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Web Survey Bibliography

Title A window into the digital economy - the Future of Business Survey
Year 2017
Access date 08.04.2017

Relevance and Research Question: Policymakers, researchers and businesses share a common interest in the environment in which small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) operate, not least because SMEs are often an important source of employment growth and an indicator for economic well-being. In an attempt to fill data gaps across the world and to better understand business sentiment and trends among SMEs, Facebook, OECD and The World Bank have initiated the Future of Business Survey. The project aims to improve our understanding of SMEs with the overarching goal of helping businesses grow in the emerging mobilized economy.

Methods and Data: The target population includes all SMEs with a Facebook business page. A random sample of newer and long-standing businesses in each country is invited to respond to the online survey. The questionnaire consists of only 15 questions and is flexible enough to allow adaption in the future to respond to new emerging issues. Questions focus on perceptions of current and future economic activity, challenges and business characteristics. A newly developed indicator measures the overall SME sentiment: The “Business Confidence Indicator” (BCI). Data from the ongoing monthly survey is publicly accessible in an interactive online dashboard.

Results: A key attribute of the survey is its simplicity, ensuring a low response burden. More than 110,000 SMEs have participated so far, with the number of countries expanding from originally 17 to 33 by December 2016. Results of the survey provide insights for many stakeholders: Facebook captures the sentiment of its business page owners, policy makers and the general public gain information on longitudinal economic trends, and market researchers receive valuable data, e.g., for conducting cultural bias analyses.

Added Value: The survey is a unique public-private partnership providing insights on the well-being and outlook of SMEs who are digitally present. It represents a novelty in bringing together SMEs from a vast number of countries and demonstrates the potential of using digital platforms to collect timely and cost-effective information. Along the value chain, resulting data can be used by a wide range of stakeholders to inform several areas of interest.

Year of publication2017
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations