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Behind The Scenes: How We Determine SurveyMonkey Audience Pricing

Behind The Scenes: How We Determine SurveyMonkey Audience Pricing

Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran in survey design, SurveyMonkey Audience gives you the ability to choose a specific target demographic for whatever your survey goals may be.

Our goal is to help boost your survey project to the next level and get you the insights you need. So now you’re ready to start your first SurveyMonkey Audience project…what should you be aware of? How much does it cost to get started? And how did we come to those numbers anyway? Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look, shall we?

We wanted to help explain our pricing philosophy so you can be better informed with how it impacts the cost of your survey projects.

When thinking about our pricing model, we always strive to maintain two key virtues:

  • Transparency: We want customers to be able to know how we price. We use a formula to determine pricing for every Audience project, and we are open to provide the details of each element in our pricing structure.
  • Fairness: We try to match the costs we incur and value we create to the way we price our offering. And we strive to make sure that no customer pays more than another for the same product.

Since we reward every respondent who completes an Audience survey, we have to consider our costs in our pricing model. But we also want to make sure that those costs align with the value our customers get from our product.

Not surprisingly, the challenge involved in delivering our product and the value that our customers gain from SurveyMonkey Audience are tightly correlated. The harder it is for us to deliver our product, the more valuable it is for our customers.

We mentioned ‘challenge’. What kinds of challenges do we face with an Audience project that makes it more or less costly for us to deliver? How should customers think about the value we provide and how does that affect project pricing?

The main components in our pricing model come in four parts:

1) Survey Length: We charge based on the number of questions in a survey, which is directly correlated to the amount of time required for a respondent to complete a survey. The longer the survey, the more people will drop out. The more “supply” that is “wasted”, the more chances there are for errors in survey design and increased risk of quality control issues like satisficing (and don’t worry, that’s not a typo). Since length is the most important variable in our pricing, it makes short surveys very inexpensive since they incur minimal operational expense.

2) Targeting: The harder your targeted Audience is to find (i.e., moms who are vegetarians who have smartphones but don’t own tablets, etc.) the more work we have to do to find them. Certain groups are also more difficult to reach and may have higher or lower survey invitation “open and complete” rates. So we charge more for attributes that we believe customers find more valuable.

3) Incidence: While we can often use our targeting to narrow down respondent groups and increase the “effective incidence”, screening out respondents is still often required. In our business model, we still provide rewards to respondents whether they’re screened out or complete a full survey. We do this because it has shown positive effects to member engagement and data quality. We also work with other data providers who use variable reward amounts based on the number of questions answered.

So while we don’t charge the same amount that we charge for a fully completed response when respondents are screened out of a survey, we still charge a fee to support our costs. This cost is factored into our “per complete” price.

4) Complexity: When customers require complex rules, restrictions or quotas that our automated tools may not support without manual intervention, it requires more work from our team, and creates more possibilities for errors. While we seek to avoid manual processes, some are required for certain projects to ensure we can help our customers make better decisions using our products. When highly custom requirements are required for a project, we charge additional fees based on the extent of the complexity.

Our pricing model and our self-service tool (which can be found within your existing SurveyMonkey account) have done a few key things:

  • Decreased prices significantly for customers who typically run shorter surveys
  • Increased prices for customers who have longer surveys
  • Helped educate customers on how the length of time required to complete a survey can have real data integrity issues (and cost more to complete)

There you have it, survey fans–our comprehensive approach to pricing for SurveyMonkey Audience!

Stay tuned for more–we’ll take you through some of the interesting facts about survey length, which have helped us formulate our pricing models. If you want to know whether you need more survey responses, check out our sample size calculator.

Questions? Let us know in the Comments section below or you can contact us at

Image courtesy of BigStock photo.


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8 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes: How We Determine SurveyMonkey Audience Pricing

  1. Bennett Wolk says:

    I was a long time user of Market Tools Zoomerang, which I liked very much. While my account was converted over to Survey Monkey, I have yet to use an actual survey project with Survey Monkey. However, I have created some sample surveys in Survey Monkey and have noticed that there are more limited features in Survey Monkey than there were in Zoomerang, which is disappointing. Further, Zoomerang never charged for their sample audience based on the length of the survey. The cost for the audience was based on whatever criteria they used (which I don’t know what they were, but probably sample size, incidence in population/specific screening criteria, etc.). However, length of survey (or number of questions) was never a factor used in determining cost of a project. I am disappointed to learn in your most recent correspondence that “length of survey” is one of the criteria used to estimate cost for audience/sample.


    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi Bennett,

      Thank you for your feedback and thoughtful comment. We definitely appreciate hearing from our customers and getting their thoughts. We’ll share this with our team and again, thanks for being a great customer and don’t hesitate to let us know if there’s anything we can help you with or if there are other questions you have.


  2. Marliese Eichelsdorfer says:

    I need to send surveys out, and after Zoomerang, I had to use your survey. At this time, I am looking around for another Company, because the process you set up and the verbage is geared more for a programmer then the average person, who uses the system because this is the way to go today.

    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi Marliese! Thank you for the feedback, we appreciate it. If you’re willing, we’d love to know what particular part of the survey design process is holding you up? Anything we can help with?

  3. Wendy Price says:

    Could you please share with us what quality control measures you are taking (e.g., if you need to use another source, you are checking for duplicates) and how you adjust for questionable responses (e.g., the respondent who completes a survey too quickly, i.e. should take 10 minutes and they complete it in 4 minutes)?

    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi Wendy,

      From Brent: This is a great question. Our primary approach has been to create a business model that inherently protects against problems that legacy panel businesses face. With our Contribute member group, using a charity incentive and limiting the invitation frequency has resulted in things like duplication and speeding not being a problem. So we are trying to manage quality on the front end so that we don’t need to clean up for it on the back end. When we use alternate sources such as ZoomPanel and partner panels, we have the option of using TrueSample verification to avoid duplicates. We will from time to time see speeding issues on longer surveys, and our policy is to not charge for these and replace the responses when customers bring issues to our attention. In terms of quality control, the pricing model we describe in this article is built to help avoid problems that are inherent with longer surveys (like speeding) before they arise.

      Let us know if you have any other questions, thanks for reading!

  4. Su Lin says:

    I’ve got a survey already created on Survey Monkey. I currently only have 50 responses and I need about 500 by the end of the week. Please let me know if you’d be able to get 450 random Malaysians to participate in my survey by end of the week and at what cost.

    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi Su, yep we certainly do! We have a large global partner network for international markets. Please provide us with your email address and we will have our sales team reach out.

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