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Choosing the right consumer research platform to support your brand’s growth, reach, and impact is a big decision. When you’re on the quest for the best option, choosing a solution based on factors like price or reputation alone just won’t cut it. 

Becoming an expert on your audience starts with knowing which company you can trust to help you make data-led decisions.

Making the right choice starts with having all the facts in front of you. 

Want to figure out the best option for you? Step right this way.  

GWI vs. MRI Simmons: Finding the best platform for your team

1. What GWI does
2. What MRI Simmons does
3. GWI vs. MRI Simmons: The overview
4. GWI vs MRI Simmons: The details

  • Platform
  • Smart tools and features
  • Data coverage
  • Data sets
  • Use cases
  • Survey methodology

5. Which is the best fit for your team? 

What GWI does

GWI is modernized consumer research – global, on-demand, and accessible to everyone, not just data experts. It uses active data collection and surveys representing over 2.8 billion consumers to give you answers the moment you need them, meaning no more waiting weeks or even months (as with traditional market research) to get exactly what you need.

What MRI Simmons does

MRI Simmons is a trusted provider of consumer data that has specialized in US-specific insights for over 60 years. The company offers an in-depth survey with broad coverage that uses a combination of address-based probabilistic sampling and traditional surveys to collect data. 

GWI vs. MRI Simmons: The overview

While MRI Simmons has been around for decades, GWI brings a fresh approach to consumer trends with both US and global insights. 

To give you the best like-for-like comparison, let’s focus on a US-specific data set, GWI USA. Want a global view? Check out GWI Core, a flagship survey of online audiences, covering 53 markets worldwide. 

GWI USAvs.MRI Simmons
50 statesMarkets48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
80K Annual sample  50K

Surveys are fielded and released every quarter with new respondents added every time. 
Surveys per year2
Survey is conducted twice a year, and released quarterly.
Adults 16+ (including consumers 65+) Who’s represented Adults 18+
GWIvs.MRI Simmons
✅GWI’s instant charts  AI-powered functionality❌*None that we’re aware of
✅Choose from a wide range of custom solutions available on request, including audience profiling, customer segmentation, and brand tracking. Custom research ✅Custom research is available with online tracking studies and syndicated study enhancements.
✅Get a sneak peek of the platform with GWI’s interactive demo. No sign up requiredPlatform preview
GWIvs.MRI Simmons
SaaS cost-per-user modelPricing modelEnterprise pricing based on annual revenue

*Based on a review of publicly accessible information on MRI Simmons website

GWI vs. MRI Simmons: The details

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty. 


MRI Simmons’ main tool is the Catalyst platform. It offers interactive charts, custom formatting, data visualization options, shareable reports, and dashboards that streamline collaboration. 

GWI’s modern, design-led platform gives you the power to create and explore unique audiences from over 250K profiling points so your audience analysis is on point from start to finish. 

You can choose from pre-built dashboards on trending topics, or build your own so you have complete control over your data. Plus, you can smoothly share your findings with your team to make sure everyone has one consistent view of their audiences.

Want to see more of GWI’s platform in action? Get a sneak peek with an interactive demo in just one click. No login needed. 

Smart tools and features

MRI has as an API and other features like MEMRI – an analytics tool with access to over two decades worth of consumer and media data, but it doesn’t appear to have launched any AI features yet. They also offer Audience Activation. 

The GWI platform has a wealth of data available along with built-in AI features that allow you to create charts on the fly with instant charts, quickly generate top data points using instant audience insights, and blend different data sets together for a holistic view of consumers with their API

GWI Audience Activation lets users target real people by pushing audiences from GWI’s platform into digital campaigns. The audience is modeled by Dynata and available to purchase from LiveRamp. Syndicated segments or bespoke segments can be bought or pushed through the platform, saving time and energy.

GWI also has RLD (respondent level data) with very large samples. That means access to answers from more people which can be especially useful if you’re doing segmentation work or planning digital activations for your target audience. With responses to every single question, you have the power to carry out more advanced analysis, get a more consistent view with harmonized data, and activate better campaigns.  

Data coverage

MRI’s data focuses exclusively on US consumers and brands. Surveys are conducted twice a year and released quarterly.

GWI’s data coverage is much broader with fielded surveys released every quarter (both global and US) that include new respondents every time. US coverage represents 250 million+ people aged 16+ from all 50 states. Zooming out globally, coverage includes 53 markets (Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) representing 2.8 billion internet users. 

Data sets

Because MRI is solely focused on the US, it doesn’t offer insights on international markets. According to their website, available data sets include national and local studies, print studies, and focus studies on trends in retail, sports, TV, and cannabis. 

GWI has a wide range of data sets that track global trends and zero in on sector-specific insights. In addition to the flagship survey, GWI Core, and GWI USA, it has separate data sets specific to Kids, Alcohol, Automotive, Tech, Gaming, Sports, Travel, Work, and Luxury along with Zeitgeist – an up-to-the-moment data set released every month that hones in on trending topics. There’s also GWI USA Plus, a free add-on to GWI USA, that explores important social and environmental issues like sustainability, DEI, activism, and mental health.

Use cases

Every team needs a research solution for different reasons and specific circumstances.

The key use cases for MRI Simmons include planning, messaging, activation, strategy, and engagement. 

GWI is designed to help teams nail their brand, marketing, and product strategies. Key use cases include media planning, brand health, content marketing, product development, market sizing, and pitching. 

Brands and agencies like Google, Microsoft, Publicis, and Mediacom use GWI to drive serious ad sales, make their campaigns land, and guarantee their strategies stand out. 

Marketing and insights teams use the platform to self-serve insights to help them build campaigns that resonate and reach the right audiences, making sure they’re advertising in the right places and in the right way by tapping into their mindsets. 

ONE Championship, the world’s largest martial arts organization, recently used GWI to uncover strategy-defining insights on how to resonate with American fight fans – a move that would lead to 46% audience growth over a six-month period.

With GWI, brands and PR teams can create products customers want to buy and keep the pulse on how the brand is performing. Media teams can optimize media buying, identify exciting partnerships, and win new business.

Survey methodology 

According to their website MRI Simmons uses a blend of different methodologies from traditional surveys to probabilistic and address-based sampling.

GWI uses online sampling which provides more frequent samples than a probabilistic methodology. With a qualitative and quantitative approach to research, you can balance depth and detail with objectivity to boost the accuracy of your findings and enrich your campaigns. 

Which is the best fit for your team? 

Both MRI Simmons and GWI offer in-depth coverage of American consumers. 

For brands looking for US-specific insights, MRI Simmons offers a great solution. But for businesses looking to expand into new regions and gain a competitive edge, who need consumer insights for the US and beyond, GWI may be better suited. GWI gives you the power to go global and zoom in on local trends, offers standout smart tools and features to overlay data and compare markets, and lets you deep dive into specific areas with extensive data sets. 

GWI’s design-led platform and AI-powered features are a great option for teams that may be less experienced with data and conducting market research. Now you don’t have to be an expert to put your brand on center stage.

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