Polls. They’re distracting. They’re inconvenient. They’re annoying.

Often times this is the mentality that people have when they see or hear about online polls. Today I’m going to convince you that this is the wrong mindset to have.

Today we’ll learn how polls can help us better understand our user’s behavior and how they can help us better frame the content on our websites and landing pages just by hearing and utilizing the voice of the user.

Understanding Your User’s Behavior

Polls are critical in understanding user’s behavior – they allow us to learn more about what drives or motivates users but also discover potential barriers that exist within a site. How can we learn these things about our users? We have to be mindful of the strategy that goes into these polls. The types of questions we ask and the timing of these questions will impact the results we get in return.

Drivers and Motivators

Determining what is driving or motivating our users will require polls at certain stages of the journey. We want to understand what brought them to our site but also what might have motivated them to sign up, subscribe, or join our service. This will give us more information about our users but will also help us understand their journey and if expectations are being met. Presenting users with a poll upon arrival such as, “What brought you to visit our site today?” will help us understand what’s driving customers to visit our site. Find themes and determine if there are misaligned expectations, potential new markets to target, better or more ways to target our current market to bring in even more users, and more. There are a number of things we can learn about our users if we present the right questions.

Our users have signed up, subscribed or joined our service and we want to understand what motivated them to do so in order to better understand their journey, how we can make it simpler, and draw in more customers. Creating poll questions post conversion such as the following will give us more information about what motivated these users to choose our service:

  • What persuaded you to sign up today?
  • Which other options did you consider before choosing (brand name)?
  • What was the biggest challenge or frustration in finding the right (service) online?
  • Ecommerce: Was there anything about this checkout process that we should improve?
  • Ecommerce: What was your biggest concern or something holding you back from purchasing from us today?

As you can see, polls can really provide valuable information surrounding what gets users through the funnel and what they experience in their journey as long as we ask the right questions.

Not only can we better understand the behavior of users who are driven and motivated to choose our service, but we can also learn more about what acts as a barrier for our users – what is keeping them from signing up with our service or purchasing our product?


Are you noticing red flags within analytics – are there specific pages with really high exit rates? Do you notice that users get to a certain stage in your funnel and then leave but you can’t determine why this behavior is happening? Polls can be our best friend in these situations. We know where we need to place our poll – on these exit pages. We can choose to show the poll after a certain time period or upon exit. Now we just need to determine the right questions to ask. Below are some example questions to consider:

  • What information were you unable to find today?
  • What has been your biggest challenge or frustration in researching our service today?
  • What’s preventing you from signing up today?

Even more importantly, as an ecommerce client you notice many users are getting to your cart page and exiting rather than purchasing. They’re so close – they know what they want to buy, it’s in their cart, they just don’t complete the purchase. Here’s your chance to utilize polls to discover the problem and find the solution. After a certain amount of time (utilize analytics to determine when most people exit), present a poll on the cart itself to ask users why it is they aren’t moving forward:

  • What’s stopping you from making a purchase today?
  • What information do you need in order to complete your purchase?
  • What is your biggest concern about completing your purchase?

The answers may provide you with enough information to better structure your checkout process, fix potential bugs that exist on the site, and optimize in order to get more people through the checkout process easier. Hearing problems from the users themselves helps you focus on finding solutions.

The Voice of The User

Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to discuss how we can use polls to hear and understand the voice of the users, using their voice to frame the content on our website and landing pages.

Often times, it’s hard not to have a final page filled with industry-specific jargon because the people writing the copy are in this business all day, every day. We can assume they know the business back and forth so they write utilizing the language they know. However, this language may not resonate with the users. Our users may talk about our product or service differently so it’s extremely important to understand how they talk about it in order to write copy that speaks to them.

There are few ways for us to know how our users, our customers talk about our product or service but polls are one of these ways! With most questions, we’ll see how users talk about our company, our brand, our service and we’ll be able to use the voice of the user to write our copy and frame our sites and landing pages in a way that best speaks to them.

Final Thoughts

Have I convinced you to shy away from this negative mindset when you see or hear about online polls? Maybe I’ve even convinced you to run some of your own. My hope is that I’ve prepared you for the next time you need to convince a client or colleague that polls are critical if you want to better understand your user’s behavior on your site or better frame your content so that it speaks directly to your users. If you’ve used polls in the past or choose to utilize polls in the future, I’d love to hear about your findings! Reach me on Twitter @samantha__kerr