kate Williams

9 April 2021

9 min read

If knowledge is power, then in business, market knowledge is a superpower!

Business without market research is similar to pizza without cheese (ignore if you don’t like cheese)!

You can’t imagine running a business successfully without gaining knowledge about the market trends. Let’s say you’re thinking about buying a new laptop. You have to figure out what laptop you should get. And without doing a bit of research about its screen quality, CPU, RAM, storage, battery life, reviews, and budget, you can’t find the perfect laptop according to your needs. In short, market research exists everywhere.

But, conducting market research is not easy as it seems. Several companies get stuck at the budget factor before running market research. This is where an omnibus survey can help. It helps to conduct market research surveys at a low cost and time. But how? Well, let’s decode the ifs and buts of omnibus surveys in this article below.

What is Quantitative Market Research?

Just like consumers, market research is a crucial part of businesses. We do market research to understand a product, while companies conduct market research to understand their customers. Sometimes companies skip the research part. Maybe because they don’t know its value or how to use it properly, but skipping market research can cost you big time.

You can take Microsoft’s example as a classic fail due to a lack of market research. In 2006, Microsoft launched a portable media player, Zune. Zune was supposed to compete with its famous rival Apple’s iPod. However, in 2011 Microsoft’s Zune was discontinued despite investing millions in it. The reason was poor marketing segmentation and no differentiation from iPod. You see, that’s the importance of market research.

Among all the marketing research methods, the quantitative research method is the most common type. If you want specific information about your company, target customer, market, customer population, the quantitative method is the best fit. Conducting quantitative market research can help you get answers to questions like “Who are my potential customers?”, “Why are people not purchasing my product?”, “What is the market trend?” etc.

Quantitative market research mainly includes two methods for gathering data- surveys and questionnaires. Also, you can conduct email surveys, telephone surveys, face-to-face surveys for collecting quantitative data.

The omnibus survey is one such method that helps you get rich insights into your business industry, consumers, and market in the most convenient way. That means, when you only need answers to a few questions related to your brand and don’t have the budget for conducting a full-fledged survey, an omnibus survey is an ultimate solution. In our next point, we’ll learn the basic definition of the omnibus survey and how it can help in quantitative market research.

What is an Omnibus Survey?

First, we need a basic definition of an omnibus survey before discussing anything further.

An omnibus survey is organized on behalf of different companies. It includes a single questionnaire with multiple questions in various categories. Regularly, the omnibus survey is sent to a specific target group for market research.

Generally, omnibus surveys are conducted by agencies and driven by several paid sponsors, who buy questions in the survey as it provides a cost-effective survey solution.

Let us give you an example here. Suppose you’re thinking about having dinner at the fanciest restaurant in your town. Now, let’s say your budget is tight, and if you go there alone, you might end up paying a lot for dinner. However, you decided to go with your five best friends to the restaurant because of the budget issue. And whatever the dinner costs, you can spread out the bill with your five friends, and it becomes much more affordable.

Omnibus surveys work exactly like this example. In this quantitative market research method, several organizations pay a survey agency for buying questions related to their industry. These questions from different organizations create one extensive survey with multiple unrelated questions. The questions could be about different products, services, behaviours, and brands. Let’s make the definition easy with an example:

Consider three companies.

  • A wants to know about the customer loyalty of its organization
  • B wants to ask homemakers about cooking habits in the kitchen.
  • C wants to ask teenagers about issues with their beauty products.

In omnibus surveys, these unrelated, random questions are asked in the same survey script. And several organizations (companies A, B, C) will buy the survey script together to share the cost of the market research.

How are Omnibus Surveys Conducted?

These days the methods for omnibus surveys vary a lot from the past. As we already know, this is the era of digital technology. Even the marketing world has shifted its focus from traditional to online over the past few years. Previously, agencies used to conduct omnibus surveys through telephone, and now they use online platforms, online survey software to collect quantitative data. The reason is high-quality, real-time data, quick responses, and cost-effective solutions.

