SurveyMonkey overhauls platform, UX, as it eyes more business users

SurveyMonkey says it's relaunching the company mission around this concept of people-powered data.

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Cloud-based polling platform provider SurveyMonkey is overhauling its user experience and adding a bevy of new services in an effort to lure more paying business users to its platform.

SurveyMonkey was launched in 1999 with a consumer-oriented survey product geared toward the individual user. SurveyMonkey still offers an array of freemium consumer services today, but it's now looking to its business product as a way to generate long-term value for the company.

SurveyMonkey says its platform is used by 99 percent of the Fortune 500 and that more than 80 percent of its paid accounts are used for business purposes. But the company has struggled with its business products in the past and now wants to convert the more than 50,000 organizational domains in its user base into paying customers.

With today's revamp, SurveyMonkey says its relaunching the company mission around this concept of people-powered data.

"A really important part to understanding data as a business is to have the context of the why, not just the what," said SurveyMonkey president Tom Hale. "After 20 years in online surveys we are uniquely able to help people get insight from their data more quickly. We have the scale, the data, the experience and the talent to really change the game here."

New products include SurveyMonkey CX, a service oriented around a team of people inside of a company that want to take customer feedback to improve the customer experience.

The company is also teasing SurveyMonkey Engage, which uses the same data-driven methodology as CX but for human resources. SurveyMonkey says Engage will help businesses pinpoint areas of improvement and drill down by team, function, location, and other key demographics.

There's also SurveyMonkey Genius, which the company says "operates like a data scientist in your pocket" by using machine learning to improve surveys in real time to result in better data.

Another new product is called SurveyMonkey Audience, which lets businesses buy survey responses and conduct market research in as little as a few minutes. The system pushes surveys into the flow of traffic on SurveyMonkey's homepage and encourages survey takers by offering to donate 50 cents to the charity of their choice for taking a survey.

SurveyMonkey is also touting a new mobile-optimized survey experience, with fewer steps and auto-scrolling designed to make survey-taking faster, as well as new integrations with Facebook Messenger and Slack.

Today SurveyMonkey says it's profitable, growing, and consistently staying at the level of 30 percent EBITDA margin. Last year was its most profitable year to date, with $200 million in revenue, and it expects to surpass that in 2017.

SurveyMonkey's path to profitability has seen its share of bumps. In May 2015, then-CEO David Goldberg died unexpectedly, leading SurveyMonkey on an extensive, two-month search for a successor.

Former HP executive Bill Veghte was eventually chosen for the job but his tenure would be short lived. In January 2016 Veghte stepped down from the CEO role citing strategic differences with investors. Veghte was replaced with former GoPro CEO and SurveyMonkey chairman, Zander Laurie.

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