Maximizing Engagement: Strategies to Boost Survey Response Rates!

Manoj Rana
June 30, 2024
min read
Maximizing Engagement: Strategies to Boost Survey Response Rates!
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Comprehensive user research acts as a key player in the success of a business. For instance, suppose you are planning to launch a new product. In such a scenario, in-depth user research can assist you in capturing valuable market and consumer insights, ultimately leading to a boost in sales and user experience.

Among the various methods to conduct user research, user surveys are one of the most widely used. Counted as a qualitative and quantitative research method, user surveys can clearly reveal customer opinions, needs, and preferences. But there is a catch!

User surveys are only successful when you obtain a high response rate. Deduced as the ratio of the total number of people completing the survey to the number of people viewing or starting it, a response rate of 5% to 30% is considered good.

I know these numbers may seem easily achievable, but you may be wrong here! User surveys have to be carefully planned to increase response rates. I have assembled on how you can potentially increase survey response rates. Let’s get on to it!

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Highlighting The Importance of Response Rate!

Based on the brief definition of response rate, I want to highlight some benefits of it.

The response rate has several benefits.

  1. Higher data accuracy: The better the survey is designed, the easier it is for people to respond to it. Therefore, the data obtained from the survey is more accurate. A badly designed survey may lead to people leaving it or incorrect responses.
  1. Better representation: A good response rate can help you get a better representation of the audience. For example, if fewer people drop out of the survey, there is a high chance of getting a better representation of the audience.
  1. No incentivizing: One of the best things about high response rates is that you don’t have to incentivize or reward the people for the required results.

Note: A key thing to note about all the benefits of high response rates is that all these are highly dependent on the type of survey questions. You need to make a short and engaging survey with crisp questions that are easy to answer for the audience.

Understanding Response Rates

Let me help you understand the response rate with the help of an example!

Let’s say I am conducting a survey to learn about the features that people may like in the next app upgrade. I created a survey and asked 500 people to respond to it. Out of 500, 100 people responded or completed the survey.

From the above scenario, we have to deduce two parameters: the number of invites and the number of people who responded.

Response Rate = (Number of people who responded/number of invitations received) x 100

R.R = 100/500 X 100 = 20%

20% is the response rate. In other words, the response rate is the number of valid responses received from a given campaign.

Do you know?

Surveys can be of several types, such as in-person, email, online, mail, and phone surveys. The maximum response rate is for in-person surveys, which is 57%.

Why Do Survey Response Rates Vary So Much?

Certain factors lead to the variance in response rates. These factors are population size, the margin of error, and level of confidence.

Population size denotes the total number of people participating in the survey, while the margin of error denotes the extent of uncertainty regarding whether the survey will produce the desired results.

Lastly, the level of confidence indicates the possibility of the audience choosing the options provided in your survey.

As all three factors may dwindle based on the type of audience, the response rate can significantly vary.

Read about Ten NPS Survey Best Practices!

Common Challenges To Increasing Survey Response Rates

Boosting the response rate for your surveys is a challenging chore. For example, it can be tricky to find participants or respondents for the survey. This is just one thing. You may face several other challenges.

  1. Keeping it long

The length of your survey can pose a challenge only if it is more than 12 to 15 minutes. Ideally, it is best to keep your survey under or upto 12 minutes. Extending it further can bore the audience. This is also necessary if you are not offering an incentive.

Do you know?

An incentive is an attached benefit that you promise to your respondents in return for completing a survey. These incentives can be product gift cards, loyalty points, offer coupons, voluntary product samples, and even cash.

  1. Badly formatted questions

The second potential drawback is the type of questions. Well, it is actually in your hands to design these questions, but if not done right, the response rate can significantly suffer.

You have to keep the questions concise and crisp without any technical jargon. Besides, you can test the survey on a small subset of participants before sending mass invites.

  1. Bad timing

When you're conducting user research with surveys, your timing is everything. Sending out surveys at the wrong time can degrade your response rate, for example, during work hours.

The response rate will be high if you send out a survey early in the morning, during lunch hours, or in the evening after work.

Do you know?

For a high response rate, Monday is the best day to send out surveys.

  1. Lack of incentives

As we have discussed above, incentives can help boost response rates. Being in a busy life, no one would spare time for your survey if it is not for a reason. Attaching incentives with your survey can help you elevate the response rate.

  1. Privacy concerns

Asking for too much personal information from the user can lead to privacy issues. Maybe not from your end, but the user may not feel safe sharing their information. Thereby giving birth to a new challenge that affects the response rate.

How to Improve Survey Response Rates | Key Strategies

Well, finally, we are at the most important section of the blog. Improving response rates is significantly related to addressing the challenges. Let's read ahead and understand how you can counter the challenges of increasing response rates.

