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16 Market Research Tools To Uncover Actionable Insights

16 Market Research Tools To Uncover Actionable Insights

In a world of increasing competition, understanding your target market is vital.

Conducting thorough research of past, current, and prospective customers helps you uncover insights to improve your product or create more effective marketing messages.

Those insights don’t have to be hard-won, either. Thanks to new tools and data sources, businesses no longer have to rely on traditional methods like surveys and focus groups.

Ready to learn what your audience really wants? These are the 15 best market research tools to use.

Benefits of Leveraging Marketing Research

There’s a reason the global revenue of the market research industry has more than doubled since 2008 and is now valued in excess of $76.4 billion. It comes with a heap of benefits. Any business wanting to improve its product or launch a new marketing campaign will be at a significant disadvantage without market research.

If you’re asking yourself “what is market research?,” look no further. Market research keeps your target audience at the center of every decision. By understanding their needs and desires, you can tailor everything from your product to your marketing to your customer. In doing so, you’ll reduce the number of bad customer experiences—one or two of which are enough to make 64% of customers switch to a competitor.

Market research tools can also help you discover new business opportunities and threats. New markets become obvious when speaking to customers and understanding their behavior. The same applies with competitors and external threats that could threaten your business if you don’t act. It can also be used to help create customer personas, which only add to the effectiveness of your marketing. Customer personas are fictional takes on your ideal consumer created by your team to describe the characteristics and buying motives of specific customer categories.

Ultimately, using market research will give you a huge competitive advantage. That’s because of the benefits above and because 6 out of 10 marketers are using consumer research to drive decisions. Do you really want to be on the outside looking in?

As a start, you can use these tools to spy on the competition and see where your brand stands against them. There are also tools to help you collect that all-important market research data.

How to Use Marketing Research Data in Your Marketing

You can leverage market research data in several ways, but using it to inform and optimize your marketing strategy, from campaign creation to execution, is one of the most powerful.

For instance, market research can ensure your new product launch goes off without a hitch. Almost half of all product launches are delayed, and 20% fail to meet targets. By understanding exactly what customers want, a successful product launch simply becomes a case of delivering it.

Market research can also help you focus your marketing efforts on areas where you have a competitive advantage. By understanding what customers are really searching for, you could identify untapped markets with very little competition in terms of paid ads or SEO. Focusing your efforts here, rather than on saturated verticals, will send your ROI soaring.

Finally, you can use market research data to optimize your marketing efforts after launch. Analyzing social media and other types of user engagement data can highlight how effective each message is so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Combine this with techniques to understand your customers and you fully understand what your content needs to accomplish to reach them.

5 Best Free Marketing Research Tools

You don’t have to spend a dime to get the benefits of marketing research. There are plenty of free market research tools out there. I’ve highlighted five of my favorites below.

1. Google Trends

Google Trends shows you what people are searching for on Google. It was introduced in 2006 and tracks the popularity of topics over time by location. You can see exactly how popular searches are for Taylor Swift in the U.S. this year. Or how searches for Brexit have declined in the U.K. since 2019.

At the time of writing, Google processes 99,000 searches every second. That’s over 85 billion searches every day, making it the largest and most valuable search data source in existence. Google Trends gives you access to that data in a categorized and aggregated way.

Enter a trend and Google will show you how trendy that term is with a line graph and give you a score out of 100. You can also compare different terms.


  • easy to use
  • visually appealing
  • huge amount of data


  • doesn’t show the exact search volume
  • related topics aren’t always relevant

2. Facebook Page Insights

Facebook Page Insights is a fantastic and free market research option if you use Facebook to market your business. If you don’t use Facebook for marketing yet, you probably should. With 2.9 billion monthly active users, it’s one of the best social media platforms for marketing.

The tool provides insights into your audience, post performance, and the health of your pages. You can use the tool to see who likes your page and why, which posts get the most engagement, and learn how to increase the reach of your content.

If you’re struggling to get started, Facebook offers two courses: one on how to generate insights and make data-driven recommendations and one on how to make the most of marketing insights.


  • unparalleled insight into your Facebook audience
  • easy to use
  • courses available


  • limited to your Facebook pages
  • not as comprehensive as it once was

3. Think With Google

Think With Google is one of the search giant’s lesser-known tools, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. It’s a free-to-use resource library of facts and figures based on Google’s own data and other research that can supercharge your marketing efforts.

If you want a broad understanding of what’s going on in the world, Think With Google is a great starting point. Search the platform, and you can uncover marketing trends, understand the latest consumer behavior and find the insights you need to drive your marketing strategy.

The site is split into four areas (Consumer Insights, Marketing Strategies, Future of Marketing, and Tools) which you can use to find the insights you’re looking for.



11 Best Paid Marketing Research Tools

Free market research tools are a great way to dip your toes into the industry. However, there will always be limitations when you don’t pay for the data. If you’re serious about market research, you’re going to want to pay for premium access. These are the best paid market research tools to use.

1. QuestionPro

So far, we’ve only discussed secondary data sources. A primary data source would involve gathering results directly from people through surveys.

QuestionPro is a great option, with over a billion questions answered, offering a range of free plans and professional research licenses.

These plans are great for making, distributing, and analyzing surveys. Importantly, all users can get 24/7 LiveChat support, which is a huge asset. Surveys can be sent through a variety of means including email, links, social media, embedded text, etc. Analysis can be done in-app or through an export.



  • mastering the software takes time
  • user interface prioritizes function over aesthetics


The Basic plan is free, while the Advanced plan costs $99 per month.

2. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is one of the best and most popular tools to use, with over 20 million questions answered using the platform each day.

The company’s enterprise-grade platform makes it easy to create, send out, and analyze surveys. Surveys can be sent via a link, email, social media, or embedded into a web page. You can browse through individual responses or use the tool’s custom reports and charts to visualize data.


  • easy to use
  • good template selection
  • great free plan



Basic plan is free. Standard plan costs $99 per month.

3. Statista

Statista is a hub of visual data, market research reports, and statistics. It collates data from several reputable sources, turning most of them into graphs and charts that are easy to digest. Because Statista’s data is continually updated, you can keep coming back to the same chart year after year to see how trends are changing.

The site has data on almost any topic you can imagine, making it a great way to discover consumer behavior and market trends, no matter your business.

Getting started with Statista is as easy as searching for a particular topic. The site’s search functionality is excellent and will return hundreds of reports and dashboards that you can use to influence or support your marketing efforts.


  • one of the best statistical resources online
  • great UX
  • easy to search for data


  • free plan is limited
  • visuals aren’t the best


Basic account is free. Premium account costs $59 per month.

Conclusion: Market Research Tools

Market research tools are an invaluable way to find out exactly what your target audience is thinking. Whether you use free market research tools or paid market research tools, you can uncover plenty of insights that can have a transformative effect on your business.

Stop making uninformed decisions and start taking time to understand your customers and use that information to inform your marketing strategy.

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