SurveyMonkey vs. Google Forms vs. Typeform
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the survey platforms and reviews out there? In this article, we’ll break down what you really need to know about these commonly used, low-budget survey platforms and how they stack up.
We know that some survey platforms can be overwhelming with all their plans, features and add-ons– many of which can be misleading or simply confusing. So, we’re here to simplify things.
To start, we’ve broken down some of the most important features to consider when comparing survey tools:
- Questionnaire design & features
- Customization and templates
- Analytics and reporting
We’ll show you how these platforms measure up in each category so you can decide for yourself which features are most important to you. First, here’s a breakdown of the winners for each survey feature we’ll discuss.
First things first, let’s get our bearings with a quick overview of each of the platforms we’re comparing.
Google Forms overview
Google Forms is one of the many productivity tools in Google’s suite. That makes it handy for the large number of organizations that use G Suite or use other Google tools because of the smooth integration, like the ability to send your Google Forms survey results directly to a Google Sheets spreadsheet. However, there are some statistical approaches that are missing from or very limited in Google Forms, like conditional logic.
SurveyMonkey is a widely known survey platform that is used by small and large organizations alike. It’s highly customizable and offers a fantastic array of templates, along with a convenient mobile app for reviewing your results. The free tier does have severe limitations, though, including collaborative features that some free competitors offer.
Typeform focuses on simplicity, aesthetics, and an easy user experience. It’s considered to be very easy to learn and it’s highly user-friendly, with a variety of templates to get your surveys started. At the same time, that simplicity comes at the cost of some features and niceties that other platforms have but Typeform doesn’t, like custom URL creation and offline data collection.
Let’s talk price (Are they really free?)
Google Forms is completely free if you have a Google account, and you can create a free account if you don’t already have one. Google Forms is also included in G Suite, which starts at $6/month.
With Google Forms you can create unlimited surveys with unlimited questions and collect unlimited responses. However, it’s up to you to send out the survey to get respondents (this is true for all three of these survey platforms). Once you’ve gathered your data, you can easily download or export your survey data into Google Sheets.
So, if price is your biggest concern, Google Forms takes the cake. But this cheap price point also means limited functionality compared to other platforms. We’ll discuss what these limitations are in later sections.
SurveyMonkey offers multiple plans with different features and response limits. They have a free plan, but with very limited functionality. Their Basic (Free) Plan allows an unlimited number of surveys but only 10 questions and 40 responses per survey.
SurveyMonkey will collect responses over this limit but they won’t be viewable, so you’ll have to upgrade your plan if you want to see the extra responses. Unfortunately, with the free plan, you are unable to export your survey results to analyze your data which is a major setback if you want to do any survey analysis.
In order to export your survey results you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Your options include:
- Annual personal plans starting at $384 ($32/month)
- Monthly personal plans starting at $99/month
- Monthly Business (team) plans
Each upgraded plan comes with unlimited questions and an increased number of responses, but if you go over this limit of responses, you’ll be charged an additional fee.
If you’re willing to pay the extra price, SurveyMonkey’s yearly plans offer a more robust survey platform than Google Forms. However, SurveyMonkey’s free plan is more limited than Google Forms.
Typeform also offers a similar free plan that allows you to create unlimited surveys. However, the questions per survey cap at 10 and you can only collect 10 responses per month across all of your surveys, which is hardly enough to get any meaningful data. On the other hand, like Google Forms, Typeform lets you download and export your data with their free plan, whereas SurveyMonkey does not.
Typeform’s annual paid plans start at $300/year ($25/month) and each upgrade increases perks like:
- Number of responses you get per month
- Number of users allowed
If a high number of respondents per month is important to you, Typeform has some more expensive plans that offer up to 10,000 responses/month.
Time to start
No matter how great a survey tool is, you don’t have unlimited time to learn how to use it and to get the process started. Let’s explore the start-up time of Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Typeform.
Getting started with Google Forms
Google Forms has one of the easiest onboarding processes of any platform you’ll find. There’s no need to download an app or tool and in fact, if you already use any Google product, you don’t even have to create an account. The combination of a user-friendly setup and a variety of templates means you can also create simple surveys quickly and start collecting data.
