How do Academics use SurveyMonkey Audience?

Professors, grad students, and undergrads use SurveyMonkey Audience to get the research respondents they need in a fraction of the time it used to take them.

Below we've provided information we've found to be helpful for those interested in running an academic research project with us. Please review this page fully, as you will likely find the information you need here!


Respondent Population

arrow Incentive Structure

Each time a SurveyMonkey Contribute member completes an eligible survey, SurveyMonkey makes a contribution to a charity of the member’s choice, plus the member can choose to enter into a sweepstakes. Click to see the full list of charities participating with SurveyMonkey Contribute.

arrow Recruitment & Demographics Profiler

We take great care to ensure that we have a diverse group of members who are interested in sharing their opinions with you. When a panelist joins our community of respondents and becomes a SurveyMonkey Contribute member, they are prompted to complete an initial "profile" survey.

This profile contains questions to address demographic basics (gender, age, etc.) as well as some other targeting characteristics you might care about (cell phone usage, job type, and more). Visit this FAQ article about who makes up our audience and the targeting criteria we have available.

Our Audience is, overall, a diverse group of people and is reflective of the U.S. population (and of other country populations for our international members). However, it is comprised of people who have Internet access and have joined a program to take surveys.

However, the people who have signed up to take surveys for our SurveyMonkey Audience customers skew from the US population in a few ways due to the nature of our recruitment methods and the medium (the Internet) through which we offer our services.

Given that our respondents have signed up to take surveys online and therefore have some kind of Internet access, they typically lean towards higher income and higher education levels. Visit this FAQ article about how our audience can be representative of a larger population.

arrow Issue of Vulnerable Population

  • Minors: While we recruit panelists ages 13 and up, we have the ability to target respondents by age and can target 18 and older.
  • Non-English speakers: All panelists are required to fill out a profile, and so we can assume that all our panelists are English speakers. Please visit the SurveyMonkey Audience home page and get in touch with us if you are looking for Non-English speaking panelists.

arrow Privacy Statements

We've written up a detailed Privacy Statement to answer a host of questions around privacy. Please read it to understand how we collect, use, and protect personal information.

Sampling Procedure

arrow Email Invitation Template

In SurveyMonkey Contribute, we use a standard template email notification to notify respondents that they have a new survey to take. This template cannot be changed. We have an FAQ article available to show you what the Audience email invitation looks like.

arrow Invite Algorithm

Our system selects a random group from the SurveyMonkey Contribute member base who match the demographic targeting criteria you’ve requested. Please review this FAQ article about the SurveyMonkey Contribute invitation process for more information.

arrow Targeting Criteria

We target members based on the information they provide to us in their profile. We can target the sample for your survey based on any of the information our members provide, which means you pay only for usable data points!

However, please keep in mind, the more variables or criteria you target, the more it constricts the population we can use to build your sample. A more constricted sample may slow down the pace at which your survey can complete - or even make it impossible for us to run your survey at all.

Have something specific you're looking for? Check out this list of some of the targeting criteria we have available across both of our member bases:

SurveyMonkey Audience Demographic Targeting Criteria

If your desired target variable is not listed, you'll want to review this FAQ article about targeting a very specific audience, or if you have any questions about how feasible your particular targeting variables are, please visit the SurveyMonkey Audience home page and get in touch with us!

arrow Balancing

If you randomly sample a group of Americans through Audience, you may want to know how they compare to the U.S. population in terms of age, gender, education, income, etc. If you are sampling just adults (age 18 or older), you may want to compare your Audience project respondents to the general U.S. adult population.

If you are targeting a specific population, like females over 30, or video game players, or adults in the New York City metropolitan area, should you expect your respondents to match the U.S. population? Well, it’s safe to say... no.

For example, you may expect to find that video game players skew younger and are more likely to be male than the U.S. population.

SurveyMonkey offers solutions to get you representative results using your own definition or ours. We balance results against census data for age and/or gender, while location tends to balance naturally. Balancing precision and granularity improves as the number of responses increases, unless you request specific age or gender targeting. If you have custom or international balancing needs, please visit the SurveyMonkey Audience home page and get in touch so we can help! We've also created an FAQ article to help explain how Audience results are representative of the population you are sampling from. 

arrow Turnaround Time

Projects complete in just a few days, as long as the survey is compliant with our guidelines and performs sufficiently. If you are targeting a very specific type of audience or if the survey does not perform satisfactorily, the project can take longer to complete.

Survey Guidelines

We always recommend avoiding overly lengthy questionnaires because typically short, simple surveys perform better. Research shows that very long surveys lead to some very fatigued survey takers, and this may result in people speeding through survey to get to the end, instead of providing meaningful and insightful responses.

Please review the SurveyMonkey Audience Survey Writing Guide for a helpful guide about our best practices!

arrow Survey Length Guidelines

To ensure the best experience possible for SurveyMonkey Audience survey respondents, we have set a survey length limit of 50 questions for surveys launched through the Buy a Targeted Audience collector.

If your survey is longer than 50 questions, please visit the SurveyMonkey Audience home page and get in touch with us for more information about how we might be able to help you launch a more complex projects through SurveyMonkey Audience.

arrow Consent Page

If your project requires a consent statement, please create a Descriptive Text type question as the first question on the first page of the survey and add your consent statement there. We recommend adding the following language at the end of your statement: "By clicking next, you consent that you are willing to answer the questions in this survey."

We recommend that you make the consent statement its own page of the survey, i.e. after the consent statement, click the "Add Page" to add a second survey page and any subsequent survey questions.

Click to see an example of a good consent statement.

Click to see an example of a poor consent statement.

arrow Survey Content Restrictions

Your survey cannot:

  • contain questions asking for personal information from the respondents (e.g., name, email address, phone number, etc.)
  • contain any prohibited content (e.g., relate to or contain pornography, alcohol, or tobacco products) as described in the SurveyMonkey Audience Survey Content Policy
  • offer any reward for taking the survey (SurveyMonkey Audience handles all participation incentives)
For a more in-depth explanation of the most common Audience Content Policy violations, please review the article Common Audience Content Policy Violations.

Writing It All Up

arrow Letter of Approval from SurveyMonkey

Please check out the standardized Letter of Approval we have available for this purpose.