Right from which dress to wear to which are the best investment options — we seek opinions on everything. Even the door-to-door tie clad youth surveying the most preferred flavour of cream biscuit has now transformed into a digital survey platform (survey mailers or social media polls).
Andrew Lee, Founder, EnSurvey
Combining the need and tendency of asking for opinions with the social media element is Malaysia-based website EnSurvey, a social opinion startup. Andrew Lee, Founder, EnSurvey describes the website as a ‘Pinterest of opinions’.
EnSurvey was originally launched in July 2012, wherein it was run as only a paid service for its clients. The website was then re-launched as a social network for opinions in January 2013. It is currently in its beta version.
Idea brewing Prior to EnSurvey, Lee worked as an account manager at an advertising agency, wherein research and online studies were a major part of his job profile.
“There were a lot of ideas that we need(ed) to justify each day for pitches to clients and usually we spent a lot of time on research and online studies,” said Lee. The time spent in searching for data or reports to back their ideas took most of their time, leaving very little space for making an actual strategy.
While they used websites such as SurveyMonkey and Youthsays (now Says.my — used to be a survey community and now pivoted to content generation and sharing), they did not have a panel with whom they could share the survey form. “It gave me the initial idea to develop a survey engine with a panel where advertising and media agencies would be our first clients to use the service,” added Lee.
The new format of EnSurvey as an social networking website for opinions was based on the idea of everyone being able to gather instant feedback, not just limited to professional researchers, but also have opinions from journalists, bloggers, students, professors, brand marketers and any thought leader in the industry.
The new website has a magazine design, replacing banal font listing with images, which is more attractive.
Play is the highest form of research Lee shared with e27 that filling research forms can be banal and drab. Thus, the idea behind EnSurvey is to keep research socially fun and playful.
To use the services of EnSurvey, users need to log in either with their Facebook account or create a new account on the website. Users then need to post questions for which they are seeking opinion and share it with their friends and wait for the community to respond.
As results are being gathered, users can post their comments on the live discussion board, and the site then summarises results in infographics that would make data easier to read and understand. To make sure that the polls reach out to maximum number of people, EnSurvey plans to start weekly newsletters that will consist of hot picks of the week. Also, users would get notifications of latest posts from people or interests they follow, thus helping brands to reach out to their target group.
EnSurvey also plans to add filters to enable anyone to compare the insights in different regions or country, or even based on age and gender. “We are experimenting with filters. Age and gender filters are currently available on our site. The plan is take this experimental experience to roll out more useful filter such as location, by browsers, OS and zodiac,” said Lee.
Additional sources for funding With people wanting to share everything — from the latte they drink in the morning to the bars they are at in the night, social networking has become a way of living. With a number of startups trying to get hands on the social element, websites often face a dearth of funds.
EnSurvey is a self-funded startup and has raised about US$80,000 so far. Lee expressed that they are now looking at a fresh round of funding from Cradle Investment Program (CIP) 500 grant which can get the business up to US$151,791.
“Currently we are looking for fresh funding through Cradle CIP500, and other pitch applications such as Echelon and beLaunch to help us connect to venture capitalist. The amount could be anywhere between US$150, 000 and US$500, 000,” shared Lee, adding that the amount raised will be used for improving mobile app and hire talent to expand the business overseas.
Making the moolah EnSurvey’s business model is based on the freemium concept. While the basic membership is free, consumers can get a Pro or Enterprise account for additional features. The fee and services of Pro and Enterprise accounts are yet to be decided. But in general, the services will help brands in engagement, offer behavioural study over time of specific targeted group and identify trends.
The website also has pay-per-survey model, wherein users have to pay US$10 per response. Apart from this, EnSurvey also works indirectly with clients through channel partners with customised charges.
It has created specific target groups for each of its model. For instance, Pro account for journalists and researchers, and Enterprise services for brand owners and marketers.
EnSurvey currently faces stiff competition from websites such as SurveyMonkey and polling app Polarb. However, Lee claims that the “winning strategy for EnSurvey is its focus on content”.
EnSurvey is currently present in Malaysia and aims to expand across Asia. “Our vision is set on Southeast Asia for now, moving one step at a time. After piloting Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia would be next, targeting year-end,” shared Lee, “We’d love to work with local partners to help people explore our services,” he added.
The website hopes to achieve between 50,000 to 100,000 users this year from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.