Getting started with SurveyMonkey
While the start-up process is still fairly simple with SurveyMonkey, it’s not as quick and easy as it is with Google Forms. You do need to create an account to start exploring. From there, you can create a survey from scratch or start with a template and customize it. Because SurveyMonkey is a bit more complex and sophisticated, creating surveys can take extra time depending on your customizations.
Getting started with Typeform
Typeform has a simpler start-up process than SurveyMonkey, though it’s not quite as easy as Google Forms. You will need to create an account, but from there, it takes little time to get acquainted with the tools and features.
Questionnaire design & features
One of the most important elements of a successful survey is the questionnaire design. Using tools like skip logic, unique question formats, and other structural elements can help ensure that you get the most out of your survey responses. Each of these platforms provide different tools and features for creating questions and a logical survey structure. Let’s compare.
Google forms offers 11 different question types and allows for answer validation where you can specify what type of value you want the respondent to answer (text, number, email address, character length etc.). For example, you could get responses in the form of:
- Email address
You can also specify a character length and other response limitations.
Google Forms also lets you implement simple skip logic (also known as conditional or branch logic), which allows you to direct respondents to a specific question or page based on how they answered a previous question, but this is only available on certain question types.
With the free plan, SurveyMonkey offers a couple more question types than Google Form (14 total) including slider questions and drop-down matrix questions. However, from our experience, these question formats are often not essential for your survey and in some cases can make it harder to get accurate responses.
SurveyMonkey also allows for answer validation and slightly more advanced randomization. Google Forms only allows you to randomize your entire survey, whereas SurveyMonkey lets you randomize a specific set of questions. However, Survey Monkey’s free plan does not include skip logic, which can drastically limit your ability to customize the structure of your survey.
Overall, the free version of SurveyMonkey allows for a couple more question options than Google Forms but is missing key features like skip logic. More advanced formatting in SurveyMonkey requires upgrading.
Typeform also allows for a range of question types and includes skip logic and answer validation. But unlike the other two platforms, Typeform only allows for one question to be asked at a time, which doesn’t give you flexibility for how you want your questions to appear if you want to show multiple questions at a time.
Customization and Templates
Each of these platforms provides different levels of customization capabilities such as changing the colors, fonts, and look of the survey. Creating visually appealing surveys can help make the survey interesting, but you also don’t want to overdo the designs to the point where it distracts from your questions. Survey templates can also give you a basic idea of what questions to ask when you don’t have access to an expert team.
Google Forms is by far the most limited when it comes to customization. You can essentially change the color of the header and background of your survey. You can also upload a header image and choose from 4 font options. There’s no option to remove the Google branding from the survey.
As far as templates go, Google forms is once again relatively limited, especially when it comes to market research surveys. Aside from one customer feedback template, the rest are miscellaneous form templates for other purposes like course evaluations.
The free SurveyMonkey plan comes with 9 pre-designed themes that essentially change the background of your survey. But other than that, you can’t make any changes to the font, background, colors and so on without paying extra. With certain upgraded plans you can remove the SurveyMonkey branding in the footer.
SurveyMonkey has 40 templates in their free plan that touch on a broader range of topics. However, these templates are highly generalized and may not be advanced enough for those looking to do in-depth market research.
Typeform provides the most customization options and has at least a dozen pre-designed free (but simple) themes if you’re creating a survey from scratch and allows you to customize the color of most of the features including the background, questions and buttons.
Like SurveyMonkey, Typeform offers a number of free templates for different kinds of surveys. Their main selling point is that these templates are aesthetically pleasing. So, if you’re looking to make your survey pretty and colorful, Typeform takes the lead against the other two.
Survey platforms are invaluable for gathering data for your organization, but they’re even better if they give you that data while fitting into your existing workflows and toolkits with ease. A survey platform with a robust profile of integration options can make it easy to download, analyze, and report your data as well as make your data shareable throughout the organization. Let’s look at the integrations Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Typeform offer.
