SurveyMonkey Audience Design Guidelines

Buying targeted responses through SurveyMonkey Audience? As you build your survey, follow these guidelines to make sure your project is a success. You should also read SurveyMonkey Audience Policies to check that your survey complies with our content policy.

Jump to...


Survey Requirements

Your survey must meet all of the following requirements in order to buy responses through SurveyMonkey Audience. If your survey doesn't meet these requirements, you'll need to fix your survey design before you can buy responses with a Targeted Audience collector.

Require at least one question

Make at least one question required. Requiring a question ensures survey-takers answer the question and move on in the survey.

Ask 50 questions or less

Your survey must have 50 questions or less. Research shows that long surveys cause satisficing—when survey-takers speed through surveys just to get to the end.

Every question type counts as one question, except Matrix/Rating Scale questions, Matrix of Dropdown Menu questions, text elements, and image elements.

Each row in Matrix/Rating Scale or Matrix of Dropdown Menu question counts as one question. Text and Image elements don't count towards the 50 question limit.

Don't add a Quota

You can't add a quota to your survey design since a quota can interfere with getting all your purchased completed responses. Instead of adding a quota, use multiple Audience collectors to reach the sampling you need.

Check Skip Logic paths

When using Skip Logic or Advanced Branching, make sure to check that all your logic paths move survey-takers forward through your survey.

Choose the right survey language

If you're buying Global responses, your survey needs to be in one of the supported languages for the country you're targeting.

Remove questions asking for contact or personal information

Collecting personal info, like names, emails, phone numbers, other contact details, sensitive information, or other personally identifiable information isn’t allowed, per our Terms of Service.

Don't add File Upload questions

To avoid collecting personal information, you can't add a File Upload question to your survey.

Don't add links

Please follow our content policy—don't include links to external websites. If you need to show survey-takers additional context, add images or videos to your survey design.

Survey Requirement Error Messages

If we notice you might be sending your survey through SurveyMonkey Audience, but your survey doesn’t meet these requirements, you may see Survey Requirements error messages in the Design Survey section as your build your survey.

  • If you want to buy responses through SurveyMonkey Audience, follow the instructions in the error messages to edit your survey until it meets the requirements.
  • If you don’t want to buy responses through SurveyMonkey Audience, check the Do not show again box on the error message modal and click OK.


Optional Best Practices

While these guidelines aren't required, we've found that surveys that follow them get higher response rates.

Limit Matrix/Rating Scale, Ranking, and open-ended questions

We suggest using a variety of question types. But, avoid using too many open-ended questions, like Textboxes and Comment boxes, avoid Ranking questions, and limit the use of Matrix/Rating Scale and Matrix of Dropdown Menu questions.

If you do use Matrix questions, use a maximum of 5 matrix questions per survey with no more than 5 columns and 5 rows per question. Even consider breaking matrix rows into individual Multiple Choice questions.

Write short introductions and consent statements

If you're including a survey introduction or consent form, limit them to 250 characters or less.

Use fewer than 10 survey pages with 5–10 questions per page

Short, simple surveys sent through SurveyMonkey Audience have higher response rates. Splitting long survey pages into multiple pages with less than 10 questions can help avoid survey fatigue.

Grouping questions by theme or topic can help survey-takers focus their thoughts and quickly proceed through your survey.

Add "Other" as an answer option

Consider adding "Other" as an answer choice to ensure survey-takers aren't forced to select an inaccurate answer choice. Make sure to display the "Other" option as an answer choice (rather than a comment field).

Keep videos short and resize images

Don't include more than one video in your survey, and aim to keep it under 90 seconds.

Longer videos can cause survey-takers to drop out, or simply skip the video and answer the questions without its context.

Images are a great way to provide examples or A/B test different concepts. When adding images to your survey, make sure the sizing is correct by previewing your survey at desktop, tablet, and mobile resolutions on different browsers.

Use screener questions or qualifying questions

You can add a screener question to your survey to narrow down your target demographic and disqualify survey-takers who might not fit into your desired audience.

It's okay to ask disqualified survey-takers additional questions before you send them out of the survey to learn more about them—gathering data about why someone doesn't use a particular product can be just as useful as knowing why they do.

Include demographic questions so you can filter your results

Before sending your survey, think about how you want to analyze your data and filter your results.

SurveyMonkey Audience includes some demographic info for each survey-taker in your survey results. If you need other demographic info about your survey-takers, ask these questions in your survey.

Consider adding pre-written questions to your survey from the Demographics category of our Question Bank. Or try browsing the Market Research, Brand Research, Consumer Research, Design Feedback, Investment Research, Online & Mobile, and Purchase Intent categories to get inspired.

Don't edit your survey after you checkout

Editing the survey design after you buy responses can cause issues for survey-takers and your survey results. When a live survey is edited, survey-takers are looped back to the start of the survey, and their results may not match the results of your original survey version.

Before you checkout, make sure you preview your survey or consider buying a smaller targeted audience to better understand the responses you'll get.

Hide required asterisks, titles, and progress bars

You can update the design options to hide asterisks from required questions, hide the survey title and page titles, and hide the progress bar. Hiding these design options reduces bias and discourages speeding or satisficing through a survey.

Establish one clear goal and a few subtopics for your survey

A survey with one survey goal and only a few subtopics can streamline the survey creation process and simplify the analysis phase.

TIP! When previewing your survey, toggle between desktop, tablet, and phone to see how your survey looks on various devices and see how survey-takers will view your survey.

Maintaining Confidentiality

Testing new concepts or ideas that you want to keep private? While we can't guarantee that survey-takers won't share info from your survey, follow these guidelines to make sure that the information from your survey can't be traced back to your brand.

Remove direct references to your brand

Avoid including your company's logo, motto, website, brand messaging, product images, or anything else that would allow survey-takers to identify your brand and trace the survey back to your company or product family.

If you're testing new designs or concepts, you might consider using a fake brand name for the sake of testing. This lets you receive feedback on new visual assets while keeping your company name private.

Disqualify your competitors

Add a screener question to the beginning of your survey that asks people to select their industry or job function. Add question skip logic to disqualify survey-takers that would be direct competitors to your company. You'll be able to focus more on the opinions of your target demographic.

Avoid including a confidentiality statement

When you tell survey-takers that your survey contains confidential information, they may be more tempted to capture the information they see in the survey and share it with others.


Follow these survey requirements and best practices to run a successful SurveyMonkey Audience project!

Get answers