Survey Monkey Review

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A legend in the online survey space, Survey Monkey was one of the very first companies to design tools so anyone could create their own surveys. Launched way, way back in 1999 by two brothers, Chris and Ryan Finley.

Since then, Survey Monkey has grown its software into one of the most flexible survey tools on the market today.

Now normally, we wouldn’t review such a survey-focused tool, but Survey Monkey has recently branched into polls and quizzes. So, we thought we’d take a deeper look at their online quiz maker options.

Quiz Maker Review’s rating for Survey Monkey:

  • Range of quiz formats: ★☆☆☆☆
  • Customization options: ★★☆☆☆
  • Lead generation: ★★★★☆
  • Data privacy: ★★☆☆☆
  • Pricing: ★★★☆☆
  • Overall: ★★☆☆☆

The TL;DR summary?

Consider Survey Monkey only for collecting responses using deep and highly technical surveys. If you’re looking for quizzes, polls, or a wider range of interactive content formats, check out the other quiz maker software tools we’re reviewed.

They absolutely rock in their survey’s feature set – even if their user interface and their published look and feel both feel a bit out of date. Survey Monkey is definitely in need of a facelift.

However, we worry that you could be limited by their lack of other formats (like a personality test or product recommendation quiz) as well as their very basic image and rich media options.

Also, Survey Monkey is not a GDPR-compliant quiz maker – they’re definitely not the worst we’ve seen (that award goes to Typeform) but they do violate the agreement in several key areas. We’ll cover this in much more detail later in this review – but for now, you should know:

  • They store data on US server providers (Amazon) – under the now-cancelled US/EU Privacy Shield Agreement.
  • Survey Monkey adds eight cookies to every user – with no chance to opt-in or out of them (that’s a big no-no).

Updated: New quiz maker UX – but still confusing

We recently took another look at Survey Monkey’s interface – and were a bit bemused.

They touted a big new change to their online quiz maker – from branding and a new color scheme to a cleaner, more intuitive interface.

“What we have done is modernize the interface, making it sleeker and more spacious. It’s designed not just to look better, but also feel better to use.”

Is Survey Monkey easy to use? It is definitely a step in the right direction UX-wise, but frankly, it’s still pretty overwhelming.

(And it’s still very green.)

Here’s their new question editor as well:

In-quiz image, video, and other media options

Survey Monkey started back in 1999 – when the internet was a much more basic place. Slow dial-up modems mean text was the way to go.

Contrast this with 2020 – and today’s quiz audience expects a much more involved, interactive experience. Quiz creators need to be able to easily search and add images, video or audio clips, animated GIFs, and social posts.

Survey Monkey isn’t great for rich media.

How can you upload an image to Survey Monkey?

You can see this legacy text-first approach – Survey Monkey only lets you use images or videos (and in limited locations). Annoyingly, you have to link to your images in many places – vs. the more usual upload or search/browse/use options.

Some places you can only link, others, you can drag/drop images or GIFs you already have via their upload tool:

Unlike almost every other quiz maker we’ve reviewed, there’s no integrations with top free image providers like Unsplash or Pexels, or using Google’s search interface. Quiz makers like Riddle also link to Giphy (for easy search/embedding of animated GIFs) or YouTube (for videos).

On the plus side, we were big fans of Survey Monkey’s account-level library – a clever feature that lets you and any of your account colleagues reuse assets like logos and images.

That saves time – and is definitely something we’d love to see other quiz maker tools emulate.

Survey Monkey – quiz types

Survey Monkey has a pretty limited selection of quiz formats. They have grown their business specializing in one type – surveys, and have only dabbled in expanding the range of options for their users.

Currently, Survey Monkey supports just three types:

  1. Surveys (obviously, given the name!)
  2. Polls
  3. Quizzes

Needless to say, this is a pretty paltry number compared to the eight formats with Outgrow and Involve.me – and nearly 5X fewer than Riddle’s front of the pack selection of 15 types.

This is something to bear in mind – choosing Survey Monkey as an overall quiz maker solution will limit your creative and flexibility for your audience engagement and marketing campaigns.

Survey Monkey’s quiz format

We were left merely… ‘whelmed’… by Survey Monkey’s quiz module. Not overwhelmed, nor under-. Just ‘whelmed’ (is that even a word?).

Basically, for the Survey Monkey quiz, it feels like they took their survey tool – and added a simple scoring element. It doesn’t come close to the level of features their survey offers.

Quizzes are based around right/wrong answers (e.g. “How much do you know about <your topic>?” or “Test your knowledge of <your topic>”. Leveraging much of the tech from their excellent surveys, Survey Monkey does a number of things well – but they’ve also missed out on key features we feel necessary for today’s quiz maker audience.

