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Respondent lists and background data

Table of contents

    What is a respondent list?

    A respondent list is a collection of data relating to the people you would like to send your survey(s) to. These lists typically contain email addresses or phone numbers, as well as any other information that will help you to create accurate reports with various filters and breakdowns. Some examples of additional information include department, region, or customer number.

    The additional information in a respondent list is called Background data. To read more about how to create your respondent list, click here.

    How do I add a respondent list?

    Depending on the purpose of your list, you have two options for adding a respondent list:

    1. Add it directly to the sendout for a specific survey.
    2. Save it to your Netigate account so that it can be used across a number of surveys.

    Upload the list to a sendout

    Respondent lists are most commonly used on a survey-by-survey basis. To work with the lists in these cases, you need to begin by creating an e-mail, SMS, or Login sendout in the Distribution page of your selected survey. To upload the list, go to the tab labelled Respondents and click the option to Add file. You then need to select the Excel file containing your respondent list. Once you have done this, a message will appear demonstrating what your uploaded Excel file should look like.

    We recommend that you look through your file before uploading it. It’s important that the file matches the Netigate system requirements and that you do not add information that isn’t needed.

    Here are a few tips for what you should look out for in the Excel file:

    • E-mail/telephone number should always be in the first column (Column A).
    • There should be no empty rows in the first column (Column A).
    • E-mail addresses should be in the correct format and not include any blank spaces or special characters (other than @).
    • Phone numbers need to be accompanied by a country code and include no blank spaces or special characters.
    • No hidden rows or columns in the Excel file.
    • No unnecessary formatting or formulas in the Excel file.

    Here is an example of what the Excel file should look like

    Upload list to your account

    You also have the option of uploading a respondent list to your Netigate account so that it can be used across multiple surveys. To do this, you will need to begin in the Home menu of the tool and locate the option called Lists & Data.

    In Lists & Data, you will see an overview of any existing respondent lists and have the opportunity to add new ones by clicking Create. When a new list is created, you will need to name it. Note that the name you provide here is never presented to respondents or anyone else outside of the Netigate platform; it is just how the list is displayed inside the tool.

    To use an uploaded respondent list for a specific survey, you will need to enter the corresponding Distribution page and create an e-mail, SMS, or Login sendout. From here, click Use a previously uploaded list and then select your desired list from the drop-down menu.  Once selected, you will be asked if you want to add a filter. The filter function allows you to filter the list that you add to the sendout. For example, you could filter by ‘HR’ if you have an employee list with background data about departments in the workplace. This filter would mean that only respondents in HR would receive your sendout.

    You can only use one respondent list per sendout. If you want to add multiple lists to a survey, you can do this by creating additional sendouts.

    Configure fields

    When the Excel file has been uploaded, you will get a setup screen for your background data. Here, you will need to decide what type of data is added in each of the columns and how it should be presented in the Report if added.

    The options for each column include:
    Ignore field: Will remove the column from the list.
    Textbox: Will present the background data as open text answers in the report.
    Ordinal: Will present the background data as a drop-down menu. Allows you to filter on the results in your report.
    E-mail addresses: A column marked with E-mail addresses will be used for sendouts. Only available through an E-mail sendout.
    SMS: A column marked with SMS will be used to identify phone numbers for sendouts. Only available through an SMS sendout.
    Logins: A column marked with Logins will be used to create login information for respondents. Only available through an Login sendout.

    Import background data to your survey

    Once you have uploaded your list it will be connected to your survey. Your answers will be listed in the background data, but in order to view the background data in your reports you will need to import it into your questionnaire. In order for the data to be viewable in the report, it needs to be added as a series of questions.

    To begin, you will need to enter the Edit mode for your survey. Once here, locate and click on the Import option in the menu to the left-hand side of the screen. A menu will then appear giving you the option to import questions from a different survey—but you will also see the option for Background Data. Click Background Data to expand the section, where you will then see Respondent list.

    Under Respondent list you will see a list made up of the column headings in your uploaded Excel file. If you click on one of the options, you will see a preview of the question in the pop-up window.

    You can also click the import icon to import all the uploaded respondent list columns at once:

    The option that is visible in the question is the first option in the list. If you click the drop-down menu you will be able to view all the added options.

    Click Add to import the question to your survey. It will be added as the last question of the survey page that you are currently viewing.

    Once the question has been added to the page, it will appear in the question list. You will see that it is labelled with Background data in green text, which indicates that this is a background data question and will not be visible to respondents.

    It doesn’t matter if you add background data before or after the send-out. What is important, however, is that the respondent list has been uploaded for the survey and, ideally, contains all background variables. The import before the send-out is important when you to base logic on background variables.

    If you add more background variables after the initial import (e.g. country or language), you will have to delete the mechanism and import it anew to use it in the report. In this specific case, you can accept the warning message about the deletion of background variables, as the variables will still be present in the list and can be reconnected.

    Finalise your send-out

    After you have added the respondent list, you can finish your email message. Click twice on Next and activate the send-out. Your respondents will receive the survey via email at the date and time you have specified. As soon as your respondents answer the first question, the background data will automatically be filled in and you can filter your results accordingly.

    Update respondent data / add new respondents

    Using the following methods, you can edit your respondent list or add new respondents even after the initial send-out:

    • You can create a new Excel file containing any new respondents and upload it. Please note that the columns must be labelled identically in the new file and the previously uploaded file. You can add new columns but you must make sure that you add them after existing columns. You can upload the new file with the Add File button.
    • Alternatively, you can add new respondents to the same Excel file that you used in the initial send-out. As above, you can add new columns but you must ensure that they are added after the existing columns. If you choose this option, please ensure to mark the checkbox Update existing respondents if matched. This will make sure that no duplicates are created of the initial set of respondents.
    • You can also update or edit specific respondent details. To do this, make the changes directly in your respondent Excel list and then upload the updated file. Again, you should make sure to mark the checkbox Update existing respondents if matched. By uploading the altered Excel file you will overwrite the initial file with the new updates. If you have added new variables (new columns, for example) and want to use them in your report, make sure that they are also imported into your survey (see the Import background data to your survey section above).