What are Omnibus Surveys?
Published on
27 September 2021
Harrigan Davenport image
Harrigan Davenport
Marketing Manager

Omnibus surveys are an efficient and cost-effective method of market research, where multiple subscribers come together to perform a survey where each contributes their own questions.


An omnibus survey involves collaboration between multiple entities (subscribers) who are looking to perform survey-based research. Typically, each subscriber receives answers to the questions that they contributed to the survey, while also receiving general survey results that all collaborators can access.

Omnibus surveys vs traditional surveys

Typically, omnibus surveys run periodically, performed on a monthly or quarterly basis. This makes them an easy way to investigate consumer trends via the changes in results over time.

What are the benefits of omnibus Surveys?

1️⃣ Omnibus surveys are cost-effective

When performing an omnibus survey, the costs are pooled amongst all survey subscribers. This makes an omnibus survey significantly more cost-effective than traditional research methods.

Sharing costs among all subscribers makes it possible to survey considerably larger sample sizes than what would be feasible for traditional research, due to the individual cost being prohibitively high. The larger sample sizes lead to robust results to ensure maximum confidence in your survey research.

2️⃣ Omnibus surveys often contain shared questions

It is commonplace for omnibus surveys to contain a set of standard questions available to all survey subscribers. These questions are designed to give a general update on the overall market in a way that will benefit each individual subscriber.

Example topics covered in these shared questions include current market sentiment regarding overall spending, as well as topical subjects such as the impact of COVID-19, or preferences towards sustainable products.

3️⃣ Omnibus surveys are easy

Omnibus surveys offer a streamlined approach to survey-based research, perfect for those trying it out for the first time.

Through omnibus surveys you do not have to worry about experimental design, sourcing respondents, and ensuring high-quality data as these are already taken care of for you. Omnibus providers also provide report style outputs translating your results into actionable insights.

With traditional survey-based research, it can be challenging to collect trending data. This is due to both the financial and time cost of consistently performing surveys can be prohibitively high for some. For comparison, omnibus surveys are typically more affordable and require minimal set-up time.

Typically, omnibus surveys are performed quarterly or monthly. This gives the unique opportunity to investigate how survey results change over time. Hence, omnibus survey subscribers uncover long term market trends, discover the effect of seasonality and gain a year-on-year understanding of preferences.

Consumer mood during COVID-19

What types of questions should I include in an Omnibus survey?

A crucial factor to consider when adding questions to an omnibus survey is the sample demographic.

Typically, omnibus surveys utilise a general population sample. This is by design, as a more specific sample may be less useful to some subscribers. Keeping a general population sample means that all subscribers will be able to find value in the experiment.

You should consider that the audience is representative of the general population when writing your questions. This means that you should avoid assuming that the survey respondents have knowledge that general population members would not.

Great options of questions to include in an omnibus experiment include:

  • Investigating public perceptions of your product.
  • Learning about current consumer moods and opinions.
  • Discovering the habits of general consumers.

Check out the previous omnibus survey, which investigated trends regarding consumer moods, preferences regarding sustainable products, as well as discussed growing economic fears.

August 2021 Omnibus Results: Sustainability, consumer moods, economic concerns

Download a full PDF copy of our August 2021 omnibus survey for free.


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