how many questions in a survey

Are your survey response rates lower than you’d like? Are you having a hard time getting people to send back your surveys after you distribute them?

If this is the case, the issue might be the length of your survey. If it’s too long, people might get tired and stop filling it out halfway through. How do you make sure your survey’s still long enough to make the information valuable, though?

If you’re not sure how many survey questions you should ask, keep reading. Listed below are some tips to help you choose the perfect number.

Why Survey Length Matters

The length of a survey plays a key role in determining how many people will answer your questions and send the survey back to you. If you need convincing that gathering customer feedback is important for your business, you should read this article before you continue. 

If a survey is too long, there’s a good chance people won’t complete it. There’s also the possibility that they will rush through it and select answers at random, rather than giving thoughtful responses that provide actual benefits to your company. 

A long survey could even lead to a customer asking to be unsubscribed from your email list, something no business wants to experience! 

On the flip side, a survey that’s too short won’t provide a lot of valuable data. You’ll be wasting time and resources if you make your survey so short that it doesn’t really tell you anything about the people responding to it. 

How Many Survey Questions Should I Use?

Okay, clearly there’s a bit of a Goldilocks phenomenon going on here when it comes to sending out surveys. 

It’s important to note, though, that there isn’t one right answer to the question of “how long should I make my survey?” The answer depends on a lot of factors, including the following:

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

It’s best if you can narrow down the purpose of your survey to accomplish one specific goal. If you want to gather more information about one particular topic (assessment of a new product, review of a recent purchase experience, etc.), you’ll have an easier time shortening the survey and increasing the likelihood that people will complete it.

What Kind of Data Do You Want?

The type of data you’re gathering will impact the length of the survey, too. If you’re only doing quantitative research and asking closed-ended questions (yes/no, multiple-choice, etc.), you can likely make the survey longer than if you’re gathering qualitative data and asking open-ended questions. 

How Are People Taking the Survey?

The length of the survey (and the number of people who are willing to complete it) will vary depending on how people are taking it. For example, people are more willing to take a longer survey on a desktop computer than on a mobile device since it’s easier to answer and navigate their way through it.

General Rules

There’s a lot to keep in mind when deciding how long to make a survey. 

As a general rule, though, researchers have found that it’s best if surveys can be completed in less than 10 minutes. Completion rates start to drop off around the 7-8 minute mark, so consider only using the number of questions that people can complete within that timeframe. 

This might not seem like a lot of time. Depending on the type of questions you’re asking, though, it’s plenty of time to gather some useful data without being too much of a nuisance to your respondents. 

If you absolutely cannot make your survey shorter, you might need to sweeten the deal for the people responding to it. Offering an incentive (a discount, an entry into a drawing, etc.) can help to keep people motivated to stick it out and finish the survey. 

Update Your Survey Length Today

When it comes to surveys, it’s often in your best interest to keep them short and sweet. If you’ve been wondering how many survey questions you should use, hopefully, you now have more insight into how the length of your surveys might be affecting your response rate. 

Keep this information in mind when putting together your next survey. That way, you can ensure it’s not too long and will increase the number of people who complete it and give you the valuable data your business needs.

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