Buying Responses with SurveyMonkey Audience

ARE YOU BUYING A GLOBAL PANEL? When you buy responses, you'll have two options for respondent location. If you're choosing Global, you'll want to head on over to SurveyMonkey Audience Global Panel. If you're choosing United States, then this is the article for you!

SurveyMonkey Audience allows you to buy survey responses for any survey you create on SurveyMonkey. You can target respondents based on specific attributes, like gender, age, income, employment status, and more to get answers from the people whose opinions you need.

Jump to...


Eligibility & Getting Started

SurveyMonkey Audience is offered in all countries, except Brazil.

There are three main steps to launching your own SurveyMonkey Audience project:

  1. Design your survey in SurveyMonkey, ensuring it meets the design guidelines.
  2. Buy responses by creating a survey collector and choosing your targeting criteria.
  3. Monitor your project and analyze the results.

This article should contain all the info you'll need to complete those steps. Use the table of contents at the top of the page to jump to a particular section of the article.

TIP! Watch our SurveyMonkey Audience video tutorials to see an example project from start to finish.


Our Contribute Panel

We have millions of people in the United States ready to take surveys using our panel, SurveyMonkey Contribute. Our panel represents a diverse group of respondents. However, it's not representative of the general population.

Who Takes Surveys

Contribute allows people to take surveys for charity and a chance to win a sweepstakes prize. We believe that by offering these non-cash incentives, we limit problems such as satisficing and encourage respondents to provide honest, thoughtful opinions.

We recruit members from a diverse population of millions of people who take SurveyMonkey surveys every month. For example, after completing a survey, respondents are redirected to a page that may feature an advertisement for Contribute.

After signing up, each member fills out a profile, which allows us to gather a wide variety of profile attributes, like demographic questions (gender, age, region, etc.) as well as some other targeting characteristics you might care about (cell phone usage, job type, and more). Respondents are targeted based on the information they provide in their profile. You choose from these attributes to send your survey to a targeted audience. The more variables or criteria you target, the more it constricts the population we can use to build your sample.

We'll email respondents who match your targeting criteria a unique link to your survey. Our system selects a random group from the SurveyMonkey Contribute member base who match the demographic targeting criteria you requested. We use a standard email template to notify respondents that they have a new survey to take. It's not possible to customize the invitation email.

Balancing & National Representation

As with most online sampling, respondents have Internet access and voluntarily joined a program to take surveys, so they're representative of an online population.

We automatically balance results according to census data of age and gender, while location tends to balance out naturally. Balancing precision and granularity improves as the number of responses increases. We're not able to guarantee any specific balancing on self-serve projects.

If you need a particular breakdown between particular demographics, try our custom balancing option.

You can also make multiple Audience purchases for your survey, one for each specific demographic you need—all the results will be recorded in the same place so you can easily filter and compare. For example, create one collector and buy responses from only males, then create another collector and buy responses from only females.


Plan Requirements

You can buy responses on any plan type. Audience responses are an additional fee—they are not included in your plan subscription.

If you're buying Audience responses, we recommend annual plans since these plans offer our most popular paid features you'll likely need to design your survey, and you can collect, view, and export all the responses you purchase through Audience.

If you have a free plan, you can buy up to 100 Audience responses since you can only view 100 responses per survey on the free plan. To buy more than 100 responses, you need to upgrade to a paid plan. You also can't export your results with a free plan.

If you have a monthly plan, you may be charged for billable responses in addition to your SurveyMonkey Audience responses, if you collect over 1,000 responses in a monthly billing cycle.


Designing Your Survey

Creating Your Survey

Before you can buy survey responses, you'll need to create your survey in a SurveyMonkey account. Please review SurveyMonkey Audience Design Guidelines, which includes design requirements and best practices, to ensure a successful launch.

Demographic Information

We'll include the age range, gender, annual household income, region, and type of device used to take the survey for each respondent in your survey results. If you need other demographic info about the respondents, be sure to ask these questions in your survey. You can add pre-written survey questions to your survey from the Demographics category using our Question Bank.

Editing a Live Survey

You can edit your survey after you purchase your responses, but editing options are limited when a survey has already collected responses. Editing your survey design after you launch your project can cause issues for respondents and your results. Respondents that take your survey after you make changes will see the updated version of the survey, which may not align well with the results original version.


Buying Responses

After you create your survey, you'll head on over to the Collect Responses section of the survey to create a collector. A collector is a method of sending your survey. When buying SurveyMonkey Audience responses, you'll be creating a Targeted Audience Collector for the survey.

