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The best free market-research tools

Doing market research isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There are all kinds of difficulties that you must conquer. However, there are online resources and tools that businesses of all sizes can use to help them overcome research problems and gain a competitive advantage.

With that said, many of these market-research solutions are top-tier and are correspondingly priced as such. In fact, the high price of some market-research tools is itself an obstacle that might stand in the way of some getting the marketing intelligence you need.

It’s a good thing, then, that there are free market-research tools available from which even those with no budget can benefit. Now, you might have to use more than one of the five tools we’re going to discuss to get all the data you’re looking for, but at least you won’t have to pay a penny.

Before we jump right into the tools, though, let’s briefly discuss what market research is and why it’s essential.

Team Of Young Professionals
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Why is market research important?

Allow us to define market research for you. It’s essentially the process of acquiring information on your target audience (everyone you’re selling to) and then analyzing it. Once you do so, you can optimize your overall business strategy.

Just a few examples of the kind of data you might gather and sift through include the following:

  • Demographic data
  • Customer pain points
  • Goals customers want to achieve
  • Products and services they currently use
  • Strengths and weaknesses of products and services they use
  • Average budget or income

Note that this small list is not comprehensive by any means, but hopefully you get the idea. Now, it’s been said that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. Market research is vital because it allows you to understand those to whom you’re selling on a much deeper level. Gaining that knowledge and understanding can allow you to develop genuine relationships with your customers built upon trust.

Through proper market research, you can discover how those most likely to buy from you communicate and what their precise needs are, allowing you to tailor your offerings in a more targeted and effective manner. You’ll also stand out from the competition.

Now, let’s start talking about some of the free market-research tools that are available!

Google Books NGram Viewer

The Google Books NGram Viewer is a fantastic tool. It allows you to study in-depth the yearly count of letter combinations, words, and phrases buried in over five million books, which Google digitized. In fact, there’s business information to be found that dates as far back as 1500 CE. Thus, it’s a tool that can be used by academics such as historians and sociologists as well as marketers and other research experts.

Statcounter Global Stats

Statcounter provides online visitor statistic information entirely for free. That information includes technical data like screen resolutions, operating system usage, and what browser a user is using. Moreover, you can find this data across devices as well as geographic areas. The data is based on more than three million websites that are part of the StatCounter network.

Consumer Barometer

Another free tool from Google, the Consumer Barometer, allows you to view consumer insights. The information is acquired from two primary sources. These are the Connected Consumer Study, which aims to count the entire adult population online, and the core Consumer Barometer questionnaire. The latter focuses on the aforementioned online adult population. With this tool, you can find predefined consumer behavior charts and a tool to build your own graphs and charts based on multidevice behavior and consumer shopping.

LinkedIn Ads

Next on our list is LinkedIn Ads. Its platform allows researchers and marketers alike to access the company’s user data totally for free. One of the great things about LinkedIn Ads is that you can find in-depth information that focuses on businesses and the professionals who work in them. For instance, you can find information on business categories, industries, business sizes, job categories, titles, and geographic location.

While you have to have a LinkedIn account to use LinkedIn Ads, you don’t actually have to publish an ad campaign. That means you have access to all the ads data, but you won’t have to run and pay for a campaign to get it.

Free Patents Online (FPO)

The last tool on our list is Free Patents Online, which is a database that allows you to search patent maps, blog articles, news sites, data visualizations, and much more through its advanced search capabilities. Once you find what you’re looking for, you can then download patent diagrams and applications in PDF format.

Using free market-research tools

Today, there is a slew of online market-research tools that you can explore. You can find tools and resources for which you must pay (and that provide wide-ranging comprehensive solutions) as well as free tools. There are also hybrid tools that give you free access to some features and then premium access to other features through another paid option.

We couldn’t list every free market-research tool out there in this article. However, the five listed above are great tools that publish insight and intelligence into a wide range of demographics and data types. These should get you started when it comes to gaining the customer intelligence you need to increase your chances of long-term business success.

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Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
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