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Why Post-Purchase Surveys Matter: Using Zero-Party Data to Uncover Customer Insights

Why Post-Purchase Surveys Matter: Using Zero-Party Data to Uncover Customer Insights

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

When you’re running ads across multiple channels, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher which channel is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to pulling customers in. Some campaigns may be more memorable than others, and if you’re only using last click attribution, and the purchase happens far later than their first exposure to your brand, your attribution modeling might be telling a different story.

An attribution model in general helps marketers reveal patterns in user behavior that leads to a conversion (or purchase). It can be difficult to tease out specifically when a customer first recognized your brand. Was it an ad you ran on Facebook? Was it related to a Google search? Did they hear about you from a friend and then decide to search for you? As the digital space becomes more crowded, it’s hard to accurately nail down attribution.

That is, unless, you just ask the customer where they heard about you. It really is that simple! 

The best time to ask a customer about their journey is directly after they made a purchase from your website. Plenty of tools exist to integrate these questions directly into the purchase confirmation page, making it a branded and cohesive part of the purchase journey. When the customer tells you where they recognize you from, you 1) no longer have to guess, and 2) can focus your marketing efforts on the avenues that are driving the most return on investment. 

In this article, we’ll go over what post-purchase surveys are, why they matter, what you should ask in a survey, and, most importantly - what you should do with that data to keep the new customer funnel full of future brand loyalists. 

What Are Post-Purchase Surveys?

A post-purchase survey is a small set of questions shown to customers directly after they make a purchase, usually on the purchase confirmation page. Besides asking the customer where they first heard about you, you can also use the opportunity to learn more about the customer in general, about their opinion of the checkout process, how they found your website, and anything you can do to improve their experience. 

A survey also shows your customer right off-the-bat that you value customer feedback, and the most reliable source of feedback is directly from the customer themselves. 

Why Do Post-Purchase Surveys Matter?

Before we discuss the best practices for post-purchase surveys, let’s explore why a brand might want to use them in the first place. These surveys enable brands to collect additional datapoints from customers following the conversion. When brands learn more about their customers, they can better understand the buyer journey by viewing it from the customer’s perspective. Brands are often guilty of thinking they have the best website that’s free of errors, but a simple survey can uncover an issue that’s hurting the customer experience that had previously gone undetected. 

Post-purchase surveys can collect data on:

  • Where a customer recalls discovering your brand
  • Where a customer recalls converting from
  • Customer preferences for personalization flows
  • Customer-reported time from discovery to purchase
  • And more!

Since post-purchase surveys are completely customizable, the available insights are endless. Your brand would just need to decide what information would benefit the marketing team, as this supplemental data can arm your brand with insights for further marketing optimization. 

How to Set Up a Post-Purchase Survey

In the most basic form, a post-purchase survey can include a question like “where did you hear about us?” However, there’s an opportunity to secure a wealth of valuable information from your customers at this juncture. The survey itself should be a balance of knowledge gathering for your brand and being a seamless process for your customers to complete, because nothing is worse than a 30 question survey following a purchase! 

Similar to Jeopardy, you’ll want to understand the type of answers you’re seeking from your customers before asking the questions. Since you have a limited time to collect that information, your survey should be short and sweet. Best practice is to make sure you’re creating questions with easy-to-measure answers and refraining from suggesting answers to your respondents so you get the true data versus what you led your customers to respond with. 

Our partners at KNO Commerce compiled survey data from over 1200 brands to decipher which questions deliver the most valuable insights. As a special bonus, these questions are pre-built templates in KNO so you can easily set the survey up for your customers! 

The top 5 most effective questions are:

  1. How did you first hear about us?
  2. What brought you to our site today?
  3. Where did you see our ad?
  4. Who is this purchase for?
  5. How long did you know about us before placing your first purchase?

The survey questions you choose should allow you to uncover details about how long a customer might take to make a purchase, the difference in customer journey timelines depending on which marketing channel drives them to the website, and the variation in time to purchase when someone is looking for a gift versus purchasing for themselves. 

Once you’ve got your ideal list of questions, you can integrate them into your website’s order confirmation page. Depending on your platform, this might involve installing an application or writing the appropriate code. If you’re a Shopify/Triple Whale user, you can install Triple Whale’s Post-Purchase Survey following these instructions. There are also survey platforms like KNO Commerce and Fairing which seamlessly integrate with Shopify and Triple Whale to gain insights into customer preferences that can guide your marketing efforts.