How to Buy Responses

To buy responses for a survey in your account:

  1. Go to the Collect Responses section of the survey you're buying responses for.
  2. Create a new collector and choose Buy Responses (if this collector type isn't available in your account, visit the Audience Marketing page and click Start Now).
  3. Select the number of completed responses you need. You need to purchase a minimum of 50 completed responses.
  4. Under Location, you'll see United States. Filter by regions, states, or major metropolitan areas, or leave the box blank to target respondents from all over the United States. To buy responses from outside the US, see SurveyMonkey Audience Global Panel.
  5. Choose the rest of your Demographics.
  6. Read the info below on High Priority Status, Incidence Rate, or Custom Balancing, if these apply to you.
  7. Review Your Order on the right side of the page. Hover over the question mark icon next to Total Cost to see a detailed pricing breakdown.
  8. Click Proceed to Checkout. You can pay using a credit or debit card or with Audience Credits. Then, confirm your order.

Once you complete your payment, we email survey invitations to respondents who match your targeting criteria, so you won't be able to edit your order or change your targeting criteria after purchase. Additionally, it's not possible to customize the invitation email.

TIP! If there aren't enough respondents who match your targeting criteria, it might be that they're already taking other surveys or that you criteria is too specific. If you can, try reducing the number of responses you need or broadening your targeting criteria. Including more regions or job functions often helps.
High Priority Status

High Priority Status speeds up the completion of your Audience project by a business day or more. SurveyMonkey Contribute respondents are paired with available High Priority Status projects before they're prompted with other open Audience projects.

To complete your project before the estimated delivery date displayed in your order, enable High Priority Status before you proceed to checkout. Once a project has started, you can't edit the priority status.


Projects are eligible for High Priority Status if:

  • You're purchasing respondents from the United States.
  • Your targeting criteria is broad.
  • Your incidence rate is greater than 50%.
  • You need less than 3,000 completed responses.
  • There are currently fewer than 5 live High Priority Status projects currently running or no more than 10,800 collective responses needed.

Enabling High Priority Status

To enable High Priority Status:

  1. In Your Order, click High Priority: Get Results by Date.
  2. In the pop-up window, check the box to Enable High Priority Status for the added price per response. If your project is not eligible, you'll see an error message.
  3. Click Save.

Disabling High Priority Status

To disable High Priority Status:

  1. In Your Order, click Disable High Priority Status.
  2. In the pop-up window, un-check the box to Enable High Priority Status.
  3. Click Save.
Incidence Rate

If your survey contains disqualification logic, you need to select an estimated incidence rate.The incidence rate you select affects the number of people we send your survey to. Lower incidence rates cost more per response since we have to send your survey to more respondents to find enough people who qualify.

You only need to choose an incidence rate if your survey contains disqualification logic. If your survey doesn't have disqualification logic, the incidence rate dropdown menu is greyed out and incidence doesn't affect your cost.

Custom Balancing

Custom balancing is available for both age and gender—you can choose the distribution of completed responses you want from each gender or age group you're targeting. For example, get 80% of your completed responses from female respondents and 20% from male respondents.

To use custom balancing:

  1. Under Basic Demographics, click Age or Gender.
  2. Choose the Custom option. Any previously selected age or gender criteria is removed so you can use the custom balancing tool.
  3. For Age, click Edit and enter the minimum and maximum age range for each group you're looking to survey. You can target 2–8 different age groups. Next enter the percentage of complete responses you want from each group (the percentages must total 100%). Each age range should be 5 years or more (18–23 works, but 18–21 doesn't), and age groups can't overlap (you can't have both 18-30 and 25-35 as age groups). Click Save once you're done.
  4. For Gender, use the slider scale to pick the percentage of responses you want from males and females.
  5. Take a look at your Project Details on the right side of the page to review your custom balancing selections and the additional cost per response.
TIP! Custom balancing restricts the pool of available people to take your survey, so you may have to buy a larger number of completed responses than you need. The exactly number is variable and depends on: the number of age group, the size of each age group, the percentage of responses for each age group, and any custom gender balancing.

Completed Responses

Due to the nature of the system, the variability of response rates, and natural margin of error, we can't guarantee that you'll get the exact number of completed responses that you specified per gender and age. There's a fault tolerance of ±5 responses per gender group and age group.

Using Both Age and Gender Balancing

You can use both custom age and gender balancing at the same time. When you do that, we combine the percentage of both gender and age balancing to determine the distribution of responses from each gender against each age group.