Let’s dive in.

Survey Monkey’s quiz – the good stuff

First, the positives… We loved how Survey Monkey handled:

Question and quiz logic – so you can use conditional logic to show different questions to quiz takers, based on their responses. For example, if someone answers an easy question Q1 about a topic correctly, you could direct them to a more difficult Q2.

Extensive range of question types (in white only) – you can see Survey Monkey’s deep experience with surveys here. They features 22 types of questions, but most are disabled – only eight are suitable for quizzes. But it still give quiz creators a good range of options to use in their quizzes.

Flexible scoring – Savvy quiz builders know that all questions are not created equal. A major pet peeve of the QMR team is when a quiz maker counts all questions and responses as just one point. After all, ten questions = ten points, right?

That works for many use cases – but not all.

We were impressed with how Survey Monkey handles things. They let you assign different points to each response – so you can reward good answers with, say, 3 points while the best answer gets 5 points. You can never have too much flexibility as a quiz maker.

Survey Monkey’s quiz – the bad news

One of any established software company’s challenges is feature creep – and trying to keep their interface clean and uncluttered for the user.

Twenty years in, you can see how Survey Monkey has run afoul of this – their quiz interface is pretty tricky to navigate.

It’s also a bit scary – unless most modern quiz maker software, Survey Monkey doesn’t work with a ‘draft’ system, where you can make changes, preview them, then decide to push them live if you like them.

Nope – and if you delete a question (without even an ‘are you sure? pop up), it’s gone on your finished quiz as well. Yikes!

We’ve already mentioned how we weren’t big fans of how Survey Monkey handles images – but let’s go into more detail:

  1. No question images – you can’t have an overall question image, then ask question about it.
  2. You can have images as answer options – but strangely, you can only link to images vs. directly uploading them like elsewhere in their quiz maker.
  3. No correct answer explanations – you can’t provide direct feedback to the quiz taker. Most quiz builders let you provide the correct answer explanation, so you can educate the audience.
  4. No gating answer explanations until after the lead form – this is a big option to have if you want to use quizzes to collect email addresses as a lead magnet. Marketers find it valuable to hold off giving the correct answers for a quiz until after your lead form – it’s one more incentive for your audience to opt-in to your form.
  5. No quiz result explanations or images – and finally, you have precisely zero opportunities to customize the end of quiz experience for your audience. Quiz creators like TryInteract, Riddle, and Qzzr all let you add images, text explanation, links and call to action buttons to convert quiz takers to happy customers. Survey Monkey merely gives you a text score – and that’s it.
  1. No social sharing? – Quizzes are some of the most viral content around (just ask the gurus at AdWeek). People love taking quizzes – then sharing their results with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and more. You’ve probably seen similar posts – following in the “I got <score> on <quiz title> – can you beat me?” format. This is a huge, huge weakness – and means Survey Monkey’s quiz maker is best suited for internal use or educational use cases instead of marketing campaigns.

Survey Monkey – polls

Survey Monkey does have a poll feature – but like their quiz module, it feels like they took their excellent survey tool and just stripped out a bunch of features.

Polls and surveys are similar in that they both are designed to collect feedback from your audience.

  • Polls generally reveal the outcomes and audience-wide results to the audience.
  • Surveys only pass that information on to the survey creator.

A quick summary?

We liked how flexible Survey Monkey’s text-focused polls were – check out all of these question types you can use:

As we mentioned above, Survey Monkey isn’t great at integrating images, GIFs, audio, or video into their content.

But the variety of question types keeps things fresh – check out this example, which asks a multiple choice question followed by a slider and then a ‘rank your favorites’.

But while the question types are many and varied, Survey Monkey frankly sucks at engaging their audience. With polls, you generally want to reward the participants – perhaps showing the voting outcomes so far.

With Survey Monkey, you don’t get that. Instead, this generic thank you screen is what we saw after we took our demo poll. Pretty underwhelming, right?

Polls are designed as a key tool to boost engagement – yet after taking a Survey Monkey poll, you’d most likely be uninspired to keep interacting with that site’s content.

Survey Monkey – survey module

While Survey Monkey’s quiz and poll formats are a bit limited, their survey tool is justifiably famous – and it’s used by 98% of the Fortune 500.

However, it’s designed for serious number-crunching – not really as a quick, fun, and engaging audience tool.

Let’s crack on.

We were big fans of Survey Monkey’s templates – you have dozens of survey options to choose from from customer satisfaction to employee engagement or market research.

