Updated · May 21, 2022
Best for: Complex survey creation and large-scale, long-term research.
What Is Qualtrics?
Qualtrics is a powerful platform developed to close customer, product, brand, and employee experience gaps. It’s great for understanding customers, developing marketable commodities, measuring brand sentiment, and increasing employee satisfaction.
The company is almost 20 years old. The experience management platform, however, is turning 4 this year.
Since it was launched in 2017, it has wowed large organizations in the business world and academia with its complex survey creation functionalities, myriad distribution options, and in-depth analytics capabilities. That’s why SAP acquired it for $8 billion in 2019.
Qualtrics is the platform of choice of over 11,000 of the world’s top brands. We decided to see what the hype is all about and make a Qualtrics review.
Iconic brands and respected academic institutions wouldn’t have gravitated toward Qualtrics if it didn't have a remarkable feature set. The best part is that the team behind the tool is constantly updating and bringing out newer and cooler options.
Here’s what you get:
Here's what the platform has in store for you:
Unlimited Active Surveys
As a paid Qualtrics subscriber, you can create and distribute an unlimited number of surveys all at once. You can close any of them as you wish or keep them open for survey takers to participate.
Multiple Question Types
With this software, you can ask questions in 22 ways. The survey types the platform supports are divided into 4 categories: static, standard, specialty, and advanced.
Qualtrics Surveys and CoreXM Standard users have access to the first 2. CoreXM Advanced can use the first 3, and those with CoreXM Professional have no restriction.
Unlimited Questions per Survey
If you subscribe to a premium plan, this solution won’t impose any limit to the number of questions you can pack in a single survey.
1000+ Responses per User
All paying account holders can record more than 1,000 responses from every user for each Qualtrics online survey. Free plan users have to make do with 100 only.
But there's more:
With a paid plan, you can customize your Qualtrics questionnaire for every survey taker based on previous metadata.
With this interactive survey tool, your respondents can jump to logical future points in the questionnaire based on the answer they give and skip irrelevant items in between.
To fine-tune the Qualtrics survey design for every taker, you can enable this feature to make certain question and answer choices appear conditionally and not show up for unintended respondents.
You can display question choices randomly. Likewise, you can lock questions in a specific order and hide particular ones.
If you go with the CoreXM Advanced or CoreXM Professional plan, you can use different variables to show different questionnaires. This is especially useful when gathering feedback from dissimilar segments of respondents.
Qualtrics has a library of more than 50 templates available to all users. Developed by subject-matter experts, each option has a starting point and tried-and-true content. You can choose to start with a blank canvas, but a pre-made will save time.
This digital reviewer can assess the data quality of survey elements, propose improvements, and predict collected data quality.
This web survey tool can:
- offer sound methodology refinements
- detect errors and fraudulent responses
- ensure compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- flag the sensitive information you collect
- evaluate the overall quality of feedback before data analysis
So, how do you know that your survey is ready to go? Look for iQ Score on the screen. It reflects ExpertReview’s findings, so aim for ratings like Great.
Exclusive to higher-tier Qualtrics plans, XM Solutions are designed to walk you through the survey creation, distribution, and reporting process. These premium resources are essential if you wish to build a product that meets industry standards.
Custom XM Solutions
Another feature unique to CoreXM Advanced or CoreXM Professional, it gives you the option to encode your own best practices into custom XM solutions. This way, you can guide your peers toward proper research methodology.
Customization and Branding
Not only you get a bunch of features with Qualtrics, but you also get a ton of customization options:
As a piece of polyglot online survey software, Qualtrics can translate your questions into more than 75 languages. This way, you can encourage respondents of different nationalities and ethnicities to take your surveys, helping them read and respond to your questions more comfortably.
Don’t worry about the multilingual results. Qualtrics makes sure that the responses return to the same dataset.
Launch surveys in style with Qualtrics’ static and dynamic themes.
Look and Feel Options
Whatever theme you use, almost everything is customizable to improve the appearance of your survey and the experience it delivers.
You can experiment with different typographic, formatting, and styling options. You can play with the layout, use primary and secondary colors, insert a logo, modify the text on the Next and Back buttons, еtc.
Thanks to Qualtrics’ built-in design tool, you can infuse your brand elements into your surveys. You can also request and buy a custom design from the company’s in-house design team.
