So you’re in marketing.

You’re looking to get started in the world of market research, but you’re not sure where to begin. You don’t have an enormous budget, and you don’t know which tool or product will help you figure out the ideas, concepts, ads, and products worth pursuing.

Luckily, the internet is chock full of (mostly) free software and web tools to see you through. That’s not to say your choice gets any easier, but at least it’s cheaper.

You’ll likely come to rely on more than one tool or provider while you navigate each stage of the development process – what’s most important is that you start to build market research into your day-to-day routine. It’s the key to climbing inside the head of your consumer; if you target your audience with precision by harnessing all the data available, you’ll find out a lot more about what drives them, who they are, and what they like.

This list offers a definitive rundown of all the noteworthy free and paid-for tools you might find handy in your fight to be seen and heard online, from A to Z.

A

Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa is great for researching any company’s web presence, helping identify the ways in which you outperform competitors – ideal for goal setting.

American FactFinder

Use this tool to search U.S. census data and find popular facts about communities far and wide; filter by age gender, income, race, and location.

Ask Your Target Market

An affordable way to make a survey and instantly send it out to over four million users worldwide. Identify with who you are quizzing on a day-to-day basis, and learn how they engage with your brand.

B

BizStats

This web tool isn’t easy on the eye, but don’t judge a book by its cover. This is the home of accurate business statistics, allowing you to explore financial benchmarks within any industry. For those in the UK, try Mintel or Kable.

Business Dynamics Statistics

Grab economic census data highlighting business startups, expansions, closures, and even establishment births and deaths.

Buffer

This is a social media scheduling tool that also presents users with engagement stats, identifies top posts, and helps identify how to replicate successful content in future.

C

Cafyne

Protect your brand from prevalent social media risks by ensuring you can amplify content while also abiding by company policy.

ClickInsights

No frills. Send an email with one question. Respondents click once to answer. Easy peasy.

Consumer Barometer

Use this tool from Google to create your own custom graphs to understand how people from around the world are using the internet.

Curalate

If your brand operates in imagery, you’ll want to find out which Instagram and Pinterest posts generate most engagement. Use Curalate.

D

Digital Life

Here, Kantar TNS provides a suite of tools that help uncover the truth behind human behavior online. What is ‘trust’ and how can you ensure users have faith in your brand?

E

Ekman’s Atlas of Emotions

How do emotions influence our lives? How do they influence the choices we make, what we say, and do? This tool is built to answer those big questions.

F

FedStats

This is your window into U.S. federal statistics, with no need to know which Federal agency it is that produces your required statistic: trends, crime, education, healthcare, aviation safety, energy use, and farm production.

FieldBoom

Easy to make, easy to use. Use this tool to create simple and straightforward forms, surveys, and quizzes that are also flexible enough to skip questions, accept files, and take payments.

Followerwonk

Who’s following your brand on Twitter? Break down your audience by region, activity, keywords, authority, follower size, and more.

FreeLunch

Another web tool that looks as if it’s straight out of the 90s – but it may prove useful if you are in the US, seeking data that reveals spending patterns across a range of demographics and industries.

G

Google Analytics

Though not strictly a market research tool, Google Analytics can uncover particularly valuable insights. For instance, which of your social channels are delivering highest levels of engagement and which pages of your site are best at retaining customers?

Google Trends

This is a similar tool to Social Mention (later), but it has the added benefit of plucking from Google’s data – and there’s a lot of it.

H

Heat-map

Find out where on your pages web visitors are looking and confirm whether imagery, copy, and UX are all working together the way you intended.

HubSpot Research’s Presentation Builder

Compile statistics and build your own data presentation by downloading individual charts or adding them to a custom Powerpoint deck.

I/J

IBM Social Analytics

Formulate your own social media campaigns and measure the resulting levels of engagement, helping predict customer behavior for next time.

Iconosquare

This is an analytics tool built for Instagram, covering images, videos, and also stories. Pay more and you’ll see influencer analytics too. Great if your brand is big on visuals.

K

Klout

This trusted tool shows you exactly how much ‘oomph’ you’re having online and suggests content that will be received as fresh by your followership. Peerindex and Kred are similar alternatives.

KeySurvey

This tool is perfect for creating your own questionnaires, from mobile and offline surveys, to employee engagement and audio recording. The catch? You’ll need to source your own respondents.

Kissmetrics

If you’re in e-commerce, you might find it useful to match anonymous data with those who later become customers. Kissmetrics is your tool.

L

Loop11

Test any web page – even those of your competitors. Create a form to recruit users who’ll give it a spin and then see how they get on.

M

MakeMyPersona

Answer some questions about who you think your ideal consumer might be and this easy-to-use tool will create your very own buyer personas.

MarketMuse

Search the web and your site for opportunities in content creation based on competitor performance and keywords.

Mixpanel

Use this if you want to find out how people are interacting with your brand on both mobile and desktop.

MyBestSegments

This tool from Neilson does what it says on the tin; it helps you find out the areas that would best receive a product launch or campaign based on data on trends, demographics, and lifestyle.