Another plus – Survey Monkey does a nice job guiding you as a creator. Their survey wizard goes step by step – and suggests content based on your answers. For example, you might want to create an event survey – which is quite different than a market research survey.

We’ve already covered their extensive logic and question types – we haven’t seen any survey tool that does it better.

You can tell they’ve spent 20 years focusing almost exclusively on collecting survey responses. Check out their question bank, chock full of hundreds of pre-written questions divided by subjects such as:

  • Employee surveys
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Dozens of other types of surveys

Part of the challenge behind collecting statistically accurate data is how you word the question – and Survey Monkey takes the guesswork out of the equation. Their team of survey gurus provide this bank of bias-avoiding questions, so you get the most valid audience feedback from your surveys.

Collecting info from survey respondents is one thing – presenting the data in a useful way is another.

Survey Monkey comes through here as well – they give a nice overview and a more detailed ‘analyze results’ section.

That’s not all – Survey Monkey also a great job at slicing and dicing the data from your respondents. You can do cool things like establish benchmarks, and create your own survey reports for your stakeholders – with graphs and the like.

They also give you an insights and trends’ tab – which gives a nice evolving overview of your audience as they interact with your survey.

We loved their hourly breakdown of data – most quiz maker tools provide only daily. This would be useful for live survey events – especially at conferences or kiosks, where you need more granularity about when people fill in your lead forms.

Customization/Styling

Right, on to controlling the look and feel of your quiz, poll, or other content.

Survey Monkey’s customization options are much more limited than other quiz makers we’ve reviewed.

Their overall look and feel is pretty dated – as you can see in our demo quiz below.

You do have options to change the background, upload your own image, etc. But still, it’s pretty minimal.

We liked the chance to toggle on/off things like page numbers, your title and so on. Every quiz creator has their own unique needs, so this sort of flexibility is helpful.

But overall the customization and styling options were much more limited than any other quiz maker we checked out.

For example, we tried uploading a demo logo – to test how a white labelled quiz would look. Survey Monkey just embedded it a small image in the top right corner – with no chance to specify how we would prefer to display it.

We also didn’t see the ability to add your own CSS – to fully tweak and customize your quiz’s look and feel. This is another big weakness – brands, agencies, and publishers often require an extra level of control, so their content blends seamlessly on their sites.

Survey Monkey – lead generation

Survey Monkey does a decent job at giving you options to create online forms to collect personal data (such as name and email address) from each user.

You can collect all the key contact details for each quiz taker – including email address, phone, and demographic info like age and gender.

However, we were a little disappointed to see that this feature didn’t have a great deal of flexibility. For example, Survey Monkey isn’t a drag/drop form builder – so it doesn’t support columns and flexible widths.

While you can make certain lead fields required – you can’t give a single opt-out at the form level for quiz takers who choose to not participate.

Quiz marketing works best when you don’t hold quiz results hostage – behind a mandatory lead generation form. You’ll get more submissions – but you’ll annoy your audience, and you’ll also get a large number of garbage leads (e.g. ‘mickey@mickeymouse.com’) from people who just want their data.

Survey Monkey does do an exceptional job with data integrations – their quiz creator has native integrations to a huge range of software tools, meaning you can easily send your quiz leads and their responses, with no coding required.

Pricing

Okay – now let’s talk money. Survey Monkey’s pricing structure is more than a little confusing.

On the plus side, they offer a free plan – which is great for casual one-off users but naturally is missing many of their key features.

However, unlike almost every quiz maker, Survey Monkey doesn’t offer a full-featured free trial period.

Instead, you can demo the various features – and see a preview of your quiz. But you can’t actually test out a survey on your site – to see if it does what you need, try out their data integrations, and so on.

That’s remarkably short-sighted.

Check out this screen from their online quiz creator – you can’t even try these features marked ‘Upgrade’, so how can you be sure you want to upgrade to pay for them?

But once you move to their paid plans, they confusingly have personal and business plans – yet confusingly don’t make clear the advantages and differences between them.

And in the FAQ, two of their personal plans – Standard and Advantage – are separated by $1 a month. Weird.

At this point, we’re assuming Business offers multi-user options, but that’s just a guess.

Of course, Survey Monkey isn’t the only online quiz creator we’ve reviewed with confusing costs. You can read all about Bucket io pricing in our review – it’s pretty mysterious and required a lot of digging by our quiz maker reviewers.

One slick add-on offering is the ability to let Survey Monkey find you suitable people to take your survey.

Now, it’s not cheap (getting 100 responses were £238 / $275 in our demo) – so it’s definitely designed for larger companies with bigger budgets, but this could be useful if you’re doing market research surveys or the like.