You can save questions for later use. You can also store surveys and blocks in your own library and turn them into templates for your future projects. Qualtrics reviews show that this is a feature many users appreciate.
As a CoreXM Advanced or CoreXM Professional subscriber, you can seamlessly collaborate with your colleagues with the User and Group Address Book. It lists all of the people you can work with. You can look them up by name or email address.
Any paid subscription gives you the option to share your surveys with your peers and work on the same project with you. As an administrator, you have control over the level of access others have.
Project Approval Workflow
You can streamline your project approval workflow. If you have CoreXM Advanced or CoreXM Professional, you can designate certain users as survey approvers. They will have the power to activate their own surveys and greenlight those made by others.
With Approve Surveys permissions, you can also let users approve surveys. That’s exactly what we did as part of the testing for our Qualtrics review. Users then had to get approval from an authorized party to activate their surveys.
Likewise, you can declare some users as independent and grant them the ability to launch their own surveys.
If you have CoreXM Standard, you can build mailing lists for distributing survey invitations. You can create them manually or by importing names, phone numbers, and email addresses of contacts from a file or a survey.
The Qualtrics software supports basic distribution methods. You can invite respondents to take a survey via email or short message service (SMS). You can also include an authenticator and use a third-party mailer with personalized links.
With a premium subscription, you can invite respondents to take a Qualtrics online survey by clicking an anonymous link. You can paste it on any mode of communication you want to use.
It doesn’t ask for a name or email address. Survey takers can’t answer your questions completely incognito since Qualtrics still gets the IP addresses and the corresponding location data of users.
Using the Qualtrics Mailer, you can send customized email survey invitations (with an opt-out link) to large groups of respondents. You can also track the progress of your communications and prevent survey abuse.
If you upgrade to a higher-tier plan, you can use XM Directory, the software’s native contact management platform. It’s a revamped version of the old Target Audience feature.
With XM Directory, you can have a centralized Qualtrics database for all of your organization’s respondents. Using this platform, you can easily:
- improve accessibility
- keep the information of your contacts updated and accurate
- eliminate duplicates
- modulate the communications respondents receive from your organization
- directly send invitations to mailing lists
With this online survey application, you can turn social media users into respondents. So far, you can post a survey on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.
Quick Response (QR) Code
As a premium Qualtrics user, you can generate a QR code for each questionnaire, which contains your anonymous link.
With CoreXM Advanced or CoreXM Professional, you can use text messaging to launch interactive questions or distribute surveys. At the moment, Qualtrics’ so-called interactive two-way surveys are available in 27 countries only.
Purchased Qualtrics SMS credits aren’t always spent equally. The recipients’ countries of residence, types of characters, and other factors can influence your SMS credit consumption.
CoreXM Professional subscribers have the privilege to host your surveys, dashboards, and user accounts on a vanity URL. You can highlight your organization’s brand in all of the professional surveys you launch. You need to own a subdomain to have a custom web address, though.
You can administer surveys with no internet connection. Stored on the smartphone or tablet, the responses will then be uploaded to Qualtrics once there’s a good Wi-Fi signal.
You can change the weights of variable fields so that the results appropriately reflect the demographics of your respondents.
Adjust your sample population in order to become a better representation of your target one. Specify the target percentage for each group of respondents, or apply specific weights to each response group.
With this robust text analysis tool, you can tag responses with topics in order to identify the common themes in feedback you want in Qualtrics reports.
Moreover, Text iQ has spell-checking and lemmatization capabilities. It also analyzes sentiment in responses, assigning Positive, Negative, Neutral, or Mixed to pieces of feedback written in the following languages:
- Simplified Chinese
The full range of Text iQ features is accessible to Qualtrics subscribers only.
The cross-tabulations of the Qualtrics survey tool come with various functions. You can:
- filter stats
- adjust the primary confidence level
- enable a secondary one
- export data to Excel
With Qualtrics crosstabs, CoreXM Advanced and CoreXM Professional users can find it simple to carry out chi-squared and analysis of variance tests.
You can automatically run statistical analyses and visualize your data in a digestible manner. By crunching your numbers and translating the results into simple language, anyone can put the gleaned insights into action.
Each option comes with a simplified visualization of survey results.
Advanced Qualtrics reports are the kind you present to stakeholders. You can view them online or print them. They come with layout tools that enable you to control the design elements, add striking visuals, and exclude unwanted data.
