Survey Platform - Authenticator Overview | Qualtrics

Authenticator Overview


Sometimes you need all the benefits of a unique survey link without actually creating or sending out a unique link. Authenticators allow you to do just this, letting you collect responses that are connected to contact list information without generating unique links. Authenticators make this possible by having respondents “log in” to take a survey to take it. This means that you can copy the Anonymous Link to a website or into an email and still track who has responded. Only people who are listed in your contact list can take the survey, so you won’t collect unwanted responses even when using the Anonymous Link.

Qtip: To learn how to set up an Authenticator that checks a third-party service instead of a contact list (e.g., a university login system or Facebook login), refer to our SSO Authentication page.

Authenticator Functionality

Authenticators are elements in your Survey Flow, just like Branch Logic or Randomizers.

When a respondent reaches an Authenticator, they are prompted to input certain pieces of information, like an email address or password (you determine the exact field when you set up the Authenticator). Once they enter the information, Qualtrics checks one of your contact lists (you specify which one) to see if the provided information matches any of those contacts. If there is a match, the authentication is successful and the respondent proceeds into the authenticated section of the survey.

If the information is incorrect, the authentication fails and the respondent is prompted to re-enter the information. If the respondent continues to fail, they will be skipped past the authenticated section of the survey. If there is not anything after the authenticated section, the survey will end.

Qtip: Make sure that the respondent has the information they need to log in to the Authenticator.

Setting Up an Authenticator

  1. Go to Survey Flow, click Add a New Element Here, and then click Authenticator.image01
  2. Move the Authenticator to the beginning of your Survey Flow and nest the blocks you’d like to authenticate beneath the Authenticator element.image07
    Qtip: Make sure all blocks that you want authenticated are nested under the Authenticator element. This means they are not on the same outside tier as the Authenticator in the Survey Flow, but are indented or nested under the Authenticator.
  3. Select the library and contact list you’ll use to verify each respondent’s information.image00
  4. Click the dropdown arrow under Authentication Fields to choose the contact list field(s) you’d like the respondent to enter for authentication (you can add additional fields by clicking the green plus sign).image06
    Qtip: The contact field used for authentication needs to contain unique values for each contact, such as an email or an ID number. If you authenticate based off of a common field like first name, the contacts with duplicate values will not be able to authenticate.
  5. If desired, type in a label to provide clarification on the contact field name.image02
  6. If desired, click the Password checkbox to hide the characters the respondent types in.image03
  7. Click Options and review the Authenticator settings.image04
  8. Click OK to save the options.image05

Authenticator Options

Authenticators have a number of options for you to customize the authentication process.

  • Maximum Authentication Attempts: Enter the number of times a respondent can attempt to authenticate before they are skipped out of the authenticated section in your survey (if all of your survey is within the Authenticator, the respondent will be skipped out of the survey entirely).
  • Authentication Prompt Text: Change the text your respondents will see when prompted to authenticate by selecting a message from your library or creating a new one.
    Qtip: Authentication messages are saved under General Messages in your Messages Library.
  • Authentication Error Text: Change the text your respondents will see when they fail to authenticate message by selecting a message from your library or creating a new one.
  • Too Many Failures Error Text: Change the text your respondents will see when they reach the maximum number of authentication attempts.
  • Allow authenticating respondents to retake authenticated section: Let your respondents complete the authenticated section more than once (i.e., they can finish the survey and then retake it).
    Qtip: By default, respondents can authenticate only once. So if a respondent successfully authenticates and completes the survey, they will not be able to take the survey again.
  • Reload any previously saved progress upon authentication: Prevent respondents from starting multiple simultaneous survey sessions by reloading any saved progress each time they authenticate.
    Warning: If you select this option, you must have only one Authenticator at the beginning of your Survey Flow. Also, it is strongly recommended that you disable Save and Continue in the Survey Options. Otherwise, a respondent is able to begin the authenticated section on different devices and then return and complete multiple responses.

Removing an Authenticator

To remove the Authenticator, move all blocks out from under the Authenticator and only then click Delete. If you delete the Authenticator without moving the blocks so they are no longer nested underneath it, all the associated blocks will be deleted. If you accidentally delete your blocks, click Cancel at the bottom of your Survey Flow and all of the changes you made will not be saved.

Testing with an Authenticator

If you are going to be testing out your Authenticator, make sure you add extra dummy contacts to your contact list so you can log in to the Authenticator yourself while testing. You might also want to enable Allow authenticating respondents to retake authenticated section in the Authenticator options so you can take the survey as many times as necessary (though be sure to disable it before you launch!).

Alternatively, you could wait to put your survey elements under the Authenticator until you are done testing.