10 Top Market Research Tools to Start Using Now 📈

  • Marketing
Contra Tips
· 7 min read

Learn about the best market research tools for growing your customer-centric business. Also, discover how to conduct market research effectively.

Gone are the days when mere product placements or celebrity endorsements could seal the deal. Today, understanding your audience’s heartbeat, aspirations, and pain points is paramount. Enter market research tools, which play a pivotal role in bridging this gap, offering brands invaluable insights straight from their target market. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss market research tools (paid and free), including what they are and how to use them.

What is market research? 🤔

Market research is defined as the systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a specific market, including details about the target audience, competitors, market trends, and customer preferences. This provides businesses valuable insights, helping them make informed decisions, identify market opportunities, develop effective strategies, and optimize products or services to cater to consumer needs.

How to do market research 🔍

Conducting foolproof market research involves key steps and a process to derive the most appropriate results. Here’s how:

  • Define your research objective
  • Identify your target audience and demographic personas
  • Select research tools and techniques
  • Design the research instrument
  • Collect data
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Present findings
  • Draw conclusions and implement them
  • Reevaluate periodically

What are market research tools? 🧐

Market research tools are specialized software or platforms designed to gather, analyze, and interpret data about a company's target market, competitors, and industry trends. These tools enable businesses to acquire insights that can drive decision-making, ensuring strategies align with market demands and opportunities.

Benefits of harnessing market research 🤓

  • Decision-making: Market research provides factual data about the target audience, eliminating guesswork and enabling businesses to make decisions based on real-time insights.
  • Opportunity identification: Companies can spot emerging market segments or unmet needs by understanding market trends and consumer behaviors.
  • Risk mitigation: Knowledge about market conditions, potential threats, and competitor moves can help devise strategies to counteract risks.
  • Customer satisfaction: Businesses can tailor their products and services to better meet customer needs by understanding consumer preferences and pain points.

How to leverage market research across your business 💡

There are a number of ways to use market research across a company. For example, it majorly helps optimize or build a marketing campaign. But that’s not all. Here are a few other ways: 

  • Product development: Designing products or modify existing ones to better fit market demands by gauging customer preferences and needs
  • Marketing strategy: Studying market segments, customer personas, and buying behaviors to create targeted marketing campaigns
  • Sales forecasting: Making accurate sales projections through insights into market trends and demand patterns
  • Pricing strategy: Learning about what customers are willing to pay to set competitive prices
  • Customer service: Seeking customer feedback and reviews on social media platforms to improve service quality and address issues promptly

Types of market research tools 📝

Market research is a vast domain, with tools tailored to specific needs and objectives. Let's delve into a few key types of market research tools that businesses commonly employ to glean valuable insights and stay ahead in the game:

  • Survey tools: These allow businesses to design, distribute, and analyze surveys. Collecting direct feedback helps companies understand the target audience, customer preferences, satisfaction levels, and improvement areas.
  • Data analytics platforms: These process large data sets to derive patterns, correlations, and insights. Platforms like Google Analytics offer insights into website visitor behaviors, allowing businesses to refine their online strategies.
  • Social media listening tools: These offer insights into public sentiment, emerging trends, and brand-related potential concern or opportunity areas by monitoring mentions, hashtags, and keywords across social platforms.
  • Competitive analysis tools: These focus on understanding competitor actions, and provide data on a competitor's market positioning, pricing, product features, and marketing tactics. This information helps businesses identify market gaps and position themselves effectively.

Top 5 free market research tools 🌟

Market research tools help businesses gather actionable insights without breaking the bank. Here's a curated list of the top five free market research tools for start-ups and established businesses alike:

1. Google Trends 💯

This web service by Google shows how often a particular search term is entered relative to the total search volume.


  • Search query tracking
  • Keyword comparison by location and time


  • Limited to Google's search data
  • Doesn't provide granular data on niche markets or for less popular terms

2. SurveyMonkey Basic 🐒

This online survey development tool provides free, customizable survey solutions.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Customizable templates with analytics features
  • Limited questions and respondents in the free version
  • Advanced branching and logic reserved for premium versions

3. Social Mention 🗣️

This social media search and analysis tool aggregates user-generated content from various platforms.


  • Real-time search for brand mentions
  • Measures sentiment of mentions


  • May overlook some mentions
  • Some users find the interface outdated

4. AnswerThePublic 👥

This keyword tool visualizes search questions and related topics.

  • Assists in content creation
  • Drives search engine optimization (SEO) strategies


  • Limited daily searches in the free version
  • Sometimes provides overly broad data

5. Typeform ⌨️

This online form and survey builder emphasizes user experience and engagement.


  • Interactive survey designs
  • Achieves high response rates


  • Limited responses and questions in the free plan
  • Advanced features only in paid plans

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Top 5 paid market research tools 😍

Now that you have an idea about a few free tools that can get you started, here’s a list of five robust paid market research tool examples if you wish to dive deeper into the subject:

1. SEMrush 🤠

It’s an all-encompassing digital marketing tool for SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), and content research.


  • Comprehensive competitor analysis
  • Detailed keyword insights with historical data


  • Can be overwhelming for beginners.
  • Slightly expensive for small businesses.

2. BuzzSumo 🐝

This tool explores content trends and influencers and monitors brand performance.



  • Costly higher tiers
  • Limited data about niche industries

3. Ahrefs 🤩

This competitive analysis tool focuses on backlinks and SEO research.


  • Vast link index for in-depth backlink analysis
  • Comprehensive keyword and competitor research capabilities


  • Steep learning curve for newcomers
  • Slightly pricey for start-ups

4. Qualtrics 🥳

This experience management platform offers solutions for market research and feedback collection.


  • Advanced survey design and analytics
  • Multichannel feedback collection


  • High price point
  • Requires training to exploit full potential

5. Nielsen 🌐

This global measurement and data analytics company offers insights into consumers and markets worldwide.


  • Extensive global data
  • Trusted industry reputation


  • Premium pricing structure
  • Might be too broad for localized research 

Tips and tricks for doing market research 🔥

Given the resource limitations and vast market dynamics, taking the first step with market research can seem daunting. But with the right strategies, you can gather actionable insights without a hefty budget or a large team. Here are a few tailored tips to guide you:

  1. Use your network: Engage with other Independents, both offline and online, as your peers might provide insights you hadn't considered. 
  2. Focus on niche markets: It's often more effective to specialize in a niche market than trying to cater to everyone. Dive deep into a particular segment, understand their pain points, and tailor your offerings accordingly.
  3. Stay updated with industry publications: Regularly read industry blogs, reports, and white papers. They often contain valuable market research data and trends that can inform your strategies.
  4. Iterate and adjust: Remember, market dynamics can change. Continuously evaluate the feedback and data you gather, adjust your services or products accordingly, and don't be afraid to pivot if necessary.

Showcase your marketing expertise on Contra 🎖️

Staying ahead with informed market insights is crucial to growing your client base. If you're an Independent with a knack for marketing research, don't let your skills go unnoticed. Join Contra today and showcase your expertise to a vast network of potential clients. Plus, enjoy the perk of promoting your services commission-free. Elevate your freelance journey with Contra, where your marketing prowess gets the recognition it deserves. 

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