Who’s Answering Your Survey? Validation Made Simple

online survey respondents should be validated

online survey respondents should be validatedSoliciting consumer feedback before, during, and after launching a new business venture is a great way to figure out how you’re measuring up in the eyes of your customers. You never want to assume you know how your target market (30 to 45 year old working mothers, for example) feels about what you’re doing, especially since it’s so easy to ask them yourself. The good news for marketers, whether you’re working at a big company or a small startup, is that there are a number of tools available to help you with the task of reaching out to survey your target market, no matter your budget or level of expertise.

Send an online survey to learn more about your customers, how they feel about your newest products, what they’d like to see from you in the future, and what kind of messaging is going to be most impactful on them. You have the option of surveying your customers directly, or you can go through a third party panel company to purchase the opinions of your target respondents. At SurveyMonkey, we offer SurveyMonkey Audience to connect you with the customers and stakeholders you’d most like to reach.

But what if your survey respondent, who says she’s a 35-year-old Mexican American who works in the health care industry and has 2 kids, is actually an 18-year-old white, out-of-work mechanic named Frank? The decisions you make with the results of your customer satisfaction survey are only as reliable as the information you have about the people taking your survey.

At SurveyMonkey, we have entire teams working to figure out the best ways to validate the identity of survey panelists. The TrueSample team is working on RealCheck Postal and RealCheck Social, solutions that verify the identity of survey respondents through their name and address and email address, respectively. This two-handed approach to survey respondent validation is meant to confirm the identity of even hard to validate respondents, like 18 to 24 year olds (sorry Frank).

We also have Dr. Phil and his team of survey methodologists who are working to identify those pesky satisficers, people who speed through your survey without giving it the time and attention that it deserves. Dr. Phil’s method relies on Bayesian inference, a method which identifies logical non-sequiturs (a respondent identifying as a man, for example, and then in a later question answering “yes,” he has in fact been pregnant in the last 3 years).

Validating the identity of survey respondents is both an art and a science, but the good news is that you’re not alone in your quest for the best, most reliable survey respondents.  There are some very smart people who toss and turn at night, unable to sleep thinking about the best way to validate your respondents for you. Seriously. Because better, validated survey respondents means more reliable survey results. More reliable survey results mean better decisions based off of those results. And better decision making makes you look good, which makes us feel good. Everybody wins. Except for Frank.

One comment

  1. 1

    Hi Hana, are there any stats available confirming SurveyMonkey’s surveys to be reliable and valid? I want to use it for a research project and have to prove validity and reliability.

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