We wouldn’t recommend this option for your quizzes or polls – this sort of content marketing is best done when you publish on your site, then promote on social or through targeted Facebook or other ads.

Customer support

Alas, we weren’t impressed at Survey Monkey’s support approach. The free basic plan has no support beyond their knowledge base – which is understandable.

But, even their paid plans have limited support availability – they place a heavy reliance on email support. Top tier customers do get phone support.

But both approaches are so… 2005. Email, in particular, can be excruciating trying to resolve a technical issue.

Today’s quiz makers like Riddle and Involve use cutting-edge support chat tools like Intercom or User.com – these let you easily ask and get help with any issue.

(Riddle, in particular, has their entire team racing to help out. When testing their tool, we asked a question and got an immediate answer from their CEO Boris, who sent us a personal video walkthrough for a feature we were asking about. No muss, no fuss.)

Survey Monkey – data privacy and GDPR-compliance

With surveys often collecting personal information (name, age, email address) from respondents, it’s clear that this is a high-risk issue for marketers.

Data privacy regulations like the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA are becoming increasingly common, with increasingly severe penalties for violations.

Survey Monkey claims on their website that they are GDPR compliant (https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/privacy/), but that’s not the whole story.

First, the good news. For users with a paid plan, Surveymonkey offers a Data Processing Addendum.

These DPAs are a key component of GDPR-compliance – Survey Monkey’s is governed by Irish Law for all their European customers and by U.S. law for everyone else.

We’re not big fans of how difficult Survey Monkey made this to discover. It took a lot of digging to see the full (and long!) list of sub-processors they use to provide their services (including Amazon/AWS for database hosting).

Hosting:

Unfortunately, Survey Monkey is not compliant in how they host all their surveys’ data, as they are hosting customers’ and users’ personal information outside the EU with U.S. providers like Amazon.

By definition, that’s non-compliant.

And since they also use a long list of U.S. based services as sub-processors, Surveymonkey would not pass a GDPR review. In their help documentation, they confirm that most of the customer data lives on servers in the US:

Most European customer data lives on servers in the US, as outlined in our Privacy Policy and white paper. We rely on inter-company agreements including standard contractual clauses to transfer your personal data to our servers in the US maintained by our US parent company, SurveyMonkey Inc.

Trackers:

Okay – most of the quiz makers we reviewed add trackers to every quiz their users embed (like Outgrow and TryInteract). And Survey Monkey is no different – their embed codes will initially load this external Javascript file from New Relic (cloud software performance software):

  • js-agent.newrelic.com/nr-spa-1184.min.js

Next, if your browser’s security setup doesn’t block this, it will load:

  • one cookie from nr-data.net (a Session cookie from New Relic
  • another 7 cookies from Surveymonkey.com

No cookie warning / opt-in: First, there is no cookie warning or acceptance banner shown.

Loads all trackers by default for your quiz takers: Next, since these load by default, you’ll expose all of your site visitors to these cookies without their consent – which makes your entire website non-compliant. A faint silver lining – Survey Monkey does state that they are not using any targeting or advertising cookies on a survey taking page, which is comforting. 

Wrapping things up, we definitely appreciate Survey Monkey’s approach – they provide a lot of information on how they store and process personal data, plus take great care to treat all personal data with the utmost privacy.

Be cautious:

But the bottom line? If you use their quiz maker software, your company could be liable for using a non-GDPR-compliant provider. And that raises the prospect of big fines – up to 10 million euros ($12 million USD) or 2% of your company’s revenue… whichever is greater. Ouch.

Survey Monkey review – summary

Survey Monkey is outstanding at their core focus – surveys. Easy data integrations, excellent templates and banks of pre-written questions, branching logic, and more – well, Survey Monkey makes clear why they’ve been successful for over 20 years.

If you want to create and embed text-heavy surveys, especially if you need some serious data-crunching and analysis, Survey Monkey is awesome.

However, if you’re like most quiz marketers looking to engage your audience with crisp, modern quizzes, polls, and other formats, we’d have to recommend some of our other quiz makers.

Survey Monkey’s lack of flexibility, poor GDPR-compliance, and limited quiz formats mean you’ll have a limited quiz maker toolset for your marketing objectives.

Quiz Maker Review’s rating for Survey Monkey:

  • Range of quiz formats: ★☆☆☆☆
  • Customization options: ★★☆☆☆
  • Lead generation: ★★★★☆
  • Data privacy: ★★☆☆☆
  • Pricing: ★★★☆☆
  • Overall: ★★☆☆☆