December Article

The Secret to Getting People to Answer Your Survey?

By SurveyBeta

Published 12/1/21


The answer is simple, they must at least be a little fun to complete. Obviously, if you’re making surveys as part of a medical study or for some academic purpose this doesn’t apply but we’re going to assume if you’re reading this article then this isn’t you. 


There are such a wild variety of distractions on the internet all vying to capture your attention. To win you need to work hard. A stuffy survey of very uniform questions that are worded like a school exam will not pull a user through to the end of your questionnaire. A notification, pop-up or another tab will grab attention away from your survey and leave you with an uncompleted entry.  


Step one to making your surveys more fun is simply one of aesthetics. A more attractive survey is more likely to be completed. Tools for making webpages look good and applications for creating eye-catching surveys are easy to use and accessible. A website building platform such as WordPress has page creation software such as Elementor that can be used to create full featured websites containing surveys and questionnaires. And popular survey making platforms such as Survey Monkey are filled to the brim with a huge variety of templates and layouts. Choosing the right font, colour scheme and layout are key to making a survey fun to complete and getting these parts right will certainly increase the completion rate of any given survey.  


Now that the stage is set, we can concentrate on the wording of the questions. When writing for public consumption it is sometimes appealing to try and use the full power and range of our impressive vocabularies. But, we must exercise caution here. Using words that are easy to understand and simple to read wins over writing something that sounds clever, every time. We can use an example to illustrate this point.  


We could word a question like this :

1. In the evening, what type of foodstuff would you elect to consume? 


Or we could word it like this :

1. For dinner, what’s your favourite food of all time? 


The second question is less formal, it requires less understanding of the language and is quicker to process. These are all strengths. We want as many people as possible to answer our questions. By using more complicated words we reduce those numbers. 


Sometimes it’s ok to “go off script”. Read back through the questions in your survey. If they all seem a bit samey or they start to drag, it might be a good idea to throw an unusual question into the mix. It doesn’t matter if the question doesn’t really provide you with some useful information, this special question is just to increase user engagement. In the middle of a survey about dogs you could, for example, ask “Would you rather own a dog that could fit in your pocket or one that could pull you in a sleigh?”. A question like this might raise a smile from the user and get them to continue through the survey.  


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