If you'd like to allow your survey respondents to save and return to their survey after they've started, we have various built-in methods to help: Save & Continue on the survey level, and Save and Continue built into Email Campaigns (visit our Save and Continue tutorial to learn more).
If these options don't work for you, using a URL variable called sguid is a great alternative! Using sguid you can create a unique link that can only be used once.
What is a sguid?
sguid is a URL Variable that can be appended to the end of a distribution link in order to:
- Uniquely identify responses
- Act as a save and continue option
- Protect against duplicate responses
Alchemer uses sguids at the end of Email Campaign links (to provide duplicate protection, as well as, a save and continue option). You can employ sguid yourself by adding them to the end of your distribution links!
Here is an example survey link with sguid appended:
In this example, notice:
- sguid should be written as sguid (all lowercase)
- The unique value, in this case, "user112," can be any mix of alphanumeric characters. Punctuation, symbols, or spaces are not permitted
- the unique value is case-sensitive so, user112 would be unique from USER1234
When using email campaigns, Alchemer automatically generates unique sguid values for each contact in your email campaign. If you decide not to use our email campaigns, you will need to manually generate your sguids.
Note: sguids are also compatible with Private Domains!
When would I use sguid?
- Sending email invites through a 3rd party tool that has merge code capabilities. The emails could be constructed to append the user's unique Subscriber ID as the sguid value with the link.
- Managing a social network and providing feedback survey links to logged-in members that associate the data with their User ID and links them to a single response with the User ID as the unique value for sguid.
- Generating a unique code for a "pay-for" survey to track the individual and also to ensure that they cannot change their answers once it is completed.
- Using sguids to trace back who completed your survey. If you know who received what link, you can figure out who they are via the sguid (which will be captured by our system).
What should I avoid when using sguid?
- We discourage use of sguid in one-page surveys if you plan to use it for the purpose of allowing respondents to save and continue (as data is collected on page submission)
- Capital letters in the sguid variable (our system can capture them, but they are case sensitive)
- Please avoid sharing sguid links if you wish for multiple people to use the same link to create separate responses
Capturing sguids in your survey
Like any other URL Variable, our system will record the sguid value automatically.* However, depending on what you want to do with the values you receive, you may want to capture them in a Hidden Value when you create your survey.
URL variables such as sguid that are not captured in a Hidden Value will still report in Individual Responses, Standard Reports, and CSV/Excel Exports (if you indicate they should be included), but they will not be available for piping or prepopulating your survey. If you need to use sguid values for piping and pre-population, you'll need to capture them in a hidden value.
To learn how to add a hidden value to your survey, please visit Storing and Using Hidden Values.
*sguid will not be available in surveys set to anonymous as this is considered identifying information.
What will the respondents experience when using a sguid link?
When leaving and then returning to their survey respondents will return to that specific response with their previous answers already pre-set!
After completing the survey, survey takers who return to the sguid link will see the thank you page. In this way, the use of sguids acts as a form of duplicate protection.
Want to experience it yourself?
Copy and paste this link into your browser, and add whatever value you'd like to the end:
(It should end up looking something like http://survey.alchemer.com/s3/953572/SGUID?sguid=bob)
Make sure you use a unique value as your sguid. If you find that you reach a Thank You page with the value you've added to the string above, this means someone else has already entered it, so please try something else!
sguid alias: Use a different URL Variable as a SGUID
Using sguid_alias, you can convert your sguid to a URL variable of your choice. How? Easy! Just add this additional URL variable to your link:
For example, let's say that the URL Variable you'd like to use as a sguid is 'customerid.' You would first add customerid as a URL variable and specify it's value. Next, replace xxx with customerid. You'll end up with the following format:
This would be the equivalent of using: http://mysurveylink?sguid=123abc