Identify your email survey respondents using merge tags

Learn how to link responses with your subscribers/respondents using hidden fields in your survey URL called merge tags

Vlada avatar
Written by Vlada
Updated over a week ago

If you send surveys to specific customers or audiences, you might want to match the responses to those known individuals. This way you can:

  • inquire about the experience of specific user;

  • accurately act on the feedback responding to individual needs.

In this article, you will learn what are merge tags and how they help to automatically recognize the email survey respondents without asking them to provide the contact details, no matter which platform you use - email marketing tool or your own email, like Gmail or Outlook.

How does an email survey identify my respondent?

If you choose to send out a survey via a platform we support, you'll be able to identify your respondents easily. The links we automatically generate use merge-tags. They let you use dynamic content in your campaign as well as link responses with your subscribers/respondents. Depending on the email tool you use, we will automatically collect all or some of the following respondent's details:

  • Email

  • First Name

  • Last Name

  • User's id

Here's a breakdown of a sample link:

Survey ID: Every survey has a unique survey ID. The ID is set by Survicate and will differ from survey to survey.

Distribution: The name of the email tool you'll use to get the survey sent out.

Merge tags: They do the magic and let you identify the respondents. Once a respondent clicks on a link or responds to a survey from an email, the merge-tag part - in this case {{}} - will populate automatically. Further on, this information will be visible in the survey analysis.

Answer ID: is the ID belonging to this internal answer point inside the Survicate database.

Suppose you send a survey via HubSpot to To select the email tool you will use to send the survey, go to the Configure section when setting up your survey.

Once you send the email, the link will look as follows:

The following information will become visible in the respondent's profile:

How to identify respondents when using the unsupported email tool to distribute a survey?

In case you distribute your survey via the email tool we don't have on our list, you can still identify the respondents by adding merge tags to your survey link.

For example, you want to capture users' emails when sending surveys via software with merge tag construction like this: [respondent_data]. Just add ?email=[email] to your link:[email]

If you also want to pass other attributes along just add another parameter like so:[email]&my_attribute=[attribute]

Just remember to add & sign between different attributes.

Please note that merge-tags construction might be different depending on the software of your choice - therefore, please make sure to add the correct merge-tags construction to your survey link.

❗️In case of using an unsupported provider to identify respondents, our team won't be able to support you in case of any issues.

🚀 Let's take Mailjet as an example. We've found that the merge tags construction used in this platform looks as follows:


The default value in this example is a fallback, which is not necessary to be added to the construction.

When sending the email survey using Mailjet, we would like to know the respondent's first and last name, and email. So we changed the survey link by adding the following merge tags in the correct format:[[data:firstname]]&last_name=[[data:name]]&email=[[EMAIL_TO]]

How to identify respondents without an email marketing tool?

If you send surveys via your own email (such as Gmail or Outlook), you can also edit a link to assign responses to respondents. However, you would need to manually edit every survey link you send - the link should be unique for every respondent you contact.

To know who answered create the Shareable link survey, add the merge tags and fill them by hand.

As an example, imagine that you send surveys to 2 customers: Angela and Barbara.
When you send your link by filling first_name= tag with Angela

In the Answers tab, you will see Angela's responses assigned to her:

When sending the survey to Barbara, the link should be changed accordingly:

Best practices

I would like to embed the first question to the email, how can I add merge tags to recognize the respondents then?

For that, you would need to modify the HTML code you use to embed to your email. The HTML code contains the X number of survey links, where X - is the number of answer choices to the first question. You would need to update each survey link in the code with the merge tags, as described in the article above.

I would like to pass additional information about the respondents to Survicate, such as a phone number. How can I do that?

As an example, let's take Intercom. The standard survey link looks as follows:{{first_name}}&last_name={{last_name}}&email={{email}}&uid={{user_id}}

If we want to know the respondent's phone number, we should add an additional merge tag (attribute) to this construction following the Intercom's attributes rules. In this case, it is &phone={{phone}}. Thus, the link will look like{{first_name}}&last_name={{last_name}}&email={{email}}&uid={{user_id}}&phone={{phone}}

📞 If you have any questions about identifying respondents in your email survey - feel free to reach out to our team via chat or email:

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