Survey Skip Logic and Branching - Definition, Questions with Examples

What is Survey Branching and Skip Logic?

Survey skip logic or survey branching is defined as feature that moves respondents to a different question or page on the basis of their response to the current question. This feature can move respondents to a different response sequence or simply, skip some questions to maintain the flow of their responses in the survey. You can define custom rules in the survey design to create a custom path for each respondent on the basis of their responses. Skip logic or survey branching in a survey is an efficient way of data collection and helps reduce survey dropout rate. They provide the ability to create “intelligent” surveys, meaning respondents can answer relevant questions based on their answers to screening questions.

For example, a patron at a restaurant can be asked if he/she enjoyed their meal. If the answer is no, the survey questions branch out to ask a future question - “Can you rate your experience on the basis of the following parameters.” with a few options about service, quality of food, ambience, pricing and the behavior of the restaurant staff. If the answer to the question is yes, a follow-up question about what part of the experience made them respond yes, can be asked.

Branching or skip logic is achieved by using Boolean statements. The statements can be in the form of if answer choice 2 is picked on question 3 then skip directly to question 10. If not, continue to question 4. Skip logic works only forward though. Hence it is important to flowchart the survey questions beforehand and then code or implement the survey.

Uses of Survey Skip Logic and Branching: Examples

The simplest use of a skip logic or branching question in a survey is where some questions are not relevant to all respondents of the survey. This ensures that the survey is as closely relevant to each respondent as possible. It helps in collecting actionable feedback from each respondent and reduces the time to complete a survey. It also increases the probability of a respondent completing a survey. Some common types of projects or surveys that use skip logic and branching are:

  • New product launches or product tweaks: For example, if an FMCG brand would like to understand laundry detergent usage, they can run a questionnaire that understands the usage of current detergents by using basic demographic questions. This survey can help understand if the respondents prefer detergent in the form of liquid or powders, the aroma they prefer the clothes to be.
  • Employee satisfaction surveys: For organizations, keeping employees happy is imperative. For this to happen, timely employee satisfaction surveys have to be conducted. Each employee may not have the same grievance or similar satisfaction. Using skip logic and branching in the survey can collect relevant feedback.
  • Assigning tasks: In a school environment, parents participation in the activities of their and other children is important. These tasks though have to be distributed on the basis of their interest and other parameters such as time to give, days off etc. Using skip logic and branching in a survey provides in-depth insights into the level of interaction of the parents with the school and the kids.
  • Concept test for new services: Survey data is a good yardstick to gauge the interest level of new services and the level they would be implemented to. Skip logic and branching in these surveys help collect feedback on the possible level of implementation of these services.

Resources: 300+ FREE Survey Templates and Questionnaire Examples

Types of Survey Skip Logic and Branching

There are two types of skip logic and branching in a survey. They are:

  1. Conditional Branching: Conditional Branching happens in a survey only if a predefined condition is met. In this case, the logic of the survey is inputted during the survey design phase. This helps create a custom path for a respondent that is taking a survey and helps move from one question to another without having to see irrelevant questions. For example, if a respondent is on Question 3 which is a dichotomous question type. Answering “yes” on this question takes the respondent to Question 6 but answering “no” displays Question 12 to the respondent.
  2. Unconditional Branching: This branching type is occurs directly as a statement that has no conditions. These statements are typically used for text questions or otherwise at the end of a branch path that brings the respondent back to a main point in the survey. For example, if the in the above question type, there is no branching for the option “yes”, but responding “no” to the same question takes the respondent to another question. Unconditional logic can also skip all survey respondents to a certain page in the survey.

What is Advanced Skip Logic and Branching?

Advanced skip logic and branching customizes the survey on the basis of multiple parameters. Some of these are:

  • Piping data: You can use collected data in the start or due course of the questionnaire to populate any further survey questions.
  • Question randomization: You can change the order in which questions appear. You can also A/B test different order of questions to see how each of these survey performs.
  • Option randomization: You can also randomize the options in the questions to limit survey responses being copied.
  • Duplicate protection: Conduct IP-based or cookie based surveys to collect only one survey from one computer.
  • Link quota: Close the survey automatically after a predefined of completed surveys have been achieved.
  • Soft-required questions: Customize error messages so that the respondent is made aware of in case any survey gets missed.
  • Question based quota: You can also close the survey if a certain number of questions have been answered or the requisite required number of options in a survey is reached.