Google Forms integrations
As a product in Google’s G Suite, Google Forms already integrates seamlessly with other Google products like Google Sheets and Google Contacts. It also has a wide range of other integration options, including:
SurveyMonkey, like Google Forms, has an extensive list of tools and platforms it easily integrates with. Some of the most popular selections include:
- Office 365
- Affinity Canvas
- Cisco Webex
- Freshdesk products
Typeform has implemented a wide range of integrations to make your life easier, from email marketing platforms to productivity tools. Here are a few of the top platforms Typeform can communicate with:
- Google Analytics
- Zendesk Sell
None of these lists is all-encompassing, so there may be other tools you use that you can integrate with these survey platforms as well.
Analytics and reporting
Perhaps just as important as creating a good survey is being able to understand and visualize your results. However, manually analyzing survey data can take time and you run the risk of missing key results.
Depending on your goals for your survey or your analytical capabilities, you may need to pay extra for more advanced analytical tools. Here is the rundown on the data analysis features for each platform.
In Google Forms you can view all of your responses within the form itself with some very simple (non-customizable) visuals like bar graphs and pie charts depending on how you asked the question. Other than that, you’ll need to export your data for further analysis. You can easily export your data onto Google Sheets, but you’ll still have to manually create pivot tables, formulas, graphs or whatever else you need to analyze your results. You can also open your google sheets file in Google Data Studio which can make it easier to create data visualizations.
SurveyMonkey’s free plan doesn’t let you create custom charts or reports. The free version doesn’t even let you export your results as a CSV, XLS or even PDF file, so you won’t be able to do any advanced data analysis using these external tools. This is a major loss for those looking for meaningful insights in their survey data.
However, their Advantage Annual and Premier Annual plans give you access to more capabilities. This includes basic analysis tools like customizable charts, filters and comparing rules. These plans also allow you to do very basic text analysis like creating word clouds and manually tagging text responses so you can categorize them later– but this takes time. If you’re interested in quickly analyzing your qualitative data without the hassle, there are other platforms that can do this for you automatically.
Typeform doesn’t offer much in the way of analytics within the actual platform. Once your responses are collected you can see a summary of your responses with simple, automatically created graphs like Google Forms. You can also see some basic stats like completion rate and completion time.
However, the purpose of surveys is to understand the data from your questions not from the survey itself. To do that, you will need to export your data into a data analysis tool (which is possible with the free version) or use integrations in order to do more advanced analytics.
Our Consensus – The right survey platform for your goals
If budget is your main concern and you’re wanting to create a very simple survey, Google Forms is the best option. However, you will need to be willing to do the work to create good survey questions and analyze your own data.
If you’re willing to pay for a survey platform, Survey Monkey provides more advanced tools for survey design and analysis. Just make sure you know what you’re really getting when choosing a paid plan, and keep in mind what features are actually important for your survey goals.
If you want to build aesthetically pleasing surveys and want more flexibility in your design, Typeform is the way to go.
However, as mentioned, each of these platforms are fine for creating simple surveys with basic tools. But if you’re using surveys for market research and want to use your results to drive real world decisions– these low-budget options will cost you in the long run.
The work you’ll have to do on the back-end from designing the survey to interpreting your results will take a lot of time. Not to mention you may not have the tools you need to reveal deeper insights from your survey data.
That’s why at GroupSolver® we make sure you don’t have to worry about any of this– our powerful technology will automatically transform your survey data into visual (and meaningful) insights so you don’t miss a beat.
Make survey research easy with GroupSolver®’s full service and flexible survey platform
At GroupSolver® we’re all about transparency. No complicated add-ons or gimmicks. We make sure to get you all the tools and assistance you need to create surveys and answer even your most complex research questions.
You get access to all of our platform tools no matter what plan you have, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. If you want to leave the survey building and analysis to the experts, we offer a full-service plan so you don’t have to lift a finger. If you just want access to our next-gen platform and AI tools to build your own survey, you can do that too.
We’re flexible, so you tell us what services you need and we’ll make it work.