Google Docs Forms versus Survey Monkey

I received this question by email this morning:

Just wondering…I’ve used Survey Monkey for a long time. It gives you lots of information…what are the advantages of the Google one that we do in Excel? I know about the instant graphing, but is there something else? Thanks!

And since I took the time to send a response, I thought I’d share it here, too:

This is a good question – that I’ve been meaning to answer in writing for a while. Here are a few thoughts off of the top of my head:

Advantages of Google Docs forms over Survey Monkey:

  • No limits (like a free surveymonkey account)
  • No costs (like a $200/year surveymonkey account)
  • No need to export data
  • it’s already in your spreadsheet, where you can graph or manipulate it in many ways.

Disadvantages of Google Docs forms compared to Survey Monkey

  • Duplicating a spreadsheet doesn’t duplicate the form! This is a big deal if, like me, you create many evaluations from a single template. It was a PAIN the one time I tried to do several versions of a form in Google Docs.
  • No pre-set visualization like the simple bar graphs in Survey Monkey – you have to set it all up yourself.
  • You can’t customize the template (colors and logo etc) the way you can in Survey Monkey.

Collaborators are also handled differently. It’s very easy to “publish” the results using either system, but Google Docs allows you to have true collaborators who can also manipulate your data. On the other hand, Survey Monkey makes it easier to determine how much of the results you share and what people can do with them.

At this point I’m glad I still have SurveyMonkey for evaluations, but we’ll see what I decide next time my renewal comes up, especially if Google gets the duplication issue squared away.

If you are using both and know of other differences I’ve overlooked, please let us know in the comments.