N

NetBase

Do you manage a large collection of branded social profiles? This might be the social analytics tool for you. NetBase processes posts nine-times faster and 50 to 70% more accurately than their competitors.

Nuvi

Nuvi offers attractive, real-time visualizations of discussions on social media and content performance, allowing for much quicker decisions.

O

Open Strategy

Check out this site for an up-to-the-minute collection of market data, case studies, reports, tools, and research.

P

Parsley

Find content and audience-based data, great for authors and editors who want to target their creative and encourage engagement.

Pew Research Center Website

This tool is perfect for sleekly building a better understanding of your target market by browsing political attitudes, economic conditions, and social media usage.

PickFu

Test drive marketing copy, UI mockups, and even book covers. This is a great option for quick and easy access to respondents outside your usual bubble. Pick a question and two possible answers. Your survey is ready to go.

Q

Qualtrics
Qualtrics tracks consumer behavior across diverse segments, benchmarks your company against competitors, conducts complex academic research, as well as advertising and product testing.

Questback

Questback does your research for you, connecting your business to your target market, community platforms, and real-time actionable insights.

Quora

This free tool helps you develop an understanding of what consumers love (and hate) about competitors in your space – as well as the questions they might have about the problems your brand can solve.

R

RankTracer Enterprise

Use RankTracer to explore Amazon’s sales data. Identify how competing products are selling, when, and why to highlight new marketing opportunities in niche markets.

Rival IQ

Use this to receive reports on your competitors content and performance so that you can sneakily improve your own.

S

SEMrush

This is the tool for maximising your SEO. Conduct a technical audit, identify backlinks, and explore ideas for gaining more organic traffic.

Simplereach

Take advice from Simplereach on the direction your visitors should take, based on the impact of your digital content.

SmartSurvey

SmartSurvey helps users create digital surveys and questionnaires, then analyze the results with access to over 20 million respondents in 70 countries.

Social Bakers

Review metrics and optimize paid and organic content across many social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube.

Social Mention

It’s important to keep up to date with what’s being said about your brand on social media – negative virality can be the undoing of even big brands. Search for yourself or anything related, as well as emerging trends.

Statista

Search for key terms on the Statista homepage to access relevant reports that offer research on industry stats, such as average expenditures and industry size.

SumAll

Your personal data scientist – SumAll looks over everything you do, from social channels to e-commerce, and measures overall success.

SurveyMonkey

This is for creating free in-depth surveys that use ‘people-powered data’ to help you understand the patterns that may emerge in your real-time results.

T

Temper

Using a simple slice of HTML code, Temper lets you insert an opportunity for web users to leave quick and effortless feedback on your page – with just a smiley face.

Think with Google

Open a world of marketing possibilities by revealing how people browse and buy online at different times of year – during Summer, Christmas, or the Olympics, for example.

Toluna
Toluna is a digital platform that enables companies to automate their research process, and reduce time to insight. All offerings are mobile-optimized for both the respondent and user.

Trendspottr

This tool can identify emerging trends before they strike maximum popularity – giving you a chance to jump on the bandwagon.

Trendwatching

Similar to Google Trends, but without the capacity to freely explore data. Nonetheless, this offers a huge amount of free reports on a variety of topics that allow you to get a better grasp of your market.

Trialfire

Steer clear of coding and track your web pages differently – with cool charts and graphs so you can visualize your data.

TypeForm

An effortless, minimalist mobile-optimized form-builder that’s great for gathering feedback one question at a time.

U

Ubersuggest

Do you need some keyword suggestions to help market that fresh piece of content you’ve made? Best see what’s already out there. This suggests keywords based on your search phrase.

Userlytics

Find out how your audience interacts with mobile apps, videos, and static ads. Record a respondent’s screen and their webcam in order to compare their performance with their genuine, physical reactions.

V

Voice Polls

This nifty voting tool asks for just $0.10 per response. Voice Poll finds survey takers from the general populace – but if you add another $0.10, you can narrow down exactly who you want to reach (and receive their demographics to boot).

W/X

Wealth-X

Do you do business with the wealthy? Wealth-X helps you better understand and build connections with the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Webtrends

This is great for optimising digital campaigns with analytics pertaining to customer intelligence and behavioral segmentation.

Wolfram Alpha Facebook Report

If you want to find out more about those who you connect with on Facebook, this neat little tool will piece together an extensive report for you.

Woopra

Build a timeline of website visits across all devices, helping you get the best out of every touchpoint.

Y

YouGov Profiler

Those who subscribe to YouGov Profiles receive comprehensive data on their customers, helping brands to plan more relevant campaigns.

Z

Zappi

An automated platform (from survey set-up to visualization) that offers expert tools to help pinpoint specific business issues. Upgrade for cross-analysis options.

Zuum

This tool will spot popular content and identify influencers, then send the details to your inbox.


Testing your product’s messaging before it’s in market is a precursor of success. Find out how technology can power effective positioning, fast, here.

A James Hodges

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A James Hodges

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