28 Apr 2023

How to use machine learning in survey research

Photo of Josefine Vinberg, COO at Inex One
Josefine VinbergCOO at Inex One
Tools and best practices Insights Surveys

Market research has always been an essential component of business strategy, providing insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. But in recent years, advances in technology have transformed the market research industry, enabling businesses to gather and analyze data at an unprecedented scale. One of the most exciting developments in this space is the use of machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions based on that data.

What is Machine Learning?

Before we dive into how machine learning is being used in market research, let's take a moment to define what machine learning actually is. At its core, machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn from data and make predictions or decisions based on that data. In other words, it's a way of teaching computers to think and make decisions like humans do.

There are three main types of machine learning: supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. In supervised learning, a machine learning algorithm is trained on a labeled dataset, which means the data is already classified or categorized. The algorithm learns to recognize patterns in the data and can then use that knowledge to make predictions or decisions on new, unlabeled data. Unsupervised learning, on the other hand, involves training a machine learning algorithm on an unlabeled dataset. The algorithm looks for patterns in the data and clusters similar data points together, without any preconceived notions about what the data represents. Finally, reinforcement learning involves training a machine learning algorithm to make decisions in a specific environment, based on a system of rewards and punishments.

A transformation of how surveys are run and analyzed

Now that we have a basic understanding of what machine learning is, let's explore how it's being used for survey data analysis. 

Analyzing survey data can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. Machine learning algorithms can be trained on survey data to automatically identify patterns and trends in the data, allowing businesses to quickly and easily extract insights that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. With traditional survey analysis methods, you might spend hours manually combing through the data, looking for patterns or correlations. But with machine learning, you can train an algorithm to automatically identify the most common themes and issues in the data, allowing you to quickly identify the areas of your product that need improvement.

Another area where machine learning is being used is survey design. Machine learning can help businesses design better surveys by analyzing data from previous surveys to identify the questions that are most effective in eliciting the desired responses. This can lead to more accurate and useful data.

Machine learning can also be used for sentiment analysis, analyzing open-ended survey responses to determine the sentiment behind the message. This can help businesses to automatically classify text data as positive, negative, or neutral, and to understand how respondents feel about a particular topic.

New opportunities

In conclusion, the role of machine learning in market research and surveys is rapidly expanding, offering new opportunities to gather and analyze data more efficiently and accurately than ever before. With the ability to process vast amounts of data, detect patterns and trends, and identify sentiment in text data, machine learning is changing the way businesses make decisions and stay competitive in their industries. As technology continues to evolve, it's likely that we'll see even more innovative applications of machine learning in market research in the years to come. 

If you're interested in staying ahead of the curve, it's worth exploring how you can leverage surveys in your own business to gain insights and drive growth. Inex One partners with some of the market’s top B2B and B2C survey vendors. To get started, sign up here, or click here to discuss your research needs with our team.