Identification of respondent in an external email routing

There are several possibilities for requesting participation in an online survey. The most common way is to send an email with a link to the questionnaire. Have a look at our advice on how to avoid errors when sending an email request.

You have two options for email routing:

  • Send via the survey platform by using the address book or an FTP upload 
  • Route outside the survey platform: you send via an emailing tool you have chosen.

The good news is that when you opt for routing outside the platform, it is still possible to link the responses to a mailing database by attributing a unique identifier to each respondent.

Online survey: external email routing

Why choose to identify

When a respondent accesses the survey through the email link you have sent, the survey platform recognizes the respondent through the identifier that is found in the link the respondent clicks on. Thus identified, the respondent can start to fill in the questionnaire, interrupt at any moment and restart later. All answers will be saved on the survey platform each time the respondent connects to the survey.

If the survey does not include an identifier, there is no control over the respondent. When respondents disconnect, they cannot go back to the survey again. Thus, the same respondent can answer several times without restriction, which can bias your results.

Free acess profiled survey with identifier

The recipient database:
choice of identifier

So that respondents can be recognized, they must be assigned a unique key in the recipient database. This key should be a sequence of digits or letters; in other words, an alphanumeric sequence.

Most often, the email address is the identifier because it is unique to each individual. You can also attribute a code, such as a customer number or a phone number, or merely number respondents from one to infinity.

Including the identifier in the survey access link

When you have finished programming the questionnaire on the online survey platform, choose open-access publication with identifier. You will obtain a link where the [IDENTIFIER] element should be replaced by the unique key. The variable is usually the title of your database column containing the identifiers. For this replacement, it is preferable to use the merge field of your emailing tool.

  • Example: If you like, you can use the email addresses in the EMAIL column as identifiers; you replace [IDENTIFIER] with #EMAIL#. In this way, each recipient will have a unique personal link; see the following examples:[IDENTIFIANT]


Publication in open access with an identifier allows you to connect the questionnaire answers to a respondent. It offers you the freedom of using an emailing tool that is external to the survey platform while controlling access to the survey and the uniqueness of answers. You will give your participants a more comfortable way to respond and will have more independence in managing your reminders.

  • Extras: You can go even further with open-access publication. Among the options of the Unique Response restriction, you can choose to complete respondent identification with profile parameters. Profile information will be included in your results database.

If you want to create an online survey and need more information about our solutions, contact us using this form or call us at +33 1 57 42 42 42.



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