Google says it has built a number of quality control “traps” into its Google Consumer Surveys offering — to prevent what we call “junk clicks.” One of the simplest to explain QC measures is to not let the respondent click too fast. Meaning: Google keeps track of how long it takes the average person to read a question, think about it, and click on an answer. If you click too fast, Google assumes you have not read the question, and that you are just clicking to get past the survey, and to the content behind it. At first, Google would put up a simple “Try Again” message if you click too fast.
But apparently, that cryptic message baffled a number of respondents, and so now Google has elaborated on the message, as follows:
If you use Google’s DIY research tool to conduct a survey, you will get back a graph that looks like the following for every question you ask:
Variation across these 3 questions ranges from a median response time of 9.4 seconds (good, in our opinion) to 22.0 seconds (horrible, in our opinion). If it takes the average respondent more than 12.5 seconds to read, parse, digest and respond to your Google Consumer Surveys question, there is something wrong with the question. So, while Google may have an interest in slowing you (the respondent) down, our goal as a researcher is to write questions in such a way that we speed you up.
If you have evidence of a Google Consumer Surveys question being answered in less than 9.4 seconds (median response time), post that here. We’d like to compile those questions.
To see everything that we have written about Google Consumer Surveys, type “google” into the search box at the top right corner of this page.
If you need help writing a survey question that can be answered in 12.5 seconds, hire a professional researcher. A good researcher can help you write a question that is understood instantly, and understood the same way by everyone who reads it.