Sending Qualtrics Surveys by SMS

Brown subscribes to an optional Quatrics feature that allows you to distribute surveys by SMS.

Getting Started

By default, your Qualtrics account doesn't have access to SMS. There is also an associated cost. Here's how to get started:

  • If you would like to test SMS, create a ticket on this page. We will enable the feature for your account and give you several test messages.
  • If you would like to use SMS, you can purchase a $500 bundle of 50,000 text messages. Again, create a ticket and let us know your Workday cost center number and which Qualtrics account(s) should receive the messages. We will put in a purchase order with Qualtrics (the purchase is not instantaneous). 

Using SMS in Qualtrics

This Qualtrics help article gives an overview of the features and general use:

SMS Surveys

Distribution Options

  • If you know your respondents
    • 2-way SMS (purely by text message)
    • Link to take survey in mobile browser (smartphone only)
  • If you don't know your respondents (for example, a public advertisement)
    • Inbound Access codes - allows someone to text a code to a specified phone number to start your survey
    • QR Code (smartphone only)


  • Only use multiple choice and text entry questions in your survey.
  • Keep questions to 160 characters or less, or you will be charged for 2 text messages.
  • Phone numbers must be formatted like 14015555555
  • If a response fails validation (for example, you ask for a number and they respond with text), they will get a text back letting them know (for example, "please provide a number") and they can respond again. These texts will also count against your quota.
  • If you'd like to assign the phone number to an embedded variable, set its value to Q_RecipientPhoneNumber. This is helpful if you are anonymizing data (so it's not associated with the panel/contact list) or if you are using an inbound access code.
  • Similarly, Q_SMSAccessCode will capture the access code people used to get to your survey, if you are using that feature.
  • You can customize the end of survey message if desired (again, keep it short)
  • You can add branching logic to your survey if desired

We currently have no tools for tracking how many SMS each person have used. If you are worried about reaching your limit, we encourage you to track usage yourself. You can see usage statistics on the distribution page of your surveys.

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