SurveyMonkey Review (2020)

We conducted a series of survey system tests and today we bring to you, dear reader, the SurveyMonkey review. Our intent was to build a simple questionnaire and test how SurveyMonkey works, what features it offers (in both free and paid versions), and how user-friendly the platform is for the common user.

Test survey questionnaire

We created a short questionnaire with an introduction page, 6 questions, and a thank-you page:

  • Page 1: Text invitation (incl. image and custom button text)
  • Page 2: Single (radio) question + other
  • Page 3: NPS scale 0-10 + Open text on the same page (ideally show the second open-end question only if answered  0-8 in the NPS.
  • Page 4: Sort 6 items
  • Page 5: Multi-question (checkboxes) with max 3. answers
  • Page 6: Open-end text area
  • Thank you page

Survey designer

SurveyMonkey offers many functions, so I needed a few minutes to get familiar with the survey builder and discover the rules of how the system generally works. I found some items on the designer page quite confusing – they are highlighted, but not crucial for the design process (buttons, progress bar, titles).

There are two ways how to add a new question: either by clicking the green button ‘New question’ or by selecting the requested question type from the left column. Some question types are clear; whereas other need an explanation or examples to correctly ascertain their purpose.

Introduction page

An introduction page is just a simple text page, without any question to fill in. I couldn’t find the feature in the first attempt because the text page is not accessible from the green button menu. Later, I noticed it is available in the left menu (Intro page). You can use several basic HTML tags in the visual editor (bold, underline, italic, text alignment, URL link, text color). If you need to attach an image, you can link it from another website – the file upload is not possible in the visual editor.

Question types in SurveyMonkey

  • Multiple Choice
  • Checkboxes
  • Image Choice
  • Dropdown
  • Star Rating
  • Matrix/Rating
  • File Upload
  • Slider
  • Matrix of Dropdown Menus
  • Ranking
  • NPS
  • Single Textbox
  • Multiple Textboxes
  • Comment Box
  • Contact Information
  • Date/Time
  • Text
  • Image
  • Text A/B Test
  • Image A/B Test

If you aren’t a market researcher or advanced user, you will probably need only a few basic types – single choice, checkbox, NPS, text box, contact. All are included in the free plan.

Single (radio buttons): I couldn’t find the most basic type – single categorical (radio buttons, select one item from the list). The name ‘Multiple choice’ is confusing – why isn’t it a ‘Single choice’?

You can type all answers manually, or paste them all at once with Bulk answers, each answer in a separate row. The answers can be edited with the visual editor, you can change the format of specific words to bold, italic, underline them, or show an image or video instead of the text answer.

The system tries to guess the question type according to the question text. This is a very nice and useful feature, and it really works well in most cases!

You can adjust your question in many ways – required answer, layout (columns, horizontal), answer randomization and sorting in the question options (even in the free version).

Question logic – “if the answer is… then skip to page..” is a paid feature as in most survey systems.

Other question types work similarly. I tried checkboxes, comment boxes, NPS (Net Promoter Score) and drag & drop ranking. Everything went smoothly.

Page logic is available in paid plans only – skip logic, question randomization, page randomization. However basic surveys don’t use these features so often.

Redirection to an external page after completion of the questionnaire (end link) – yes, paid function.

Custom URL – all questionnaires are on the Surveymonkey.com domain by default. The paid option lets you use the Research.net domain instead of Survemonkey.com. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any way how to use a custom subdomain e.g. survey.mydomain.com.

Templates

SurveyMonkey offers a wide range of templates:

  • for questionnaires
  • for questions (in Question bank)
  • for answers

Survey appearance and layout

You can choose the main layout from these options: single-page layout (all question at once), multi-page layout or chat-style layout.

Typography: no customization is available in the free version. In paid versions, you can change typography (font face, size, weight, underlining) for titles, questions and answers.

Colors: No custom colors available in the free version. You can choose colors for titles, questions, answers, accents, and backgrounds in the paid plans.

Branding: no branding is possible in the free plan, your questionnaire will have the SurveyMonkey logo and link at the bottom.

Typography: no customization is available in the free version. In paid versions, you can change the typography (font face, size, weight, underlining) for titles, questions and answers.

Colors: There are 10 basic graphic themes in the free version and several others in the paid versions. No custom colors are available in the free version. You can choose colors for titles, questions, answers, accents, and backgrounds in paid plans.

Branding: no branding (even not your logo in the header) is possible in the free plan. Your questionnaire will have the SurveyMonkey logo and link at the bottom. If you want to show your logo, you can paste it into the invitation page text.

Progress bar can be visible, invisible and you can choose its position on top or the bottom of the page.

Question numbers and page numbers can be switched on/off, too.

If you use the free version, a big self-promo for SurveyMonkey will be displayed to respondents at the end of the questionnaire with a sign-up form. If nothing else, this would make me purchase the paid plan, because this is annoying and too obtrusive for my customers – survey participants.

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Respondents

Respondents can be collected using various channels (collectors). You can combine up to three in the free version:

  • Public weblink
  • Email invitations, reminders and thank-you emails are available. Most email statistics are available in the paid version (opened emails, unopened emails, clicked-throughs), bounced and opted out are available in the free version. Scheduled sending and email automation is also a part of the free version, so you have the option to send invitations, reminders, follow-ups or thank-you emails after the defined time.
  • Embed on your website (using a JavaScript code)
  • From online panel (probably only SurveyMonkey panel, not a third-party panel)
  • Social media
  • Manual data entry
  • Facebook messenger
  • Etc.

Outputs

SurveyMonkey delivers the following outputs:

  • Basic real-time results for each question (N,%) and verbatims
  • Individual responses
  • Benchmarks for selected questions (NPS,…)
  • Data export is a paid feature (into CSV, PNG, PDF, PPT, SPSS, XLS)

SurveyMonkey review results

SurveyMonkey offers all standard features and several helpful functions. The interface is quite understandable after several minutes of work, but some UX adjustments would make it even better.

Some question types could be named better, so people understand them without doubts. On the other hand, I really liked how SurveyMonkey guessed the question types based on the question texts.

SurveyMonkey Pros:

  • has all standard features, question types and options
  • comprehensible interface
  • includes many templates for questionnaire, questions and answers
  • mobile-friendly
  • automatic question type recommendation

SurveyMonkey Cons:

  • poor customization in the free version
  • no data export available in the free version
  • the first steps were a little bit confusing

My overall rating is positive – SurveyMonkey provides all essential features and many advanced functionalities.

The limit of the free version (Basic plan): 100 respondents and 10 questions per survey, no customization, and no skip logic. If you need more, consider purchasing one of the paid plans – Standard, Advantage, Premier personal plans, or one of the business plans.