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Survey Tips

Surveying teenagers? Here are four things you should do

Surveying teenagers? Here are four things you should do

Nearly all teens (89%) access the internet several times a day.

Most use it as a time to check their social media accounts, many go shopping, and some take surveys.

So is there anything you should do differently when surveying teens instead of older adults?

To find out, we used SurveyMonkey Audience to ask 111 teens about their experiences of and preferences for taking surveys. Here are our top four takeaways:

Teens devote more time to taking surveys on Fridays, and like the general adult population, they’re more likely to take surveys on weekdays than weekends.

The time of day also matters; the weekday response rate is highest between the hours of 8am and 5pm.

So avoid surveying them late in the afternoon or during the very early morning hours. You’ll be rewarded with more survey responses.

Teens use several social media channels, often.

In our recent poll with Common Sense Media, we found 86% of those 13 to 17 years old say they use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat.  We also found that most teens use social media on a daily basis.

Here’s a breakdown on their rate of social media use:

Frequency of usePercent of teens
More than once a day53%
A few times a week12%
Less than a few times a month15%

So use your presence on social media to collect feedback from teenagers. You can do so by using our Social Media Collector, which allows you to put your survey on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Linkedin.

 Teens take more than 6 out of every 10 online surveys with a smartphone or tablet.

What does this mean for your survey? Make sure it's easy to to take on a mobile device.

1. Only use the images and videos that are essential. Adding either of these elements can lengthen your survey load time.

2. Avoid matrix questions whenever possible. They take up a lot of screen space and may not be viewable all at once. Also, they’re more time consuming to answer. If you’re set on using a matrix question, try to minimize the number of rows and columns you include.

3. Stay away from open-ended (comment box) questions. Typing in a response on a mobile device is time consuming, which can compromise the respondents’ patience for offering thoughtful feedback.

Bottom line: Focus on using single or multiple-answer multiple choice questions. They’re the fastest to answer and look the best on a mobile device.

Related: Learn everything you need about optimizing surveys on mobile in our how-to guide.

Like any group of people, teens have their own motivations for taking surveys. When we asked the teens in our study about why they take surveys, a set of patterns emerged. In the table below, we've organized those patterns into survey-taking personas that may help you find ways to survey teens better.

PersonaDescriptionSurvey Strategy
Recreational RickTaking surveys is a way to “pass time” and can even be fun and entertaining.Gets bored of serious topics fast. Survey him on topics like lifestyle, entertainment, and culture.
Practical PatriciaTakes surveys to donate to charities and occasionally receives some reward from taking surveys.Isn’t picky about survey topics and willing to take many surveys per week.
Insightful InezHas strong opinions on social and political issues and wants to express her opinions.Politics and social issues are perfect survey topics for Inez.
Studious SamStarted taking online surveys because his teacher and family members encouraged him to do so.Doesn’t have a strong motivation to keep taking surveys. Avoid overwhelming him with too many.

Teens want a survey experience that caters to their needs and preferences. By being cautious about when you send your survey, making it mobile friendly, putting it on social media, and accounting for their persona, you’ll give them a better survey experience.