Audience Research: Where to Find Polls and Survey Data

You’ve accepted that “the general public” is not a target audience. Congratulations! Now’s the fun part:  learning more about the groups of people who really are most important to your success.

You can and should do some original research via surveys, interviews, and informal focus groups with people on your lists (which I talk about in Chapter 3 of my book). But you can also learn a great deal from polls and surveys conducted by others.

Check these sources for free data you can use to better understand your target audiences.

Cornell Universities List of Public Opinion Surveys

Harris Interactive Vault - 40 years of public opinion data - polls on hot topics - variety of public opinion polls

Pew Internet and American Life Project - great studies on how Americans use the Internet and technology

ResearchAmerica and the National Center for Health Statistics for heath-related polling and stats

Cooperative Extension’s Water Outreach Target Audience Database for research compiled to help water scientists and managers reach their target audiences

Quantcast - demographics of users of different websites

CensusScope and ZipSkinny help you find and interpret U.S. Census data

World Public Opinion - polls from around the world

What are some of your favorite free resources for polls and surveys so you can learn more about your target audiences?

  • Meghan K.

    I’d add Focuses mostly on technology and business, but you can sort through to find really interesting demographic and trend data.  I know the founder, so I’m biased, but I use it almost every day.

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  • Tara Collins

    You really must be a mind-reader, Kivi. I’m doing market analysis now for an online store and these resources will come in handy in expanding my chance of data.

    A few other places I’ve found valuable data: media kit demographics from the local radio station, local newspaper, and regional magazines. Public information on companies that attract a similar audience to ours (WholeFoods Markets demographics were awesome!) I called a few of our partners and got data from the chamber of commerce, the State and a few regional studies conducted over the years. Pew Internet, Forrester Research and eMarketer were also key sources.

    What I’m learning from this experience is that I need to be gathering data from our constituents regularly, be it part of an EventBrite online registration ticket, informally at a workshop or through periodic email surveys. After compiling the data, I have to post and share it through our website.  I can’t tell you how many people I talked to who said, “I don’t have anything for ya. But when you’re done, can you send me a copy?”