Unlocking Insights: A Comprehensive Guide on Maximizing Survey Participation

Manoj Rana
June 28, 2024
min read
Unlocking Insights: A Comprehensive Guide on Maximizing Survey Participation
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Among several ways to conduct user research, user surveys are the best ones. I believe that because, unlike other methods, such as user interviews, focus groups, etc., they are quick and efficient. But here is a catch! They have to be designed properly.

Based on the type of research and required response, user surveys come in numerous forms. On the one hand, quantitative research involves closed-ended questions, whereas qualitative research comprises of mostly open-ended or subjective questions.

Hence, they need to be curated systematically to get the required response. When we talk about getting survey responses, numerous factors line up for analysis.

It is not just that you created a survey, but the job is done. The criticality of the survey lies in the responses received, and you can get relevant and voluminous responses to your surveys easily. Let me help you understand how in this blog!

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Tips to Increase Survey Response Rates

Understanding Survey Response Rates

Before we learn about the creative methods of getting survey responses or improving survey response rates, let’s comprehend what survey response rate is.

Mathematically, it is the ratio of the number of valid responses received to the number of survey invites.

Survey response rate = (Number of valid responses/number of invites sent) x 100

Let's understand this with an example!

I conducted a UX survey to find out how many people liked their new phone updates. I sent out 1000 invites, and in return, I received 200 responses.

Now, as per the definition of response rate, the response rate is 200/1000 = 0.2.

Converting it into a percentage, 20%, is the response rate.

As per statistics, a response rate of over 5% to 30% is considered good. However, based on the type of survey, the response rate varies.

Do you know?

I found out that email surveys have a response rate fluctuating between 25% to 33%. On the other hand, the response rate of in-app surveys is just 13%.

Selecting Clear Objectives

Whether you are looking for answers to increasing survey response rates or how to tune the user’s mind to take one, selecting clear objectives forms the foundation of it.

Not just for yourself, but letting your users know about the purpose of the survey increases the response rate. For example, if you inform your users that the survey is conducted to increase the user experience, they will automatically be aligned to answer it.

I have seen many researchers selecting obscured objectives or no objectives at all. This not only affects your research but also keeps you from selecting the right questions and methods. Therefore, while selecting clear objectives, you have to keep SMART in mind!

SMART is an acronym that highlights the characteristics of your goals!

  1. Specific: Your goal has to be specific. For example, you need to state that you have to boost your customer experience through the new app update.
  1. Measurable: Your goal has to be measurable. You should know how many customers are satisfied with the new app update. For example, there should be some KPIs for measuring the goal. NPS, CSAT, etc., are some of the best user experience KPIs.

Know about the best UX survey questions here!

  1. Achievable: The third parameter is that your goal should be achievable. You have to set the goal to a certain limit to ensure that it is achievable and you do not lose motivation. For example, rather than going for a 100 CSAT score, go for 70-80.
  1. Relevant: Make sure that your research goals are relevant, i.e., if you are aiming for a bigger goal of boosting the number of app downloads, going for improving the UX or customer experience is a relevant goal along the way.
  1. Time-bound: Your goal should be time-bound. Make sure that you are setting your goal for a specific time, 6 or 8 months. This will generate a sense of urgency and will trigger your mind to work faster to achieve it.

Do you know!

Selecting the right objectives helps you effectively choose your target audience, types of questions, and survey distribution method.

Incentivizing Participation

Monetary Vs Non-Monetary Survey Incentives

Besides selecting the right goals and objectives, promising and providing incentives for taking the survey significantly boosts the response rate.

Incentivizing survey responses can be done in several ways,

Monetary incentives

Monetary incentives are bestowed in the form of cash & other monetary benefits. The best examples of such incentives are charitable donations, discount coupons, gift cards, cash, etc.

Among several examples, I found Lenskart to be the perfect example of monetary incentives. The eye-glasses-producing brand offers remarkable monetary benefits to its customers after they fill out a survey. For example, providing a waiver of 300 INR on a purchase of over 1000 INR.

Non-monetary incentives

Unlike monetary incentives, these are offered to the users in the form of royalty points, free product samples, & even subscriptions.