So, What Do You Do With Post-Purchase Survey Data?

Once you’ve had your surveys running for a period of time and you’ve collected enough data, you can move on to uncovering the insights! Here are just a few things you can do with your survey data:

  1. Compare the overall performance of your paid channels by enriching attribution data with post-purchase survey data.

When you gather the zero-party data from customers, you can then learn which marketing channels are driving the most impact. For example, if Triple Whale doesn’t capture an ad click or referring source for a customer, the survey data will attribute the revenue to the customer-reported sales channel when answering: “where did you hear about us?”

  1. Compare time to purchase by channel.

You can learn more about your customer’s path to purchase as well as how long it takes them to convert along the way. For many brands, word of mouth is actually 4x faster at converting than Facebook ads. You can leverage this data to optimize the paths to purchase that have the most friction. 

  1. Leverage benchmark data to evaluate your brand’s performance. 

With our partner KNO, we have access to data from 1200+ KNO customers combined with over 6500 Triple Whale customers, you can compare your brand’s performance to similar brands within your industry or size. 

KNO Commerce 🤝 Triple Whale = Insights  

By integrating your post-purchase survey with Triple Whale, you unlock insights about the data you would not otherwise be able to discover. Connecting Triple Whale to KNO will improve your attribution story. For example, there will be cases where not all customer journeys are tracked. If there’s an improper UTM setup, a customer searches for your product on Google rather than clicking on an ad, or maybe they even viewed the ad on a friend’s device before purchasing it on their own, it will mean that attribution is not appropriately reported. By integrating the KNO post-purchase survey responses, it will quite literally fill in the missing information and adjust the model to reflect the missing information. In a way, it’s a more cohesive way to look at your data. That’s why we like to call it: ✨ Total Impact ✨.

Triple Whale’s Total Impact Model

Since clicks only tell part of the story, Total Impact combines first-party data, zero-party data, and our shiny, beautiful, proprietary algorithm to give us the very holistic Total Impact Attribution Model. 

The model works by analyzing the customer journey from the initial touchpoint to the purchase (and beyond). By taking a wide range of factors into account, including survey data, ad impressions, clicks, website visits, email opens, and more - Total Impact shows us a more detailed picture. 

The best time to use the Total Impact model is when you want to visualize the weighted success of your marketing sources, channels, campaigns, adsets and ads, with your store’s revenue distributed based on which channels provide the most impact on the purchase decision. To learn more about Total Impact and how to set it up for your store, check out this article in our knowledge base.

What have brands learned from using Total Impact? 

Most brands will report that most purchases happen within the first 48 hours of discovery (according to Google Analytics). But if you ask the customers themselves, you might uncover a new story. 

KNO Commerce analyzed over 172,000 post-purchase survey responses to the question “how long did you know about us before placing your first purchase?” Interestingly, only 24.5% of customers said they purchased in less than a day from discovering the brand, 15% of customers said they bought within a week, and more than 60% of customers took over a week to make their first purchase. 

Often, the true influence of a marketing channel isn’t clear unless you integrate a post-purchase survey. A health and wellness brand called MaryRuth’s discovered a 900% increase in TikTok ROAS and 400% increase in Pinterest ROAS when using the Total Impact Model. Prior to using Total Impact, conversions were instead attributed to a click-related event, often mis-weighting the impact of platforms like Google Ads over TikTok Ads, which turns out to be a very popular view-through channel for MaryRuth’s. With survey data to back it up, the marketing team was able to validate that TikTok was actually central to many organic or Google Ad conversions. 

With better details comes better decisions, and that’s exactly what Triple Whale is about! 


With the information gathered from post-purchase surveys, and subsequent modeling with the Total Impact Model, you can take insights about your brand to the next level. By asking the right questions and keeping surveys short and focused, you can uncover just which channels are the most successful to guide your future marketing efforts. Additionally, post-purchase surveys can also be useful for understanding any pain points along the customer journey you can improve to keep them coming back to your brand, as well as recommending to their friends. Which is the best way to keep the new customers coming! Interested to learn what Total Impact can do for you? Book a demo with our team!

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