We all get online-surveys from time to time. Depending on the subject they take from two minutes to almost an hour.

If I like a brand, a product or a company I am always willing to support them and to give honest and fair feedback. But sometimes the survey is so annoying that I cannot be bothered completing it. Probably I am not alone with this symptom.

I guess there is a large percentage of people that start the survey but abort it after a very short time. From my point of view there are three key elements that should be taken into account if companies want their surveys to be completed.

What Is the Purpose of this Survey?

Typically, companies give you a more or less believable reason why they need your answer. If it is missing I will delete the e-mail straight away.

Only Ask Relevant Questions

If you are – like me – almost constantly online you cannot avoid feeding Google with a lot of records about your activities and also develop a sense of how much you want to reveal about yourself and your life. So you are careful with your answers.

I expect the questions to be relevant for purpose stated on the invitation e-mail. Recently I received a request form an e-learning platform which wanted to make sure that their suggestions are accurate to their audience’s preference.

Of course they want to know if I knew their competitors, if I studied at a University etc.

But why did they ask about my income? Of course there are many reasons this information might be of interest but not for the indicated purpose. Moreover, I thought that this is none of their business and closed the browser window.

Respect Time

“Take 3 minutes for our survey”. That’s fine and I open it. Just formulate the questions as clearly that 3 minutes will suffice to answer them. I observe quite frequently that you open the survey and find yourself confronted with 20 questions, each with 10 possible answers plus an “other reasons” field. Clearly, it will take more than three minutes with tests the users’ tolerance.

No doubt there are studies that require 45 minutes from you. If you signed up for them because after some weeks the company will share the results with you your time might be a very good investment.

If you have other aspects to be taken into account I am curious to learn about them.


  1. One of the biggest gripes I have about surveys is when you’ve indicated you don’t know anything about a company or their products and they proceed to ask you only questions about that company and their products. You’d think someone would figure out how to change the parameters of a survey if you answer something that takes you away from giving them what they apparently need.

    • Hi Mitch, thanks for your comment, I appreciate it. So far I did not get a survey of a product or company I did not know about but I totally agree that the first question should be: “do you know xyz?”. Never thought of it though.
      P.S. I DID read your about page :-). Have a great day. Brigitte

      • I’ve been a part of something called eRewards for some years now. I mainly stick with it because I can earn Hilton Honors points 🙂 Many of the surveys that come through not only talk about products I don’t know but I’m often eliminated from the process just after I give all my demographic information… something else that irks me!

        • That is really unfair. I normally tend to be very secretive if it comes to too much information to be given. Maybe that is why I never came in this situation.

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