In terms of non-monetary benefits, there is no better example than Youtube. It provides a free trial of 3 months to its users; when the trial is over, they have to complete a survey. Providing an experience of your product helps in boosting the response rate.

Non-Monetary Survey Incentive Sample

Hybrid incentives

These incentives can be a mix of monetary and non-monetary incentives. Some of the prime examples of such incentives are giveaways and sweepstakes. As per stats, around 56% of brands run simultaneous giveaways on multiple channels.

An impressive example here is Sigma Beauty. The brand provides a giveaway of $500 to a certain number of customers for providing feedback via a survey.

I have found another case study related to incentivizing survey responses if you want to check it out! In this, adding an incentive with a survey led to a 50% boost in the response rate.

Giveaway Survey Incentive Sample

Strategies for Increasing Survey Responses

Besides selecting the right objectives and incentivizing response rates, several other strategies can be implemented to ensure a higher response rate.

  1. Keep the survey short.

If you want to gain quality insights from your survey, keep it short and crisp. Here are some crucial things to keep in your survey to keep it short.

  • Make it free of technical terms and jargon.
  • Add clear, closed-end questions.
  • In the case of open-ended questions, specify a word count.

I would like to add a pro tip here! Keep the survey time between 10-12 minutes.

Here are some impressive email subject lines to get more people to respond to your surveys!

  1. Pick the right mode of communication.

The mode of presenting your survey to the audience significantly affects the response rate. There are several ways to present your survey to the audience, including

  • Mail surveys
  • E-mail surveys
  • In-app surveys
  • Online surveys
  • Phone surveys
  • In-person surveys

While in-person surveys have the maximum response rate, in-app surveys have the lowest response rate.

  1. Get a survey panel

The third strategy to keep your survey's response rate up is to assemble a survey panel crew. You see, your research can be of several types, and it can be tough to garner the required results from the audience each time. Most importantly, it can be challenging to get the audience to answer your survey questions every time.

Therefore, to save yourself the hassle of looking for an audience, a survey panel can be helpful. Not only does it affect the response rate, but it can also help you save time.

Check out the ideal user research questions to ask to boost the user experience!

  1. Pitch at the right time

Timing is the key to boosting your service's response rate. If you are looking for the ideal time to pitch your survey, I would suggest you send out the survey emails early in the morning on the working day, when people are about to begin their work day.

You can also pitch your survey in the evening, when the workday is over. It is best to go for the survey on Monday.

Monitoring and Analyzing Responses

Once the survey data is available, it is time to comprehensively analyze it. As the data will be in raw form, you have to transform it into a more refined form. There are several methods to do this, such as

  • Cross-tabulation
  • Regression analysis
  • The T-test
  • Analysis of variance
  • Cluster analysis

Restructuring the data for these methods is necessary.

Further, based on the analysis of data, you can take the required actions, such as

  • Revamping the specific app features to make it more attractive.
  • Get customer interviews in line to understand their views better.
  • Reach out to customers who liked the product or app.


I would say that getting people to respond to your survey is an easy and difficult task. It is easy because creating a survey is not a big deal, and it is difficult because there are a lot of criticalities involved.

However, if you go as per a process design, plan your questions well, target the users at the right time, and provide them incentives, you are sure to increase the response rate of your surveys.

When it comes to designing the survey, some critical aspects have to be kept in mind, such as the flow of questions, hierarchy of questions, visual design, etc.

To get some motivation and ideas for your survey design, you can check out the resources from Qwary. Get in touch now!


1. What is a good survey response rate?

A survey response of 50% or over is considered a good survey response rate. If it is under 10%, it is a bad one.

2. What is the minimum acceptable survey response rate?

The minimum acceptable response rate for a survey can lie anywhere between 10% to 30%. Around 51% of the organizations have a response rate of 20% or above.

3. How to calculate the survey response rate?

The survey response rate can be calculated as the ratio of the number of people who completed the survey to the number of people who viewed or started the survey.

4. How do we increase the survey response rate?

There are several effective ways to increase the survey response rate, such as providing incentives, making the survey short and simple, using cognitive dissonance, picking the right channel, and setting up a survey panel.