Let's say you're buying 500 completed responses and choose the following custom gender and age balancing settings:

  • Gender: Female 75%, Male 25%
  • Age: 18–29: 30%, When you do that, we combine the percentage of both gender and age balancing to determine the number of completed responses your project will receive.: 70%

With these custom gender and age balancing options, the system calculates how many responses each gender + age group will get like this:

  • Completed Responses (500) * Female Responses (75%) * 18-29 Age Group (30%) = 113 responses
  • Completed Responses (500) * Female Responses (75%) * 30–39 Age Group (70%) = 263 responses
  • Completed Responses (500) * Male Responses (25%) * 18-29 Age Group (30%) = 38 responses
  • Completed Responses (500) * Male Responses (25%) * 30–39 Age Group (70%) = 88 responses
Getting More Responses

You can create multiple collectors for a survey to get more responses. Get responses for different demographics by buying multiple Targeted Audience Collectors. Or send the same survey to your own respondents by creating more collector types—like a Web Link or Email Invitation—for free. All responses are stored in the Analyze Results section of the survey, and you can filter results by the different collectors.


Price Breakdown

As you make your selections in the collector, we calculate the cost of your project in the Your Order section on the right side of the collector page. Hover over the question mark icon next to Total Cost to see a detailed pricing breakdown at any time.

  • The total cost is the number of completed responses you're buying, multiplied by the price per response.
  • The price per response includes the number of questions in your survey, the targeting options you select, the estimated incidence rate of the survey, and any custom balancing you added.
  • If you need your results before the estimated delivery date, consider enabling high priority status, which adds to your total cost.
Completed Responses


Response Status
How You're Charged

Respondents who answered all required questions they saw, reached the end of the survey, and clicked the Done button.

A respondent with a completed response may have skipped required questions in the survey due to logic in your survey design. Additionally, completed responses include respondents who skip questions that were not required.

You're charged for the number of completed responses you ordered.

Occasionally, you may collect more responses than you requested—we give you those extra responses for free!


Respondents who answered all required questions they saw but were disqualified by logic in the survey design.

Disqualified responses don't count towards the total number of completed responses you ordered, but these responses do count towards the number of respondents we send the survey to based on your incidence rate and they still appear in your survey results.

You're not charged separately for disqualified responses. Instead, when you use disqualification logic in your survey design, you need to select an incidence rate, which affects the price per response.


Respondents who started the survey but exited or abandoned before completing it—they left the survey on their own.

Incomplete responses don't count towards the total number of completed responses you ordered, but these responses still appear in your survey results.

You're not charged for incomplete responses.


Number of Questions

The number of questions in a survey is directly correlated to how many people finish the survey—longer surveys take more to complete and can cause respondents to exit or abandon the survey. Therefore, longer surveys cost more per response since we have to send the survey to more respondents to find enough people who will finish.

Because survey length affects the number of respondents we can find, there's a 50-question maximum for SurveyMonkey Audience surveys.

Each question type in the survey counts as one question with an important exception: Each row in any Matrix/Rating Scale and Matrix of Dropdown Menus question you used counts as an individual question. Text and Image elements added to the survey do not count as questions.
Targeting Options

Each targeting option you select (like respondent location, gender, income, etc.) costs an additional amount per response, depending on how common or difficult it is to find among our available respondents.

Get a quote! If you're logged in to your account, follow the steps under Buying Responses to get a quote for your survey—you can play around with the options and refer to the Total Cost without proceeding to checkout. Or you can use the Audience preview page to get a general idea of pricing, even if you don't have a SurveyMonkey account or survey ready yet.


Paused Projects

If many respondents exit or abandon your survey after starting it, your survey will have a high abandon rate (or a low response rate). We automatically pause projects that have a higher than average abandon rate. If your project is paused, an Audience specialist will email the primary account holder with survey recommendations and give you an opportunity to make any necessary changes so you can improve the quality of your data.

Projects often pause if a survey is too long or confusing. Complicated Matrix questions, long or unclear introductions and consent statements can cause respondents to abandon a survey. Respondents may also abandon your survey if they feel it isn't relevant to them, so it's important you're targeting the right people.

Unfortunately, we can't reactivate a project if it pauses a second time. This is to ensure that you're receiving quality data and that our survey respondents continue to receive surveys that are relevant to them.


Your Survey Results

After you complete your purchase, you can monitor the status of your project in the Collect Responses section of the survey—just click the Targeted Audience Collector from the collector list.

As your results come in, you can view them in real time in the Analyze Results section of your survey. There are lots of ways to analyze your data:

With your Audience purchase, we automatically provide some demographic information (age range, gender, annual household income, region, and the device type used to take the survey) as additional questions at the end of your survey results. You can filter and compare your results by this info for interesting insights. You can also view a particular respondent's demographic info at the end of their response in the Individual Responses tab.

SurveyMonkey Audience allows you to buy survey responses for any survey you create on SurveyMonkey. You'll have two options for respondent location—if you're choosing respondents from the United States, then this is the article for you!

Get answers