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SurveyMonkey Audience Pricing Behind the Scenes, Part 2: How Survey Length Affects Cost

SurveyMonkey Audience Pricing Behind the Scenes, Part 2: How Survey Length Affects Cost

As noted in our last blog post, part of SurveyMonkey Audience‘s pricing model is based on the number of questions in a survey. Its length directly translates to the amount of time required for your survey taker, or respondent, to complete it.

So in other words–the longer your survey, the more likely it is that people will drop out before completing. If that happens, and more supply is wasted, then the chances for errors in survey construction becomes far greater. Quality control problems like speeding and satisficing can also start to pop up. Survey length is the most important variable in our pricing. Short surveys will be far less expensive because they require minimal operational expense.

Here are some pretty interesting facts we’ve learned over time regarding the length of a survey:

  • It only takes about 20 seconds for a respondent to answer a question, including reading all answer options carefully. Some take less time, some take more, but on average, every three questions requires a minute of someone’s time.
  • Matrix or grid questions have some fundamental challenges. They can not only hurt the quality of your data but they can lead to a clunky survey-taking experience for your respondent. Since each row of a matrix is essentially asking respondents another question, our pricing model charges customers for every row in a matrix.
  • The longer a survey, the more time it takes customers to create, review, field and analyze their data. Sometimes this isn’t a concern, but when projects start to get large and unwieldy, we often see customers cut corners in some of the wrong places.
  • In general, peoples’ attention spans are short. So we want to make sure that our customers know that asking someone to carefully respond to surveys in excess of 15 minutes (or about 45 questions) can compromise the integrity of their data. Why? When survey-takers begin to get bored, sometimes they’ll just speed through a survey which leaves you with a bunch of bad data.

When designing your next survey, try to keep this motto in mind: The Shorter Your Survey, The Better. Not only for your wallet but it can make a serious difference in your survey’s response rates!

If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments section below or send us an email to

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