However, the process of conducting an omnibus survey is quite simple. The survey sponsors pay a certain fee to buy a few questions or a set of questionnaires. The question numbers can vary from 1 to more than 30, depending on your budget and needs. You can ask questions related to your brand awareness, brand perceptions, customer loyalty, and much more.

3 Steps To Conduct An Omnibus Survey

Step 1

Omnibus survey companies gather information from multiple companies about their needs and business objectives for marketing research. Suppose you’re interested in conducting an omnibus survey. In that case, the omnibus survey team will learn what questions you want to ask from your target audience. If you haven’t outlined what to ask in an omnibus survey, you can take help from SurveySparrow’s survey templates. From these templates, you’ll get access to different types of engaging questions for your target respondents.  

Step 2

Once you select what to ask, omnibus survey companies will program the surveys accordingly. Now survey programming can be a hectic process. You can use Typeform alternatives like SurveySparrow to program the survey in the most attractive way.

Step 3

Once the omnibus team is all set with the survey questions, they’ll send them to multiple respondents to get real-time insights on your market research.

So, this is the simple process of conducting an omnibus survey. Several agencies or organizations conduct omnibus surveys to help businesses run quantitative market research and get rich insights. But, wait, this survey’s simple process is not the only reason people use it. There are more advantages companies get from an omnibus survey. Read all about it in our next section.

The Key Advantages of Omnibus Survey

A newly launched software company decided to introduce their new product. Before launching the product, they quickly ran a search through Google about “how to do market research?” which showed them a long list.

The list contained several kinds of market research methods. From focus groups, face-to-face interviews to questionnaires, the list goes on and on.

However, the small-sized company was out of budget and had no scope for conducting market research. The company’s CEO was concerned about how to reach people and decided to skip the research part.

The above story is a reality for many small-sized or newly launched organizations. Small-medium businesses or new organizations already have a lot of day-to-day responsibilities to deal with. It’s tough to make time or plan an extensive budget market research for them. In some cases, companies don’t even know how to conduct market research in the first place. In such scenarios, omnibus surveys can act as a wonder.

One of the most effective ways to reduce marketing research costs while getting quality and needed data is the omnibus survey. Other than the cost-effectiveness, with the omnibus survey method, you can expect advantages like:

Quick Responses

As per Statista, 60% of respondents said that real-time customer analytics was necessary for improving customer experience at the time of the survey. Quick responses help businesses to uncover insights related to their new products or consumer behaviour faster. You can detect your consumers’ needs, pain points, and expectations more easily with real-time responses. And, omnibus surveys can save your time as they can gather insights quickly.

Depending on the survey length and question types, you can get responses within 24 to 48 hours. And if you use effective survey software like SurveySparrow, you can get data in real-time. As soon as your respondents complete the survey, you’ll get notifications to know the immediate results. You can review the results with tabulated charts, graphs, and much more.


Conducting market research can be expensive for your business. The global revenue of the market research industry crossed 73.4 bn, US dollars in 2019. The cost of market research includes several factors like data collection methods, sample size, budget, etc. But, as multiple organizations share the omnibus survey, it can save a lot on your budget. You won’t have access to other questions, which are asked by other brands in the omnibus survey.

For example, a survey company conducted one omnibus survey containing 30 different questions for three different organizations. Then they can send three separate survey results, each containing ten answers to these three different organizations.

First Step for Market Research

The omnibus survey builds a solid foundation for your future market research needs. Suppose you want to target a more specific audience. In that case, market research is a necessity, and a business should keep its future research goals in mind while choosing the omnibus survey questions.

Here take an example. Let’s say you’re launching a new mobile in the market and want to find out which age group is best to target. With an omnibus survey, you can know the age group between 20-35 are the most relevant age groups to buy your mobile. In your next market research, you’ll already have this data to guide you.

These are some primary advantages of using an omnibus survey for quantitative market research. However, it has some disadvantages too. Well, not to worry, because we have a solution for you. Read on to find out!

