Using Custom Variables to Identify Source

We came across an interesting problem the other day (actually it was a clients problem) — One of our clients was running a website survey across 40 different websites. The survey was essentially the same, except that it made sense to track where the respondents were coming from — i.e. which of the 40 websites on an aggregate level.
The REALLY HARD way to solve this problem:
Create a survey, copy is 40 times and send 40 different URLs (links) on each of the 40 websites! The problem here is that data has to be collated together and aggregated manually. If you need to do an export of the data-set, you need to login to each survey and export the data for each survey. At least 2 hours of work!
The REALLY EASY way to solve this problem:
Use the “Custom Variable” option within QuestionPro. With QuestionPro every survey has a unique URL. Its something like: (xxx is the unique identifier for your survey)
http://www.questionpro.com/akira/TakeSurvey?id=xxx
Now, you can also add custom parameters to the URL that also get captured when someone takes the survey by clicking on the link. For example:
http://www.questionpro.com/akira/TakeSurvey?id=xxx&custom1=flowers.com
http://www.questionpro.com/akira/TakeSurvey?id=xxx&custom1=roses.com
Now both the links lead to the same survey, but in one case, the value “flowers.com” and the other case “roses.com” will be captured along with the data.
The good news is that QuestionPro provides for easy segmentation based on Custom Variables. Simply go to the “Grouping/Segmentation” section and create data sets for the segment you want to analyze. Or better yet, you can use the new Banner/Pivot tables to automatically analyze the data based on every possible distinct value for the Custom Variable using Banner/Pivot Tables.
Help on Automatic Banner/Pivot Tables:
http://www.questionpro.com/help/301-inline.html
We realize that there are many applications to surveys and we can do a better job in communicating different tools and solutions that exist to make your life easier. The big issue we have (internally) is finding an efficient way to communicate this information to our customers. Surveys are a vast domain — they are used in Website, Customer Satisfaction, Employee evaluations — the list goes on. Some of this information may be totally useless for some, while for others, it might be the best thing since sliced bread. In this case, the customer contacted technical support for a different reason, and our support staff found out what they were doing and advised them about the easier alternative.
There are two things we are planning on doing to communicate our toolset and possibilities more effeciently:
1) Webinars : http://www.questionpro.com/webinar
Our monthly webinars can provide you with a forum to learn more about the different tools available at your disposal. You probably are already paying for it — you might as well learn what you are paying for (and be good at it.)
2) “Practical Tips – Get it Done” section – We will be launching a section on our site that documents and explains how to “solve issues.” — This will be different than our extensive knowledgebase — it will be focused around “How to solve a problem” — from a global perspective as opposed to the knowledgebase that is focused on fine grained details. For example this particular problem (of finding which domain users are coming from) is a good candidate for inclusion.
If you have comments and suggestions on how we can communicate better, we are more than happy to hear from you. Please respond to the blog post with your comments.
-Vivek

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