Get Data Into a Survey Through Prepopulation

Often when surveying respondents, you will already have data from your list of contacts that you'd like to include with your survey data without having to ask for this information again. You can use prepopulation in SurveyGizmo to verify and update contact information or bring in details to use in logic conditions to determine which questions are asked.

We have several options to prepopulate your surveys with data you already have! Below we'll review each method, the strengths and weaknesses of each method, and a summary of the overall usage. Follow the links to full tutorial to get step-by-step instructions for prepopulating surveys. 


Query String (URL Variables)

Query Strings aka URL Variables are values that can be added to the end of the survey link that pass a name/value pair, such as "firstname=Derek." Within your surveys you can access and use values passed via query strings by using the URL Variable [url("xxx")] merge code, which could look like the following: [url("firstname")]. This merge code would populate with whatever value ('Bob' in the above example) was passed in the "firstname" query string.

Strengths: Works without configuration in the survey, easy to implement, can be controlled outside of SurveyGizmo.

Weaknesses: Maximum of 2000 characters in the query string, can create long URLs (if not hidden in HTML), small learning curve.


Email Campaign Contact Fields

Email Campaign Contacts Fields are fully integrated into your surveys and are the simplest of prepopulation methods. The following fields can be populated. A contact can have the following 30 fields associated with it:

  • Email Address (required)
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Organization
  • Division
  • Department
  • Team
  • Group
  • Role
  • Home Phone
  • Work Phone
  • Fax
  • Address
  • Suite/Apt
  • City
  • Region/State
  • Country
  • Zip/Postal Code
  • Job Title
  • Website
  • Custom 1-10

Email Campaign Contact Fields are split into two types: Contact information and Custom Fields. The Custom Fields (Custom 1-10) are unique to only that particular email campaign. The main contact information is global across the entire account and all surveys and email campaigns.

When a contact is added to your email campaign, and sent an email invitation, the recipient clicks the link and their contact information will be pulled into the survey and automatically associated with the response. This makes this data available as part of the CSV/Excel export as well as when browsing individual responses. It is even accessible as part of filtering in reporting!

Strengths: Completely integrated, familiar (like managing an address book), requires no outside services.

Weaknesses: Limited number of fields to populate.

Check out our article on Prepoulating a Survey Using an Email Campaign to learn more!

Login/Password Action

Using our Login/Password action, you can upload a CSV spreadsheet that contains a unique login and password for each of your contacts. In this spreadsheet you can include additional data for that contact for prepoulation in the survey. 

The Login/Password action works by associating a password to additional data contained in the rest of the columns for that row. For instance, here is an example of a row of data that could be used for pre-population:

Password,Name,Age,Email,Dept
passwordispassword,Tom Baker,42,tom@tardis.com,Marketing

Once the data is loaded into the Login/Password action, the action will display a series of dropdowns to allow you to map data from the spreadsheet to questions and fields within your survey:

The following question types can be pre-populated by the Login/Password action:

  • Textbox
  • Textbox List
  • Essay
  • Radio Button
  • Checkbox (1 column per checked option)
  • Dropdown Menu
  • Dropdown Menu List
  • Radio Button Grid (by row)
  • Continuous Sum
  • Star Rating Grid (by row)
  • Contact group fields
  • Custom group fields

Strengths: One-time setup, up to 255 separate options/questions can be pre-populated, provides duplicate protection and security.

Weaknesses: Requires manual updating of new spreadsheet when making changes.

Check out our article on Prepoulating a Survey Using a Login/Password Action to learn more!

Webhooks and Third-Party Integrations

Using Webhooks and other third-party integrations you can communicate with external databases, websites, or custom pages in order to prepopulate your survey. In almost all cases, you can also send data from the survey to populate the external databases as well! The following tutorials provide more information about third-party integration:

  • Webhooks - Prepopulate with a returned url encoded string from a custom webpage and script.
  • Salesforce Integration - Prepopulate content based on a Salesforce query with a unique Contact ID.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud Integration - Prepopulate subscriber information based on their Subscriber ID.
  • Hubspot Integration - Prepopulate  contact information based on their email address. 
  • MailChimp Integration - Prepopulate  contact information based on their email address. 
  • SSO for Respondents - Are you already using an Identity Provider (IdP) to manage logins and access to the various systems your users need to access? Including SurveyGizmo  as a Service Provider (SP) as part of your single sign-on (SSO) acts as an added security layer for your surveys. There is also the added benefit of being able to prepopulate; any data present for each user in the IdP can be automatically passed into the survey, which can then be used within the survey itself or in reporting.

Strengths: Integrates with existing information and has automatic communication.

Weaknesses: Steep learning curve and programming knowledge/resources required with Webhooks.

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