Editor’s note: Mario X. Carrasco is co-founder and principal of ThinkNow, an insights agency based in Burbank, Calif.  

Fifty percent of Internet traffic is encrypted. That’s good news during a time of unprecedented data hacks and rising fears of the dark Web. The use of HTTPS:// has become relatively common and its use is expected to accelerate as more search engines follow Google’s lead and rank secure Web sites more highly than unsecured ones. 

Privacy concerns over data security among the general public – who live a large portion of their lives online – is particularly alarming for survey respondents who share their data with marketing research firms. Providing survey links that are visibility secure is a simple way to increase your survey security while giving peace of mind to respondents and potentially improving survey response rates. 

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the Web site that you are connected to. HTTPS adds a security layer by encrypting the data transferred over the Internet. 

How does it protect the respondent?

In the context of surveys, HTTPS encrypts the survey URL such that no third party can read the URL itself, thus mitigating the risks of exposed respondent data.

Secure survey links also maintain the anonymity of respondents. Secure links typically do not store IP or geolocation data making them attractive for many research projects, as success is dependent on the ability to assure survey respondents that their answers are anonymous. 

There are a variety of reasons to conduct surveys anonymously. Employee satisfaction surveys, for example, offer employees a private safe space to provide feedback without the fear of being reprimanded for their honesty. Additional examples include conducting educational or medical research where privacy is req...