You can create reports based on a subset of all of the data you collected. You can filter the answers of your chosen groups to avoid exporting unnecessary pieces of feedback.
With the screen out management functionality of the Qualtrics survey platform you can flag and discard low-quality responses.
If you want to analyze your data outside of the platform, you can download some or all responses of the participants.
Qualtrics supports various file formats like CSV, TSV, or Excel. There is no shortage of options on how you want your data to look once exported.
Ease of Use and Interface
Admittedly, the platform has a steep learning curve. But if you have used a web survey tool before, you won’t find it that difficult Then again, it could take a while to explore all of the functions each of its tabs contains.
The good news is that the software has a fun user interface with boldly colored buttons and select text to help you guide you. Their designers have done a great job at grouping the software’s dozens of functionalities and making them easy to find.
On the XM Marketplace, 47 integrations are up for grabs, 38 of which are sold as add-ons, and 9 are included with the Qualtrics software license. The ones you can get as a paid subscriber are:
- Adobe Launch
- CX Workout
- Put It Forward
- SAP Customer Experience
- Tango Card
This selection won’t blow your mind, and the company already accounts for about a third of it. But judging by Qualtrics’ ever-growing Partner Network, which includes brands such as IBM, Accenture, EY, Deloitte Digital, and PwC. We expect to see more third-party integrations in the near future.
Actually, you can connect to over 1,000 business tools with the Zapier integration. It isn’t free, but it can be worth the expense if you already use the apps you link to Qualtrics.
There are no live chat agents or bots.
As a guest or a Qualtrics Surveys user, however, you can submit a support ticket. Make sure to check the 8-category knowledge base first though, it’s loaded with useful info. We used it when researching for this Qualtrics review and found everything we wanted to know.
The XM Community is another way to get your pressing questions addressed. Currently, this space contains at least 7,000 answered posts and less than 50 are unresolved.
If you have an account, you can join and consult the XM Professionals Network. Managed by the XM Institute, a joint initiative by Qualtrics and Temkin Group, this community is the authority on the latest R&D news on XM programs.
The company has a dedicated page for feature rollouts related to all Qualtrics marketing tools. The same thing goes for the statuses of survey applications and other programs. You will know which ones are fully functioning, experiencing decreased performance, not working, or undergoing maintenance by a data center.
Through XM Basecamp, you could binge-watch a multitude of video tutorials to understand the nuts and bolts of the platform.
Likewise, you could attend training classes along with countless like-minded users across the world. They’re digital and on-demand, so you can learn at your own pace.
To validate your competence and get certified as a bona fide XM expert, you can take and choose up to 7 courses. Each costs $500.
If you want to upgrade from Qualtrics Surveys to a paid subscription, you can reach the company’s sales team through email or phone. However, the second option is available in 19 countries and territories only.
Once you become a license holder, irrespective of paid subscription, you can receive technical email and phone support around the clock.
Basically, you can choose from four plans. Qualtrics Surveys is free.
If you wish to upgrade to CoreXM Standard, the company’s basic paid subscription, the cost is $30 a month. Qualtrics, however, is only interested in annual contracts, so you have to fork over $360 upfront.
This policy can be a bummer if you hate long-term commitments and it often pops up as a complaint in Qualtrics reviews. The good news is that you may claim a partial refund if you terminate your account. You can only claim unused prepaid fees, though. Payments for add-ons are generally non-refundable unless you find Qualtrics guilty of breach of its service-level agreement.
The next two paid subscriptions, CoreXM Advanced and CoreXM Professional, are quote-based. This means you have to talk to a sales representative to determine how much you need to pay based on your needs.
If you’re a researcher who needs a huge array of cutting-edge web-based survey tools, you’re in luck. You can try CoreXM Professional’s free trial.
Here’s a comparison of the Qualtrics pricing plans:
Includes 1 active survey, 1 language, 2 survey themes, 8 question types, 15 questions, 100 responses per survey, Basic ExpertReview, and Basic distribution (web and email).
Includes unlimited active surveys, 1 language, 2 survey themes, 8 question types, 30 questions, 1,000+ responses per survey, Basic ExpertReview, Contact distribution, Anonymous links, and QR codes.
