SurveyMonkey Audience Design Guidelines

If you're buying survey responses using SurveyMonkey Audience, please review our design requirements and best practices to ensure a successful project.

TIP! Watch our SurveyMonkey Audience video tutorials to get a better idea of what it's like to launch your own project.

Survey Design Requirements

We have some design requirements in place for surveys sent through SurveyMonkey Audience to help ensure you have a successful project—if your survey doesn't meet the requirements, you may not be able to buy responses or your project may be paused.

Please also review SurveyMonkey Audience Policies to ensure your project meets our survey content policy.

Ask 50 questions or less

Research shows that very long surveys often cause satisficing—when respondents speed through surveys just to get to the end, instead of taking the time to provide thoughtful responses. To continue delivering the best survey-taking experience to our respondents, we require that surveys contain 50 questions or less.

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 use counts as an individual question. Text and Image elements added to the survey do not count as questions.

Don't add a Quota

Since a Quota can interfere with settings we have in place to get you all the completed responses you purchased, you're not able to use a Quota in your survey design. Instead of adding a quota, use multiple Audience collectors to gather the respondent sampling you need.

Always check Skip Logic paths

When using Skip Logic or Advanced Branching, make sure to double-check that all your paths are working correctly. If not, we'll show you a warning when you try to buy responses. Be sure to review any question logic or page logic for accuracy, and place any question using skip logic on its own page or as the last question on a survey page.

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.

Require at least one question

You need to have at least one required question in your survey design.

We typically recommend making all questions required, as this ensures respondents who see the question must provide an answer. Use skip logic to skip respondents over questions that may not be completely relevant or applicable

Don't use File Upload questions

The File Upload question type can’t be added to your survey if you’re buying survey responses. You won’t be able to proceed to checkout if you have this question type in your survey.

Remove questions asking for contact or personal information

Please make sure to follow our content policy—do not to collect names, emails, phone numbers, other contact details, sensitive information, or other personally identifiable information.

Don't add links that take people outside the survey

Please make sure to follow our content policy—do not include links that take respondents outside of the survey to view content. Instead, you can add images or videos to your survey design.

TIP! You should always preview a survey at desktop, tablet, and mobile resolutions and on different browsers to see it as respondents will.

Survey Design Best Practices

Having run thousands of projects, we've learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to designing a survey to send through SurveyMonkey Audience. Research shows that very long or complicated surveys often cause satisficing—when respondents speed through surveys just to get to the end, instead of taking the time to provide thoughtful responses. Follow these best practices and you'll be on your way to launching a successful project!

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

Generally, we suggest that customers use a variety of question types.

Avoid using too many open-ended questions, like Textboxes and Comment Boxes, because it causes satisficing.

Be especially cautious when using Matrix/Rating Scale and Matrix of Dropdown Menus questions. We suggest a maximum of 5 matrix questions per survey with no more than 5 columns and 5 rows per question. Remember—each row in any Matrix/Rating Scale and Matrix of Dropdown Menus question you use counts as an individual question. Our methodology guidelines recommend breaking these question types into individual Multiple Choice questions.

We also suggest avoiding Ranking questions—respondents find them hard to use, especially when there are many options to rank.

Write short introductions and consent statements

We suggest survey introductions or consent forms with 250 characters or less.

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

We've found that short, simple surveys sent through SurveyMonkey Audience have higher response rates. We recommend splitting long survey pages into multiple pages to help avoid respondent fatigue.

Long pages of questions can be daunting, and can take longer to load and save, so try not to include more than 5-10 questions per page. Group questions by logical theme or subject so respondents can easily focus their thoughts and quickly proceed through the survey.

Add "Other" as an answer option

Ensure respondents have an answer option to choose when other answer options don't apply. If you add Other to a required question, make sure you select to display this option as an answer choice (not as a comment field) so as not to force respondents to choose an inaccurate answer choice in order to proceed through the survey.

Keep videos short and resize images

Try not to include more than one video in your survey, and aim to keep it under 90 seconds. Longer videos can cause respondents to drop out, or they may simply skip the video and answer the questions without the context of the video.

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 respondents who might not fit into your ideal audience.

And it's okay to ask more from disqualified respondents. Why not ask those respondents some additional questions before you send them out of the survey? If they don't meet your survey criteria, consider asking some follow-up questions so you can learn more about them. For example, learning 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

Think about how you want to filter your results—do you want to compare two different demographics?

When you buy responses using SurveyMonkey Audience, we include some demographic info for each respondent in your survey results. The exact info depends on if you're getting responses from SurveyMonkey Contribute, SM Rewards, or if you're getting global responses.

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. We have some questions that work great for SurveyMonkey Audience customers—try browsing the Market Research category to get started. You can filter by Brand Research, Consumer Research, Design Feedback, Investment Research, Online & Mobile, Purchase Intent, and more.

Don't edit the survey after you buy responses

Editing the survey design after you buy responses 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. And respondents in the middle of taking your survey while you're making changes will be forced back to the beginning of the survey.

Instead, make sure you preview your survey before you send it out, or consider buying a smaller targeted audience first to get an idea of the kinds of responses you're getting, and decide if you want to make adjustments to the design before buying a larger targeted audience.

Hide required asterisks, titles, and progress bars

We recommend editing the design options to hide asterisks from required questions, to hide the survey title and page titles, and to hide the progress bar. This will reduce bias and discourage speeding or satisficing through the survey.

Establish one clear goal and a few subtopics for your survey

Decide exactly what you want to know and use that to focus your survey objectives. We recommend one survey goal and a few subtopics, as this can streamline the survey creation process and simplify the analysis phase.

Don't know where to begin? Read our SurveyMonkey Audience Survey Writing Guide to get in-depth survey-writing and methodology tips. If you're a student or educator, you may also be interested in SurveyMonkey Audience for Academics.

Maintaining Confidentiality

You may be using SurveyMonkey Audience to test new concepts or products for your company, and we understand that this information can be highly sensitive. While there is no way to guarantee that respondents won't share the information they see in your survey, follow these design tips to ensure that the information you're presenting in the survey (1) can't be traced back to your brand and (2) won't reach your competitors.

Remove direct references to your brand

Avoid including your company's logo, motto, website, brand messaging, product images, or anything else that would allow respondents 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 allows you to receive feedback on new visual assets while keeping your company's 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 respondents 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 respondents 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.

Ready to launch your project? You can buy responses in a matter of minutes and watch your results roll in.