Making sense of information from survey responses can sometimes take work, particularly when there’s doubt about the authenticity of a respondent’s email address. A wrong email could result in losing valuable data, spreading incorrect information, or even creating security concerns linked to the account.

To prevent these issues from occurring, it’s essential to have a strategy for identifying email patterns that can minimize invalid survey responses.

What Are Fake Emails and Why Do They Matter?

Temporary or disposable emails are often used briefly for specific needs like obtaining a discount or registering for a one-time offer. They’re intended for short-term use and then abandoned.

Many individuals will use these temporary emails to shield their actual email addresses from unsolicited spam or marketing messages. However, their use in surveys can create a number of challenges.

For businesses seeking to streamline their customer engagement strategies, integrating robust email verification systems within their website development framework becomes paramount. The impermanence of these email addresses means contacting respondents for additional details or survey completion reminders is impossible. Also, using temporary emails by the same individuals can introduce discrepancies in survey data.

Responses from these temporary email addresses can often distort data, failing to accurately reflect authentic customer opinions. Repeatedly surveying the same disposable email can quickly skew results and make the insights extracted from them irrelevant.

Effective Tips to Reduce Invalid Surveys

When it comes to managing survey responses, it’s important to be vigilant when looking for patterns that could potentially indicate the presence of fake email addresses. To assist you in identifying or stopping these fraudulent emails from being used, here are some helpful tips:

Invest in a CAPTCHA Service

CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” This security measure distinguishes real users from automated systems or bots. CAPTCHAs often involve simple tasks for humans but are challenging for bots, such as solving complex puzzles.

Incorporating CAPTCHAs helps businesses efficiently combat fraudulent activities—saving time and resources. They’re particularly effective in preventing bots from repeatedly participating in online surveys, helping to maintain the integrity of survey results. Additionally, CAPTCHAs help in getting high-quality feedback. From actual, engaged customers by filtering out low-quality responses.

CAPTCHAs come in various forms, including image, audio, and text-based options. Image-based CAPTCHAs require users to recognize and interpret visual elements within a picture, like letters or numbers. Audio CAPTCHAs involve typing spoken words heard in a series of random sounds.

Create Random Questions

Creating unpredictable questions in surveys can be a strong barrier against dishonest responses. When positioned randomly, these questions prevent respondents from guessing upcoming queries or preparing their answers in advance. This approach makes it more challenging for individuals with fraudulent intentions to skew survey results.

Selecting suitable types of questions is key to making this an effective deterrent. Think of including open-ended, situation-based, or intentionally ambiguous questions for maximum effectiveness.

Open-ended questions encourage genuine, spontaneous responses and can be challenging to answer for anyone attempting to manipulate answers. Ambiguous questions, such as “How many cities have you been to?” or “Describe your mode of transportation,” lack specific expected responses, which helps reduce fake replies.

Strategically timing the introduction of these unpredictable questions throughout the survey is crucial. Spreading them evenly disrupts any potential patterns that dishonest respondents might exploit.

Make Sure Your Survey is Password Protected

Implementing a password is a highly effective strategy to counteract fraudulent activities in your survey. By setting a password, access is restricted exclusively to individuals invited to take the survey.

Create a password that mixes characters, numbers, and symbols, and share it with intended participants or interested organizations. It’s important to choose a strong password that is not to decipher.

Using a trusted survey platform also adds an extra layer of protection, as these solutions already have security features. Look for a platform that offers encrypted data transmission, SSL security, and other protective measures to safeguard your survey data.

Another approach to preventing unauthorized access is to limit who can take the survey. This can be managed by allowing only certain individuals to participate or by implementing a verification system where participants must confirm their identity before accessing the survey. This method ensures that the survey reaches only its intended audience, further securing it against fraudulent responses.

Develop a User Consent Form

Integrating a consent form in your survey process can help inform participants about the survey’s objectives and the implications of submitting false information. For example, in a survey concerning work anniversary gifts, detailing this context in the consent form helps elicit relevant and honest responses. By signing the consent form, respondents acknowledge their understanding of the survey’s significance and commitment to providing truthful answers.

A consent form can also function as a legal safeguard for your business. If a participant gives inaccurate information and later attempts to pursue legal action against your company, the signed consent form can be utilized as evidence affirming the integrity of your survey data.

When constructing your consent form, it’s crucial to include certain elements. First, clearly explain the survey’s purpose and the type of information being collected.

Additionally, you should clearly outline the repercussions of submitting false information. This might involve clarifying how the survey data will influence critical business decisions.

Lastly, ensure there’s a section for signatures where participants can formally acknowledge their understanding of the survey’s goals, the necessity of accurate responses, and the potential consequences of providing false information.

Consider Implementing IP Blocking

Each internet-enabled device has a distinct IP address that signifies its geographic location. Survey platforms leverage this unique identifier to restrict the volume of submissions originating from the same IP address.

Many survey platforms have features that validate IP addresses, blocking multiple entries from the same IP. This function is often an option during the survey setup process and is instrumental in curbing fraudulent responses.

An alternative method to reducing repeat survey responses is to use cookies. These small data fragments are stored on the respondent’s device, allowing the survey software to recognize if the survey has already been completed. Certain survey platforms offer the option to set up cookie tracking after the survey is created to counteract dishonest attempts.

Restricting survey participation to specific email address types is another effective strategy, especially for surveys targeting a narrow audience or requiring a limited sample size. This method enables you to limit survey access to individuals or organizations that meet predefined criteria.

Consistently monitoring survey entries is important, particularly for surveys on topics like bulk gifts for employees. Keeping tabs on the IP addresses responding and analyzing their patterns is key to ensuring authentic feedback.

Keep Your Survey Results Relevant

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve designed your survey—if the responses are irrelevant or incomplete, they hold no value. By following the above strategies as well as implementing effective digital marketing strategies and leveraging targeted audience segmentation techniques, you can ensure that your survey results are accurate and genuinely reflect the opinions of your target audience.

Author Information

Author Name: Cindy Mielke

Author bio: Cindy Mielke is Tango Card’s Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, and a Certified Professional of Incentive Management. Her passion is helping teammates, clients, and partners achieve success. A strong advocate for the incentive industry, Cindy received the Karen Renk Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) in 2019. She currently serves on the IMA board of directors and on the board of the Incentive and Engagement Solutions Providers (IESP).


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