Includes unlimited active surveys, 75+ languages, all survey themes, 17 question types, unlimited questions, 1,000+ responses per survey, ExpertReview: methodology, compliance, and basic response quality, XM Directory (basic), anonymous links, QR codes and SMS, and Text iQ (basic).
Includes unlimited active surveys, 75+ languages, all survey themes, 22 question types, unlimited questions, 1,000+ responses per survey, ExpertReview: methodology, compliance, and advanced response quality, XM Directory (advanced), anonymous links, QR codes and SMS, and Text iQ (advanced).
Some of the features are sold as add-ons. You can purchase select functionalities not originally part of a lesser license and won’t have to pay for a more expensive package.
SurveyMonkey vs. Qualtrics
SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics are two of the leading survey applications in the world.
Both platforms provide impressive selections of feedback collection and analytics capabilities, but they tend to target different clients.
SurveyMonkey focuses on personal users and small- to medium-sized businesses, whereas Qualtrics has its sight on bigger organizations in the corporate and academic worlds. Although the former has a dedicated plan for enterprises, it lacks the advanced features to lure in the largest brands from the latter.
SurveyMonkey is certainly better when it comes to simplicity. As you can see from Qualtrics reviews, that’s just not the case with the said software.
Also, Qualtrics’ list of integrations is half as short as SurveyMonkey’s.
Qualtrics may appeal more to global brands, market researchers, and scholars. This platform has multiple options and cutting-edge analytics tools that can shed light on diverse feedback.
When it comes to pricing, both companies delight penny-pinchers with a free version. However, SurveyMonkey subscriptions outnumber Qualtrics’ plans, have iterations for individual and business users, and are more competitively priced.
Qualtrics Review - Verdict
Qualtrics is a highly capable enterprise-grade platform that will help you manage multiple experiences and perform comprehensive analyses.
Its basic paid subscription may cost more than its SurveyMonkey counterpart, but you can buy advanced features separately. Not something we see often!
It’s already one of the web-based survey tools that evidently shares the apex of the industry with a few leaders. But we expect it to aggressively expand its feature set and integration selection.
Qualtrics reviews usually recommend the software’s free version, but we encourage you to test the trial of its top-tier subscription to see what it’s really made of.
What are the four types of surveys?
The most popular ones are questionnaires, interviews, cross-sectional, and longitudinal.
The first two refer to instrumentation while the last two pertain to the span of time involved. All have their own pros and cons, and some of them are not mutually exclusive.
Questionnaires are great for closed-ended questions, but they lack depth. Interviews make it possible to ask follow-up questions, but they’re time consuming.
Cross-sectional surveys attempt to gather information about a particular topic at a single point in time. Longitudinal ones are designed to collect data from one point in time to another or over a period.
Is Qualtrics legit?
The Better Business Bureau can’t vouch for Qualtrics, for it still has no accreditation, despite having been incorporated since 2012. Nevertheless, the 109-year-old champion of marketplace trust rates the SAP subsidiary A-.
In 2020, the Qualtrics survey platform was voted Leader in Enterprise Feedback Management Experience on G2 and was chosen as the Leader in Employee Experience Management by Forrester.
Moreover, Qualtrics says that 3 in 4 of the Fortune 100 use its sophisticated online survey programs.
The likes of Microsoft, Mastercard, Verizon, ABC, ESPN, IBM, Samsung, BMW, Ferrari, Under Armour, Hulu, Coca-Cola, Wharton, and NASA have adopted this software for experience management. There’s no reason to doubt it.
Is there a free version of Qualtrics?
Yes, it’s called Qualtrics Surveys. It’s the plan you’ll automatically get after creating an account.
Despite its expected limitations and lack of aesthetic customization options and advanced analytics, Qualtrics Surveys can be a workable option. You can launch a single 15-question survey in 1 language.
How much does Qualtrics cost?
The minimum Qualtrics license cost is $30 a month. But you may have to subscribe to a more expensive plan if you’re a business or a member of the academe with serious research needs.
Further, you may have to deal with one-off expenses if you need to buy paid third-party integrations or want to obtain some certifications.
Is Qualtrics safe?
Qualtrics has ISO 27001 certification, which is the international standard on information security management. As a FedRAMP-authorized vendor, the US government trusts its capability to deliver secure cloud-based services to federal agencies. Being HITRUST-certified, Qualtrics inspires confidence in health-care organizations.
If you want to know more about the platform, check our Qualtrics review above.
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