Surveys: participants will give up if you ask them too much or if you ask questions they find intrusive

Posted on Sep 11, 2019

I, like most, am more likely to fill in a survey if there’s a prize at the end, or if I really want to let a company know what I think, positive or negative.

I started to fill in a survey recently and was struck by the number of seemingly irrelevant questions being asked of me.

The survey was for a food delivery service and questions included:

  1. What is the make and the model of car your family uses most often?
  2. How many homes do your family have?
  3. How often do you use the London Underground or Overground rail on weekdays?

Now, I’m sure the business could find a use for the answers, but as a respondent I couldn’t easily see what the relevance of “the make and model of my car” was, nor the benefit of telling a food delivery box company this information.

I was 80%+ through filling in the survey before I gave up.

According to surveygizmo response rates can be as high as 85% when respondents are motivated and the survey is well-executed, but they can also fall below 2% if the survey isn’t well executed or targeted.

Its important when designing a survey to think not only about what you as a business want to learn and of course prioritise your questions to not make your survey too long, but also about the perception of your users as they fill it in.

If your survey is too long or too invasive, people will start, but never complete.



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