Survey Skip Logic and Branching Question Example

To better depict how the survey skip logic and branching works, let us consider Kroger conducting a survey with its patrons to understand the purchasing trends in their grocery sections. This survey can be conducted across the country and across demographics to collect deeper insights into the purchasing psyche. This can help tailor make messaging, advertising and offers to those demographics. The question can be asked as below:


For any of the first four options, the question branches out to ask them their reasoning behind it and collect more feedback. The first question after this branching could be:


If the respondent selects option 5 - Never in the original question, the question then branches out to the below to collect insights on how to possibly convert these customers:


Resources: 300+ FREE Survey Templates and Questionnaire Examples

Advantages of Survey Skip Logic and Branching

Some of the distinctive advantages of using survey skip logic and branching are:

  • Reduces survey completion time: Since skip logic and branching is used in a survey, the time to complete a survey reduces considerably since a respondent only can see questions based on their past selection. This acts as a screening question.
  • Survey flow is maintained: Nobody likes a survey that is not structured and questions are all over the place. Using skip logic and branching in the survey, a proper survey flow is maintained. Each question has a precursor response and this makes the survey relevant.
  • Reduced survey dropout rate: The survey dropout rate is very high when the respondent feels like the questions aren’t relevant to them. For example, if a respondent says that he/she does not use a smartphone, the subsequent question asking them to select their favorite apps causes them to feel like the survey is not relevant to them and then leave it halfway.
  • Each respondent feels the survey is tailor made for them: Using the above example, if the subsequent question was “Why do you not use a smartphone?” and the survey then aims to uncover the reasons behind this decision, the respondent is happy as the survey experience is relevant to him/her. This is why the survey design is so important and appropriate use of survey skip logic and branching is a must.
  • Meaningful survey data is collected: Survey data only is meaningful if the survey response ratesurvey response rate is high and the appropriate use of survey skip logic and branching ensures this rate is achieved.

Learn More: Quantitative Data

How can I set up branching?

Before setting up branching logic, you should set up the entire survey with all of the questions. This will make it easier to check that the logic is correct when testing the survey.

To set up branching/skip logic, go to:

  • Login » Surveys (Select Survey) » Edit Survey
  • Hover over the question you want to branch from. This will bring up the fly-out menu on the right side of the screen.
  • Click Logic.
  • By default, you should be on the Branching/Skip Logic screen.
  • For most question types, you can set up branching based on individual answers. To do this, select the branching destination by clicking on the drop-down for the answer under the If selected, jump to: column.
  • Click Save Logic. Note: When logic is set up for a question, a page break is automatically inserted. This page break is necessary for branching to function properly and cannot be removed.


Resources: 300+ FREE Survey Templates and Questionnaire Examples

What are the different Jump To options?

Based on the answer option selected, respondents will be directed to the jump to location that is set on the survey. Following Jump To options are available:

  • Survey Questions: You can select from any of the questions that are after the source question.
  • Terminate Survey: Select this option if you wish to terminate the survey for respondents. Respondents who are terminated will not be recorded as a complete response. You can filter to see responses for those who were terminated via branching in the report filters.
  • Go To Thank You page: Select this option if you wish to direct respondents to the Thank You page. Responses that are directed to the Thank You page will be recorded as complete responses.
  • Chain Survey: Select this option to take respondents to a different survey. If this option is selected, choose the Chained Survey by selecting it from the drop-down list that appears.

What is Default Destination branching?

The default destination branching is the fall-back logic that gets executed when no other logic gets triggered.

Key points to remember…

– You can only move forward in the survey. It is not possible to go back to questions that have been already answered. Therefore, you can only set branching to questions that are later on in the survey.

– If you want to change the order of the questions in your survey, you should first evaluate any impact on the branching. If you reorder a survey so that the question that followed the branching logic is now before the question that contains the branching logic, the branching logic will not work. If this happens, go back to the source question (the question you were branching FROM), get to the Branching/Skip Logic screen, then click Reset next to the Save Logic button.