The Digital Forest Blog

Data collection sources

Data collection sources

At this point you have your ideas, you know what you're building and who you're building it for, but you need data to build out the experience. There are many ways get existing data and build custom data. Here is a shortlist of data collection sources.

  • SurveyMonkey Audience - When you have identified your target demographic and you want to know specifically what they think you can run a custom survey with SurveyMonkey's Audience product. I really love how SM presents the data once its collected and how they explicitly collect demographic data on the user so you can be sure that your question has been answered by the people you expect. 

  • Google Consumer Surveys - Google's answer to SurveyMonkey Audience is good product for custom surveys as well, but it's built on the back of the Google Display network. This is an important distinction because that means Google is inferring demographics based on their database of affinity rather than having them explicitly captured from user inputs. 
  • Google Consumer Barometer Google's Consumer Barometer product gives data and insights into user behavior when making purchasing decisions. You can use different features and demographic data points to get a complete look at who is doing what and why for a variety of product types. 

  • Google Public Data - Google's Public Data product aggregates data from a variety of world government and public data stores to present interesting data experiences such as life expectancy charts per country andEuropean minimum wage comparisons by country . You can also upload your own DSPL-formatted datasets and choose build visualizations yourself. 
  • Marketing Charts - Need marketing stats right now? Marketing Charts is a curation site of relevant marketing statistics and charts. I find this especially useful when building business cases or quick data collection for infographics. 
  • Data Search Engines - There are a variety of tools that I'd classify as data search engines. They all approach have a unique approach to data presentation and some are better than others for certain data types. Whenever I'm looking for data I pop in a few searches into them all until I find what I'm looking for.
    • Zanran - ZanRan is one of the few that is a proper search engine. Search for queries like "Teenage pregnancy US" to find data stores and charts specific to your data needs.
    • DataMarket - DataMarket is also a search engine that returns interactive charts based on the data you're looking for.
    • Get the Data - Get the Data is a Q&A site where data mongers can ask other data mongers the right places to find the data they need.
    • Data360 - A data journalism site that lets the data speak for itself. You can almost always find the data behind current events here.