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Why Online Surveys Maybe a Waste of Your Time

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Once in a while, you receive a request from a company or brand you use to do a survey, providing feedback about their services or products. Some even promise to pay you for your time, and if you Google, “side hustles for beginners”, online surveys feature prominently on the list. However, whether you are doing this for money or providing feedback, is it worth it? We explore why it may be fruitless.

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Why Online Surveys Maybe a Waste of Your Time

A survey question. Photo by Celpax on Unsplash

Online surveys are advertized as a quick cash grab. However, when you log in to the sites, you realize there’s a set system you need to follow to make money. You need to earn a preset amount of points. For example, to get $46, you need to have 150,000, which sounds like a ripoff. x

The length of these surveys varies depending on your demographics. I once registered for a survey site and by the end of taking my first survey, I gave up. I felt the trade-off wasn’t worth it. 

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Sampling Issues

If not given to the intended audience, anyone can do online surveys, presenting a sampling issue. A representative sample is important in helping you get a generalized result that can be used in a larger audience.

If the survey isn’t clear about its target audience, it will collect erroneous information, making it flawed. Additionally, if people interested in the product are the only ones who take the survey, it doesn’t produce representative results. 

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Dishonest Communication

Some people tend to provide false information to appear socially acceptable. Even though you are told that they are anonymous, you feel inclined to provide popular answers for fear of judgment or appear to be doing better than they are. Another reason why it might lead to dishonesty is when the respondent gives random answers to finish the survey.  

Why surveys are a waste of time. Video Credit: Benji’s Dad

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Survey Fatigue

People’s attention span has shrunk due to the internet. As such, people who give out long surveys, usually 10 to 15 minutes, tend to get skewed answers. The respondent is doing it to finish, hence, not keen on the question and answer. Furthermore, some drop out and others look at the length of the survey and decide not to do it.

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Should you spend time on online surveys? Video Credit: Power Surge

Unanswered Questions

People are hesitant to answer personal questions, even on an online survey that promises anonymity. This leads to unreliable data that might force you to redo the survey or drop it altogether. To avoid this, be direct about your questions and only ask for personal information where necessary. Also, avoid long and complicated questions that leave respondents confused. Be straightforward.

Lack of Human Touch

Online surveys miss out on the human reaction and behavior behind a respondent’s answer. The owners of the survey have to decode them by the answers or explanations provided. Additionally, you can’t call in your participants because some might be in other parts of the world. Even if you’re in the same location, they might not want to avail themselves.

Limited Reach

People in areas without connectivity or poor internet connection don’t get a chance to participate in online surveys. This leaves out a significant part of the population and it’s a downside for the surveyors.

Online surveys are a good way of quickly getting information and connecting with your target audience. However, you might not get sufficient or accurate responses because of the issues raised above. Have you ever done an online survey? Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi is a sports enthusiast who enjoys sharing sports knowledge. Over the years, she has also written on different niches, and she now brings that experience at Spotcovery. She writes sports content and also, Arts & Culture, Recipe, Beauty and more.


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