What is the optimal online survey length?

This blog post is a series of posts all related to online surveys and how to create an ultimately amazing one for your respondents to complete.

The information I am going to show you today has all come from in-depth research I have conducted for my blog and has taken a number of months and years to complete. With this in mind, if you wish to use any of the statistics or information, please ask me for permission before doing so.

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A good online survey should consider both your needs for data and the capabilities and experiences of the respondents. It should also collect complete, accurate and reliable data.

SO WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF ONLINE SURVEYS?

The connection between the number of questions in an online survey and the time spent answering each question is not the same as you may well know.

The more questions you ask, the less time your respondents spend, on average, answering each question.

In other terms, the more questions and answers you wish to find out from your participants, then they will “speed” through it, and therefore, the quality and reliability of your data can suffer:

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On average, participants took over a minute to answer the first question in an online survey, including any time spent reading through instructions. Respondents spend on average 5 minutes in total, answering a 10 question online survey.

You can see from the table above, participants took more time per question when responding to shorter online surveys compared to longer surveys.

In essence, the longer the online survey, the less time participants will interact and think about each question on its own merit.

 

COULD WE ASSUME THAT LONGER SURVEYS CONTAIN LESS THOROUGH ANSWERS?

Not always, it depends on the type of online survey, the audience, and the relationship of participants to the surveyor, among other factors such as participants lifestyles and motivations.

The research I conducted actually shows that the longer an online survey is, the less time respondents spend answering each question.

In addition to the decreased time spent answering each question as surveys grow in length, survey abandon rates (participants who quit the survey before completing) increased for those that took more than 8 minutes to complete.

WHAT NEXT?

Amongst other top-tips, I am giving away a FREE e-book with all sorts of information and helpful hints for you when creating an online survey.

Its free to download

BY CLICKING HERE!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

Take survey completion time into consideration as you design your next online survey.

Make sure you’re balancing your participant’s profile and online survey goals with the total number of questions you’re asking so you can get the best data possible for the decisions you need to make.

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