Consumers and companies can gauge public opinion on trends, products and issues
Registered more than 17,000 sessions in June, compared with 5,000 in March
AFTER more than two years in the trenches, EnSurvey founder and chief executive officer Andrew Lee finally has some reason to feel relieved: His startup’s social network opinion platform is finally gaining momentum.
“Things are certainly improving. We are gaining some good traction. In June, our data showed that we were registering more than 17,000 sessions that month,” Lee told Digital News Asia (DNA) recently.
That’s a steep improvement compared with the approximately 5,000 sessions in March 2014.
EnSurvey, founded in 2012, is a social network opinion platform which the general public and companies can use to gauge public opinion on trends, products and issues.
Using the platform to create polls, members of the public can find out public opinion on the latest political issues, while companies can gauge public perception before launching a product or service, according to EnSurvey.
All they need to do is to post two questions for the poll. This also ensures respondents that the poll would not take too much of their time.
For example, if a company plans to launch a new bubble tea drink in the market, it can create a poll to find out how much consumers are willing to pay for such a drink, and what the key considerations are for consumers when they buy these kinds of drinks.
From the responses, the company can then plan a more effective marketing campaign.
“In some cases, companies can opt for a ‘paid survey,’ where consumers who take part in the poll will be paid a small fee,” said Lee.
“Surveys using this method have been quite successful so far. On average, these surveys are able to attract a few hundred respondents. In several cases, depending on the topic, we can attract close to 1,000 respondents,” he added.
A look at the EnSurvey website showed that a number of its paid surveys have been able to attract several hundred respondents.
For example, a survey to find out public opinion on mobile phones, mobile broadband dongles as well as methods of getting a cab were able to attract more than 800 respondents.
In contrast, a non-paid survey to find out consumers' breakfast habits was able to attract fewer than 50 respondents.
Regardless of the nature of the survey, paid or unpaid, the result of the findings can then be generated into an interactive infographic which helps users to make their presentations more attractive. They can also use age and gender filters to get a clearer view of the responses.
EnSurvey has managed to tie up with some big names such as Group M, Maybank, Astro, Nestle and others.
Eyeing new markets
In fact, if all goes well, the company may start penetrating new markets as early as next year.
“One of the markets we are eyeing at is Singapore. It is an attractive market for us,” said Lee (pic above).
Singapore, which has a population of over 5 million, also has the highest per capita income in the region, with the island-republic’s Department of Statistics putting annual GNI (gross national income) per capita at more than US$67,000 for 2013.
According to a report by social media agency We Are Social, Singaporeans are one of the most active social media consumers in the world. The country has a social penetration rate of 59%, more than double the global average of 26%.
These findings are a tonic to EnSurvey, whose platform works with Facebook. (Users can opt to register via Facebook before taking part in a poll).
EnSurvey’s services and its ambitions are in line with the Digital Malaysia programme, which aims to transform the nation into a digital economy by 2020.
One the three main thrusts of Digital Malaysia is to shift behaviour from being consumption- to becoming more production-centric, or to change the consumer mindset so that Malaysian individuals and businesses produce as much as they consume from digital technologies.
Another thrust is to evolve from low knowledge-add to high knowledge-add, or increasing the development of local talent in key industries to become innovators and knowledge workers.
EnSurvey’s business model and services fulfil the first thrust to move from consumption to production, where part of the goal is create new income generation opportunities via new digital business models. Just as importantly, it allows ‘brick-and-mortar’ businesses to improve their operations through the use of digital technologies – in this case, for marketing and sentiment-tracking, among other purposes.
Advertising industry gap
Although EnSurvey was only founded in 2012, Lee had been toying with the idea for a few years. As a young advertising executive learning the ropes of the industry more than five years ago, one of his tasks involved collecting data whenever he needed to make a pitch to clients.
This was a bigger challenge than one might suppose because advertising agencies do not have the luxury to seek out research firms like Nielsen to collect data.
“Plus, the agencies may not even need such in-depth data to make presentations,” he said.
Lee thought that it would be a good idea if there was a platform that could help ad agencies or FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) companies get access to the views of the public.
He talked to his friends about the idea, but the feedback wasn’t entirely encouraging.
“I was told that the idea wasn’t entirely new and special. However, when I looked around, I didn’t see many such platforms in the market,” he said.
It was then he has decided to embark on his entrepreneurial journey.
The initial period after the portal was set up was tough. On the one hand, he needed to grow the user base. To do that, he needed to ‘entice’ people to come to EnSurvey to start or even take part in a poll. One of the ways to get people to participate was via paid surveys – but to do that, you need money either internally, or from the ad agencies and FMCG companies.
On the other hand, FMCG companies and other types of clients were reluctant to put money into the platform when it had yet to achieve critical mass in terms of a user base.
“So, it was really a chicken-and-egg situation. We really had to find a balance in growing the user base and the client base,” Lee said.
But EnSurvey has finally solved that particular conundrum, and is looking forward to growth.
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