SurveyMethods allows you to attach up to five pieces of information to each survey response or respondent. This information can be identifying information about the respondent, such as first name and last name, or a unique number such as a help desk ticket ID, or it can be information about respondents that you want to use for analysis purposes, such as the respondent’s region, job title, manager’s name, etc. These “custom field” values have many different uses throughout the application:

We will cover each of these in more detail later in the article.

Ways to Insert Custom Field Values

There are three methods for attaching custom field values to a response.

Insert Custom Field Values Using Advanced Email Lists

You can insert custom fields when you create an advanced email list or when you use the advanced email list feature when launching your survey. You can also enter the email addresses and custom field values in excel and then import the list into an advanced email list.

For more information on each of these methods, please visit the relevant help articles linked above.

Append Custom Field Values to the Survey Web URL

The second option for inserting custom field values is to append them to the survey web URL. For complete instructions on this method, visit our help article Using Web URLs with Custom Fields.

You might use this method if you have an application that automatically sends out surveys based on triggers. For example, if you send a survey every time a help desk ticket is closed, you could use the help desk software to append certain information to the survey URL (e.g. help desk ticket ID, customer service representative, product information, etc).

Manually Insert Custom Field Values After a Respondent has Completed a Survey

If a respondent has already provided a response to your survey and you wish to add custom field values (or edit the existing custom field values), you can do so from the Individual Results report.

To locate this report, click on the Analyze icon () for the survey you wish to edit. Then choose Individual Results.

Find the result that you wish to modify (either scrolling through them or filtering the responses), and then click Manage This Response.

There you can enter the custom field values and click Save.

Note that you cannot edit the custom field labels using this method. To change the custom field labels you will need to launch the survey using the email launch method.

Using Custom Field Values in SurveyMethods

Inserting Custom Field Values in Survey Communications

You can use your custom field values to customize survey communications or present information to your survey respondents. There are four types of survey communication that you can insert custom fields into:

You can find further instructions on how to insert custom fields in each type of message by visiting the relevant help article linked above.

Two common examples of when this may be useful are inserting a respondent’s name to customize the salutation of the email (e.g. “Dear [Respondent Name]”) or to confirm the respondent is clear about what they are providing feedback on. For example, if you are completing an employee 360 review, you may want to indicate in the survey web greeting the information you have about the respondent, such as their name, department, manager’s name, etc. That way if there are any errors or if a respondent accidentally opens the wrong link, the respondent can flag the issue to you and it can be corrected before they complete the survey.

Inserting Custom Field Values in Survey Questions

When creating questions in the SurveyMethods application, you can insert custom fields in the question text box by using the Insert Custom Fields link just below the text box.

The custom field that you choose will be inserted wherever you have the cursor placed as a custom field tag surrounded by brackets. When the respondent opens the survey, the custom field tag will be replaced with their custom field value. For example, if we have a respondent’s manager’s name stored as the custom field 3 value and we want to display it in a message, we can insert in the message display field as follows:

You can apply styles to the text (such as bolding, shown above), and those styles will be applied to the custom field value when it is inserted.

Using Custom Field Values in Page Logic

You can use the custom field values to create page logic in your survey, allowing you to automatically direct respondents to relevant sections of your survey, or complete actions (e.g. redirection to a website) based on the custom field values.

Visit the custom fields section of our page logic article for a complete discussion of using custom field values for page logic.

Limit surveys to a single response per custom field 1 value

You can use custom fields to allow individuals to complete your survey more than once, but only one time for each custom field 1 value. This feature is commonly used for help desk, CRM or ERP systems, such as if you want to send the same survey each time a help desk ticket is closed. The same individual can complete the survey more than once, but they will be limited to only one response for each help desk ticket ID.

For complete instructions on using this feature, visit our help article Web Launch: Single Take Per Unique Value.

Use Custom Field Values in Survey Analysis

Once you’ve received responses to your survey, you can use your custom field values to filter the responses or to create segments for comparison.

To filter responses in the Individual Results report, the Results Summary report, or the Quick Report Generator, first launch the report from the Analyze menu and then click the Create Criteria button.

In the “Criteria Type” dropdown, select Custom Field, choose the desired custom field, enter the values, and then click Add Criteria.

When you’re satisfied with the filters, click Save and Exit to return to the report with the filter(s) applied.

You can also filter results using custom fields in the SurveyMethods Custom Report Builder. Once your report is created, hover over Data Settings and then choose Data Filters.

Then click Create Criteria.

Choose custom fields for the criteria type, enter the value(s) and click Add Criteria.

When you exit from the filter menu, you will be returned to the report with the filter applied.

Your report will now display “Filter Applied” at the top and you can click that link to view your active filters.

You can also create segments in the custom report builder based on custom field values. You can add charts to the report for any single segment, or you can insert charts that display segments side-by-side for comparison (cross-tab charts).

To create or manage your segments, hover over the Segments menu and click Create & Manage Segments.

Enter a segment name and click Define Criteria. You can then use the custom field values in your criteria when creating your segment.

Once you have a segment defined, you can use that segment on graphs or tables or in cross-tab analysis.

For more information on the custom report builder, visit our Custom Report Builder help article or watch our demo video.

Who Can Use This Feature?

Advanced Email Lists with custom field values are only available to Professional and Enterprise users.