How Long Should an Intercept Survey Be? | Company in Upstate New York

At Drive Research, we love our intercept survey projects. They take us to fun locations like the New York State Fair, airports across the country, and some of the most historical college football stadiums. There we get to take in the atmosphere and collect some valuable data for our clients. One could argue there is no better way to collect in-the-moment data than an intercept survey.

Rather than waiting to send an email survey or participating in research hours, weeks, or months after an experience takes place, intercept surveys capture participant feedback immediately. In many cases, the survey takes place right after or as participants exit the event, concert, retail location, or building.

How Long Should an Intercept Survey Be? | Company in Upstate New York

Intercept survey data can prove extremely valuable and insightful. It's an excellent way to collect in-the-moment responses while the experience is still fresh with the respondent.

How Long Should An Intercept Survey Be?

Intercept surveys surveys should last 2 to 3 minutes maximum. This is the ideal length. As intercept surveys get longer your team will have a more difficult time obtaining responses as well as preventing drop-off. Many may start the survey but will not finish if it extends beyond 2 to 3 minutes.


A simple example here is asking people to participate in a survey after a concert. Imagine it is an outdoor concert and the sun is beating down. It's 90 degrees and the final song has been played. Swarms of crowds are heading for the parking lot to get into their vehicles and more importantly, shade and air conditioning.

Here comes a family of 4 walking briskly to beat the crowd. You ask the mother who is holding her 2 children to offer some feedback. After looking at her husband she halfheartedly says, "Sure, I guess we can spare a few minutes."

You cover a few core questions and she is responding quickly. She's engaged but both children are pulling on her arms to get going. The husband is on his phone checking scores on the ESPN app, hoping to get home to see the end of the Mets game. "Don't worry Gary, they'll lose anyway", says the wife. Isn't that the truth?

After about 2 minutes, she is anxious. Her kids keep interrupting her with questions about ice cream and the pool. She knows the kids are not being patient and neither is her husband. She asks, "How much longer is this going to take?"

If you say 1 minute, she'll likely hang on a little bit longer right? But what if you said 5 more minutes? 10 more minutes? There is no doubt she'll apologize and leave you with a survey that is only a third or half complete before you try to find someone else.

This has happened far too many times in the world of intercept surveys.

Keep your survey short and simple. No more than 2 to 3 minutes.

How Many Questions Can We Ask?

Now, you might be asking, how many questions will 2 to 3 minutes get us? This is likely to be no more than 10 to 15 questions in total. The number of questions are a bit subjective. I'll explain more.

If your questions are short and to the point where you select or record 1 response, you might be able to ask 15 questions. However, if all of your questions are open-ended where the interviewer has to type out feedback, or you have multiple choice responses where you need to read off each category as a yes or no, even 10 questions could be pushing it.

Test your survey and make sure the number of questions matches the 2 to 3 minute threshold.

What If We Want to Ask More Questions?

We do not recommend including any more than 10 to 15 questions in your intercept survey. However, we also realize that you likely want to collect a lot of other information to address your objectives. We get it.

Our suggestion here is to collect an email as the final question in the survey. Most are willing to offer this if you offer some type of reward or incentive for participating in a follow-up survey. If the survey is sent shortly after the intercept survey on the event (within 24 hours), response rates can be quite good.

Not all will respond but everybody wins. You obtain richer and more in-depth data. The participant wins because she can take the survey on her couch, on her phone, while her husband watches the Mets fork up 15 runs to the Braves.

Contact Our Market Research Firm

Drive Research is an intercept survey company in Syracuse, NY. We conduct intercept surveys not only across New York State but across the country. We have completed intercept surveys recently in Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and New York.

Our portfolio of intercept work includes projects completed for the Great New York State Fair and Division I College Football stadiums across the Midwest and East Coast.

Interested in working with us? Contact us below.

Message us on our website
Email us at [email protected]
Call us at 888-725-DATA
Text us at 315-303-2040

Intercept Surveys