SurveyMonkey Audience Design Guidelines

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

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Survey Requirements

Your survey must meet the following requirements and follow our Terms of Service 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.

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 fewer than 50 questions

Your survey can't have more than 50 questions. 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

Adding a quota to your survey design can prevent you from getting the completed responses you purchased. 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, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that you move survey-takers forward through your survey—don’t send people back to a previous page. This could prevent them from completing your survey.
  • Add page breaks between each piece of logic. Logic is triggered when people click the Next button on a survey page.
  • Check whether you have both page and question logic applied on the same page. Question logic overrides page logic, and Advanced Branching rules work a bit differently.
  • If you use screening questions, make sure to skip people to a Disqualification Page. Avoid sending people to the End of Survey as these responses will count towards your complete responses.

You can test your survey logic in the Preview & Score section to make sure everything's working as expected.

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.

Don't ask 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 a survey sent through a Target Audience collector.

Don't add links or ask people to leave your survey

The survey needs to follow our Acceptable Uses Policy. You can't link out to external websites. If you need to show survey-takers additional context, add images or videos to your survey design.

Survey Requirement Error Messages

You may see an error message if your survey doesn’t meet our requirements. Please follow the instructions to edit your survey to meet these requirements and send your survey through SurveyMonkey Audience.


Recommended Best Practices

While these guidelines aren't required, we've found that surveys that follow them are more likely to be engaging and get higher response rates.

Establish a clear goal 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.

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. Consider breaking matrix rows into individual Multiple Choice questions.

Create a short, simple survey

Use fewer than 10 survey pages with no more than 10 questions per page. Short, simple surveys sent through SurveyMonkey Audience have higher response rates. Split long survey pages into multiple pages with fewer than 10 questions to help avoid survey fatigue.

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

Write short introductions and consent statements

If you're including a survey introduction or consent form, limit it to 500 characters or less.

Keep videos short

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 watching it.

Preview your images

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

Add "Other" as an answer option

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

Avoid too many answer choice options

Multiple Choice or Checkbox questions should have a maximum of 10 answer choices. If you do offer more than 10 answer choices, change the layout to display answer choices in multiple columns so the question isn’t intimidating for respondents.

Hide 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.

Turn off One Question at a Time

Disable the One Question at a Time survey format.

Use screening questions or disqualifying questions

You can add screening questions to your survey to narrow down your target audience and skip survey-takers to a disqualification page if they don't match 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 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 general 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, and Purchase Intent categories to get inspired.

Preview and test your survey

Preview your survey to make sure everything looks good and your logic works properly. You can toggle between desktop, tablet, and phone to see how your survey looks on various devices.

You can even send a preview of your survey to a friend or colleague to get feedback.

Don't edit your survey after you checkout

Editing the survey design after you buy responses can cause issues for survey-takers and cause inconsistencies in 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.

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 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 or trace the survey back to your company.

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 people who might be competitors

Add a screening 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 who might work for competitors to your company. You'll be able to focus more on the opinions of your target audience.

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!

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