How can SurveySparrow Help You with Omnibus Survey?

Probably the biggest disadvantage of conducting omnibus surveys is its long survey experience. It’s not unnatural to have omnibus surveys with 30 to 50+ questions in 10 or above topics. But the problem is that people these days don’t spend that much time completing surveys. If your survey gets too long, they’ll get disengaged, bored, or worse; they’ll throw their phone away(okay, maybe they’ll not throw the phone!).

However, you can avoid this problem using effective survey software that can collect the relevant data smartly. Enters SurveySparrow! This software comes with some great features like attractive survey templates, video surveys, and customized surveys to give life to any boring, long survey experience.

1. Dual Survey Experience

The best part about this software is its dual survey experience. It has conversational forms and chat-like surveys to help you engage with your target audience better. The sleek design of these survey forms can be customized with different survey themes, background videos, themes, or gradients. You can even make decisions on the colour palette, button fill, fonts, and much more.

SurveySparrow’s survey software allows you to collect data with a wide variety of questions. For instance, drag & drop, matrix, multiple-choice questions, rank order, NPS score, rating scale, etc. You can mix and match these questions. This way, your target respondents won’t feel bored answering long omnibus surveys. It will keep the survey-taking experience smooth.

You can only craft relevant questions based on your respondent’s previous answers with conditional logic branching, skip logic, and display logic. The question piping feature of this software allows you to have a one-to-one conversation with the right audience and keep them engaged throughout the long survey session.

2. Share Options

One of the best SurveyMonkey alternatives, SurveySparrow comes with multichannel sharing options. With this survey tool, you can customize your surveys and create recurring surveys effortlessly. Recurring surveys will help you to share omnibus surveys at any frequency- daily, weekly, quarterly, or monthly. In fact, you can remind the non-responders with a reminder email to make sure you get a high response rate.

With the unique link share option of this software, you can create shareable web links. Later you can track these links to analyze the performance funnel and your best performing channel. You can even embed surveys anywhere to get actionable data from the most unlikely places. It can be a pop-up card or a chatbot for websites. You can literally embed your surveys anywhere your audience is.

Sharing surveys with software is extremely easy with the social share option. If your target audience spends a huge lot of time on social media platforms, share the survey there. All you need to do is use meta tags, descriptions, and attractive images to make the survey-taking experience more enjoyable. Also, the QR code feature of SurveySparrow lets you download a scalable QR code for your survey. Simply use the code in posters, pamphlets, or receipts to get higher survey responses.

3. Track Survey Performance

It’s crucial to track the performance of your omnibus survey. With the market research software of SurveySparrow, you can gain rich insights that help you find out which channel got maximum responses. The rich dashboard of this software is equipped with graphs, charts, histograms, and in-depth reports. With real-time reporting, you can gather data as soon as your respondents hit the submit button. As omnibus surveys are conducted with a large group of audience, the real-time data collection feature can work as a saviour for the omnibus survey team.

With cross-tabulation, you can compare the responses you received. Thus you can spot the market trends, spot patterns, blind spots to understand your customers. Advance report filters let you set the answers based on several parameters like location, period, respondents details, completion rates, etc. And we’ve already mentioned how it can help you configure the survey frequency accurately. The best part of online survey software is it allows you to secure your data by keeping an offline copy of the survey in pdf format.

With the online audience panel, you can easily find your potential target audience for your market research and you can listen to your audience across 80 countries. When you have the right questions and refined data, you can get valuable feedback in real-time. This rich data will help you identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses and ultimately help you make better decisions.

Wrapping Up…

We all know how market research helps us to make better decisions in businesses. And, the omnibus survey adds a cherry on the top by conducting that market research in the most cost-effective way. For those who don’t have a huge budget or are working with limited resources, the omnibus survey is probably the best solution for their market research needs.

So, are you ready to take the bus? I mean the omnibus! If yes, go through this detailed guide on the omnibus survey and make your market research experience a happy one!

Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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