Research and insights

The power of omnibus research

Written by Sarah Taylor and Jenny Armley

6 January 2021


As the saying goes, stats sell. Well, actually, it doesn’t, but it should. Day after day, the stories that get traction across the media – from broadcast to national, trade to specialist – data-led headlines and stats-filled pieces are what we see.

Research base integrity has snuck up in recent years. UK press now requires 2,000 respondents as a minimum. That means many companies spend huge swathes of money on global research, honing multi-page questionnaires and digging through Excel spreadsheets when the findings are in. But not every company has the budget for big data – nor the time.

From refining survey questions to fieldwork, research takes time and money – but there is a quick and easy way around it: omnibus research.

What is omnibus research?

Any research provider worth their salt will offer omnibus research. This is where providers package up questions from different companies and pose them all to the same consumer, audience. This gives organisations the ability to put single questions into the field – and if they make those questions multi-option ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ questions, that will create 4-5 different data points for a fraction of the price or time as wider, 10-20 question research.

Of course, it’s not as substantial; but it works wonders for single storylines or quick, actionable data. For instance, UK-based omnibus questions, aimed at a 2,000-strong consumer audience, will take 2-3 days to come back from the field – providing iron-clad data points quickly.


Consumer omnibus research is the quickest and cheapest route to the data loot, but where you’re trying to get a B2B data point, sometimes it requires a little imagination and refinement.

Some of the omnibus questions we’ve put into the field recently with Arlington Research, Berkeley’s sister company, include getting data points for financial scam stories for a cybersecurity giant and consumer-brand habits for a customer experience specialist. This included asking consumers questions about online holiday bookings, and how they contact businesses and call centres.

The data points that we’ve had back from these stories have enabled our PR team to secure a wide swath of coverage, from Yahoo! Finance and Web User to to Top Business Tech and Interface Magazine.

Unlocking the power of omnibus

At Berkeley, we believe that creativity does not necessarily need to come with a big price tag. In fact, often it is the simple stories, underpinned with the right data, that can be the most effective. Perhaps you have a message you want to deliver to the media but lack the valid proof points to break through the noise.

Data produced through an omnibus survey can give you the voice to have those conversations, presenting your brand as an industry thought leader and authority.

One simple research question, if crafted effectively, can be the beginning of multiple different storylines – sparking a range of new messages and ideas. Ultimately it can be the key to unlocking another level of creativity, that previously may not have been in reach due to budgetary restrictions.

Create your own research story

Find out how omnibus research can be used to create compelling stories for your business

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