Surveys · Beta users

What is the best way to have people fill out your online surveys?

Eduardo Fonseca Cloud Architect, Senior .NET Software Engineer

July 27th, 2015

I am trying to further validate an argument using surveys.
I have shared it in social networks(Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Twitter), but is still around only 16 answers, where most of those are from my friends, the survey has almost 3 weeks from being created.

I'd like to know better strategies to have people filling online surveys.
I'm considering printing them as last resort because I'm trying to save on paper

Scott McGregor Advisor, co-founder, consultant and part time executive to Tech Start-ups. Based in Silicon Valley.

July 27th, 2015

If you don't have a lot of TWO-WAY regular engagement with people on social networks don't expect them to even notice your survey, let alone fill it out.   Expect about a 0.5% response rate at best.  

If you need more survey answers than you getting, you either need to: 1) increase reach to cover your low response rate, or 2) generate more interest per exposure to increase response or 3) both. 

You can increase reach by buying more exposures with Facebook Ads, Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads...  You can also do directly email by buying mailing lists or responses from SurveyMonkey, ConstantComment, etc.  Or buy survey respondents using Amazon Mechanical Turk.   This is usually the "easiest" and "fastest" way to increase your total responses, as long as you have money to throw at the problem, because typically you use pay per response approaches, so the social networks can flood their networks till you've got the responses you paid for. 

The alternative is to generate more interest for each exposure.    Filling out a survey is an unrewarding time consuming activity.   You need to find some other way to make it rewarding enough for someone to take that time instead of do something else.  Many surveyors offer a gift card or some cash compensation, or if the surveyor offers a product or service some kind of discount or freebie.  

An alternative to paying everyone who responds is to run a contest and offer a single prize or small number of prizes to a few respondents selected randomly.  As you might guess, you'll have more respondents if the chances of winning appear to be high, and fewer respondents if the changes of winning are low, or the prize isn't that valuable. 

Keep in mind that monetary and prize incentives and ad selection bias can skew your results.  Results tend to be most accurate when having accurate results is also most valuable to the survey participant. 

Eleanor Carman Incoming BLP Sales Associate at LinkedIn

July 27th, 2015

I think it's important to remember that most people will only fill out a survey if when it benefits them and/or they get a benefit from sharing it. Maybe provide an incentive for sharing the survey and that will increase your audience and thus the number of responses you receive. 


July 27th, 2015

I am worried about running foul of rules here, but I help out a firm called (and I just mentioned them in another response, so might be seen as pitching - not my intention). They use databases from places like Google, and can get you thousands.