The state of surveys: New research reveals new business, cultural, and social trends from 17 million users’ insights

by | Jan 17, 2024 | Public Relations

Whether businesses survey customers, employees or other stakeholders, this method is the best way to find out what you need to know about your intended audience. But like virtually every other business and marketing process, the practice of surveying is adapting to a new world in a more informed and activated society. New research from online surveys and forms leader SurveyMonkey identifies the evolving ways in which people ask and answer questions in the modern era. 

From this analysis, a handful of themes emerged to define the current state of surveys: the rise of AI, gender inclusivity around the world, our increasingly mobile world, employee engagement, and survey best practices. The firm’s second annual State of Surveys report is based on 11 years’ worth of its anonymized and aggregated data for trends and anomalies, with responses from 17 million people.

The state of surveys: New SurveyMonkey research reveals new business, cultural, and social trends from 17 million users’ insights

Key themes include:

People are curious about AI

After the introduction of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, terms like “AI,” “artificial intelligence,” “ChatGPT,” and “generative AI” all saw increased use in surveys in 2023.

  • Mentions of these AI-related terms grew 4x, appearing in just 0.5 percent of surveys deployed on the SurveyMonkey platform in 2022 to 3 percent by September 2023, indicating a growing use of consumer-facing language.
  • Specifically, the term “AI” was used 10x more than in previous years, highlighting the explosion of general awareness around the technology.

Gender-inclusive surveys are growing worldwide

As gender inclusivity has expanded, the number of gender answer options used in surveys around the world has grown as well, with a handful of countries setting the pace for the rest of the world.

  • Within the U.K. and Canada in 2023, 8 out of 10 of the surveys sent included more than two gender answer options. In 2012, this number was closer to 2 out of 10.
  • Canada (84 percent), the U.K. (82 percent), and Australia (80 percent) led the way with the highest percentage nonbinary gender-inclusive answers in surveys in 2023.

The state of surveys: New SurveyMonkey research reveals new business, cultural, and social trends from 17 million users’ insights

More people are taking surveys on mobile devices, and employee and customer feedback remain in demand

It’s clear people want to fill out surveys and forms on their phones, increasingly favoring a mobile-first experience.

  • Mobile survey-taking around the world has grown from 52 percent in 2020 to 57.2 percent in 2023.
  • In the U.S., people are now as likely to respond to a survey on mobile as they are on desktop. At the end of 2020, 16 percent more people took surveys on desktop than mobile. By the end of 2023, that gap had shrunk to 0.6 percent.

With connection top of mind, businesses of all sizes continue to prioritize collecting customer feedback and employee engagement (particularly with remote workers).

  • The most-used survey templates for CX, HR, and marketing professionals in 2023 featured customer satisfaction, employee engagement, meeting feedback, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and name testing.
  • Event registration and RSVP forms top the list of the most used forms, especially as in-person events increase.

The state of surveys: New SurveyMonkey research reveals new business, cultural, and social trends from 17 million users’ insights

Survey best practices emerge

  • Less is more—surveys are getting shorter on average, with the number of questions per survey trending down by around 15 percent over the past six years—from 13.2 questions in 2017 to 11 questions in 2023.
  • Survey response submissions are higher during the week—with four in five survey submissions happening Monday through Friday. Survey completion rates are highest on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and lowest on Sunday and Monday.
  • Surveys taken on mobile devices are slightly more likely to be submitted on weekends compared to those taken on non-mobile devices (24 percent vs. 20 percent).
  • Template usage doubled in 2023. Surveys created from a template deliver 4 percentage points higher completion rates compared to surveys created from scratch.
  • Surveys that used the SurveyMonkey question bank, a library of thousands of commonly asked questions written by survey methodologists, had a 9 percentage points increase in completion rates compared to surveys that did not use this resource.

The state of surveys: New SurveyMonkey research reveals new business, cultural, and social trends from 17 million users’ insights

“The knowledge our customers seek is a fascinating reflection of how the world is evolving,” said Lara Belonogoff, senior director of brand management at SurveyMonkey, in a news release. “The true value lies in how survey creators put the insights gleaned from the data they collect into action for good: embracing gender inclusion, empowering businesses with AI, and engaging one another in ways that drive human connection. These are the tangible outcomes of a well-designed, expertly executed survey that drive meaningful decisions, raise the bar for human experiences, and inspire ongoing curiosity.”

Download the full report here.

This report analyzed millions of surveys deployed globally on the SurveyMonkey platform from 2010 through September 2023. Gender data was calculated by querying the total number of deployed surveys containing a gender question, between January 2012 and October 2023. Mobile data was calculated by comparing the percentage of survey responses submitted on the SurveyMonkey platform via mobile device or desktop/PC between November 2020 to September 2023. U.S. template ranking data was created based on the number of deployments, between January 2023 to September 2023. AI data was calculated by querying the number of surveys deployed in the U.S. with question titles or answer options that contained AI-related keywords, between January 2017 and September 2023. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter