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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is rolling out a new product, “Google Consumer Surveys,” that lets publishers monetize content through “microsurveys” created by companies that want to carry out inexpensive market research. Publisher partners at launch include Pandora (NYSE: P), AdWeek, the New York Daily News, the Lima News and the Texas Tribune.
For publishers, the microsurveys are “basically a substitute for a paywall,” said product manager Paul McDonald. When a user clicks on an article that would normally be behind a paywall, he or she can answer a question instead of paying for a digital subscription.
Google already has a paid content product, Google One Pass, that lets publishers sell digital subscriptions, but Google Consumer Surveys is different because it doesn’t require customers to purchase subscriptions or log in.
Google pays publishers $0.05 for each survey response, with publishers seeing average revenues of $15 per thousand page views, McDonald said.
So far Google has around 20 publishing partners and is looking for more. When I first tested the product on the LimaOhio.com website, I couldn’t get the surveys to appear. McDonald asked me if I had my AdBlock app on. I did, and when I turned it off, the surveys popped up. “It’s a loose paywall,” McDonald admitted, and “a very small percentage of users use AdBlock.”
Google can pay publishers because advertisers and small businesses are paying to run the questions. These companies “have market research needs that are not met by existing solutions,” in part because traditional market research is so expensive, McDonald said. “This is market research that is self-serve but has the same qualities of a high-end platform.”
The customers create surveys and select the audience who will see the questions. Questions seen by a broad audience representing the general U.S. population are $0.10 per response (with a minimum total cost of $100). If companies want to drill down by demographic or select a custom audience with a screening question, the cost is $0.50 per response.
Once a survey launches, customers have access to a custom reporting dashboard that lets them see how different demographics answered their question.
The tool can be used by anyone (including a reporter in search of data). Companies like Lucky Brand Jeans, King Arthur Flour and Timbuk2 are using it now.