By Greg Matheson, Quest Mindshare

One of the metrics applied to the global trust survey centers on LOI. The findings here are not a surprise and have been consistent over time.  In Canada, approximately half of respondents surveyed find surveys too long.  About half of people surveyed also have a general mistrust of market research companies.  While not necessarily linked, none of this should be surprising to anyone.

These are all ‘knowns’ in our space, otherwise known as the insights industry.  The biggest question researchers should be asking themselves is how does that dissatisfaction with length of survey impact the quality of data collected?  Ultimately impacting decisions being made from that very data. That, to me, should be paramount to anyone designing a survey.

And there is an impact, and it’s very real!

A few years ago, our researchers at Quest Mindshare set out to find a data degradation factor.  Essentially understand how Length of Interview impacts data quality and what factor – call it a data degradation factor, they could apply.

The results were telling across over seven thousand respondents. Here we have cross sections of engagement time at certain timed intervals.  Better engagement means better data:

In short, LOI certainly has an impact on engagement and engagement has an impact on data quality.  While we are not yet at a point where we can apply a degradation factor, we are getting closer. What we do know is that the first 3-4 minutes are prime time and then attention wanes, sometimes dramatically.  Pro tip: Don’t waste prime time with unnecessary screening questions!

Fighting long surveys has been a tale as old as time.  I’ve been doing this since 1996, so that time is, well, a lot of time… And no, I don’t expect that to change but having a metric to understand the value of data when asked t certain timing intervals is a priority for us and it should be for you too.

In the meantime, lets improve trust in not only how respondents view us, but how users of our data trust our data.  For more specifics on this RoR, check out or reach out and any of our team members would be happy to help.

Greg Matheson, Quest Mindshare