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How to Keep Your Survey Respondents Happy on Mobile

How to Keep Your Survey Respondents Happy on Mobile

It’s a fact that people are relying increasingly on their mobile devices and smartphones for everything from shopping for the perfect gift to finding the perfect restaurant. Last fall, Apple announced that consumers now have 1 million apps available to choose from in their App Store. Optimizing for mobile has become a top priority for many businesses in order to keep up with this evolving trend.

As you design your next SurveyMonkey survey, keep in mind that many of your respondents may be taking it on the go while on their phone or tablet. Ever wonder what kinds of things can impact your mobile survey’s completion rate? We’re here to share a few of the things we’ve observed as well as some quick tips to help optimize your survey for those folks who are away from their desktops.

Let’s take a look!

The above graph shows that regardless of day of week a survey is taken, mobile takers have a completion rate between ~2.5% to ~7.5% lower than non-mobile takers.

The above graph shows that regardless of day of week a survey is taken, mobile takers have a completion rate between ~2.5% to ~7.5% lower than non-mobile takers.

The first thing you might assume about your survey’s length is that the longer it is the less likely a person will complete it if they’re on a mobile device. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. We’ve learned that the number of questions on the survey does not impact the completion rate for people who complete the survey on mobile vs. non-mobile. Whether you have five, fifteen, or thirty questions in your survey, the device that the survey taker is using does not impact whether they will complete it.

The same is true about the number of pages. The real impact lies in how many questions are on each page. There is a point where scrolling on a mobile device negatively impacts completion rate more so than going to the next page. So keep it “scroll-lite” and resist the urge to make your survey so long that respondents find themselves getting a thumb-ache.

Another tip to keep in mind when creating a mobile-friendly survey are the question types. Adding a multiple choice question has a positive impact on mobile completion rates because this question type makes it easier for people to answer when taking on a smaller screen, and while balancing coffee in the other hand!

As you can probably guess, using essays and open response question types (where a keyboard really comes in handy) have a negative impact on mobile survey completion rates. Similarly, complex matrix and image question types can also be tough for survey takers on the go. What about the demographic question type? Good news. There’s minimal impact on mobile vs. non-mobile completion. The success of completion with these question types is more dependent on whether your respondent wants to provide this information–name, address, age, etc.

Mobile vs. Non Mobile Completion Rate - Questions Types Delta

All in all? In addition to following general survey best practices, our main recommendations for giving people a great survey-taking experience on mobile is to limit the number of questions per page and limit question types to simple multiple choice questions. If neither are options this time around? Consider increasing the number of people you’re asking to take your survey and then allow for more time to get you that magic number of responses.

Looking for more tips on mobile? Let Kelsey know in the Comments section below!

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  • Eileen

    Is it possible to use smiley faces (Happy- Neutral – Sad) for a rating scale instead of click buttons? I think these would be particularly useful on mobile surveys

    • MFsurveymonkey

      Hi Eileen! That sounds awesome! At the moment it won’t be possible to do that, but we love that idea! Thanks for the suggestion :)
      We’ll bring this to the development team, and maybe in a near future! In the meantime it’ll have to be the good old click buttons.

  • Amy

    Do you have a recommended tablet for using survey monkey?

  • Ted Kniker

    Why doesn’t the drag and drop feature for Ranking questions work on the iPad? Is there a setting to get it to work?

    • MFsurveymonkey

      Hi Ted! You should be able to do that in your ipad for sure! Mobile devices can be a bit tricky in this regard though, since it’s not always clear if you are attempting to “scroll up and down on the page” or are just trying to “drag and drop” answer options, so this could be causing the confusion in your ipad’s behavior. I would recommend to keep trying, and keep your movements on the screen slow and precise.

  • MFsurveymonkey

    Hi Vincenzo! Can you please give us a little bit more context? In what way are you not seeing the same layout? Thanks.

  • MFsurveymonkey

    Hi Ahmet! This was a study our survey experts conducted to give you some insight on how having your respondents answer via mobile or desktop could make a difference in the completion rate. It’s not really something you can automatically see in your own surveys.
    Feel free to review some of the best practices we recommend for mobile surveys here:
    For more informaiton about response rates, you can take a peek here:

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