  1. Provide incentives

Incentivizing your survey is one of the best ways to increase the response rate. It is obvious that if someone is browsing your app for a product, they would surely like a discount.

Instead of giving them the discount straight way, you can provide a quick survey to them regarding the product to capture insights and reward them with a coupon or discount on the product.

Other incentive options can include cash, loyalty points, free products, etc., based on the type of survey.

  1. Make it personal

Personalizing the survey can significantly boost the response rate. For example, you can use data analytics to capture user data and add personalized welcome messages to provide a warm touch to your survey.

Here is an example! You can add a pop-up saying, Hi Bruce, we hope you are enjoying your new treadmill. How about a quick survey to share your experience so far?

Such messages help increase engagement and lure users to take the survey. In fact, as per stats, 86% of customers say that personalization affects their buying decisions.

  1. Make it crisp and short.

The key to getting the attention of the respondents and retaining their interest in the survey is keeping it short and crisp. Always add questions that explain themselves without any technical jargon.

Provide limited options to choose from. If you are adding subjective questions, ask them to answer in fewer words.

In short, it should not take more than 10 to 12 minutes.

  1. Choose the right channel.

Increasing engagement in your survey and getting the highest response rate significantly depends on the channel you choose for the survey. For example, conducting in-person surveys can provide a response rate of around 57%. After that, there are email surveys that have a response rate of 30%.

Besides these, other ways of conducting surveys are via mail, in-app surveys, telephone surveys, online surveys, etc. You can choose anyone depending on your convenience and the data required.

Do you know!

Pitching your survey at the right time can help you get more responses. It is best to pitch your survey early in the morning or in the evening after work hours.

Moreover, if you are conducting email surveys, refrain from using the word survey in the subject line.

Read about some attractive email subject lines to enhance the response rate!

  1. Assemble a survey panel.

This is an effective way to save your time while getting valuable input. Assembling and managing a survey panel or a group of people can help you derive results faster. If you need frequent survey insights and don't have a captive audience, this can be the perfect way to conduct your research.

There are several benefits of assembling a survey panel, such as

  • You don't have to hunt for respondents
  • It is a perfect time-saver

Case Studies & Examples

Without practical examples, it can be tough to prove something. Therefore, I have compiled some practical use cases and case studies for you.

  1. DHL

As we have highlighted, surveys should be short and crisp. DHL provides a customer satisfaction survey (CSAT) to its users in the mail while informing them that their package has been delivered.

There are 2 to 3 simple questions that users need to answer. As these are in the communication mail, they are perfect for increasing the response rate.

  1. Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein is another example of a customer satisfaction survey. The brand begins by asking for a general experience from the customer.

No matter what it is, it further pitches some questions to the customer and also allows them to add pictures. The feature of adding pictures of the product enables users to express themselves more freely.

Further, it directly helps improve the brand's response rate.

  1. Vodafone

Vodafone is a communication company that conducts conversational surveys to understand user pain points and further uncover the needs of the customer.

The brand uses a great tactic to capture user experience. Vodafone informs the user that they will be asking only three questions. This motivates the users to take part in it as it will take less time, directly increasing the response rate.

Tools & Technologies

Now, when it comes to improving survey response rate, there is no perfect tool that can help you with it. However, the core aspect that plays a role in improving the response rate lies in the survey design. The way the survey is designed, the type of questions asked, and the hierarchy of the questions all play a critical role.

The number one need is a great survey tool.

Among survey tools on the market, the Qwary survey tool is the best one. There are several types of surveys to choose from, such as enterprise surveys, SMS surveys, in-product surveys, NPS surveys, etc.

Other tools to improve the survey response rate are incentives and survey panels, which are already described above.

Note: On a side note, you can use generative AI to research for better research questions for your survey.


Response rate is a critical parameter when conducting user research, whether it is qualitative or quantitative. Moreover, whether it is about building a product or a service, having a clear idea about the market and the users is necessary. And surveys are the best resource for the same.

However, they need to be designed in a certain way to ensure a maximum response rate. The type of questions, the timing, and the length of the survey are critical aspects that define an effective survey. If you are planning to unravel the market and gain user insights, Qwary resources are at your disposal!

Get Them Now!


  1. What strategies may be useful for increasing the response rate of a survey?

There are several strategies to increase the response rate of a survey. However, the most effective ones are offering incentives, in-person interviews, and setting up a survey panel.

  1. Which of these ways to conduct a survey has the highest response rate?

You can obtain the highest response rate if you conduct a face-to-face survey with your respondents.

  1. What is a good response rate for an engagement survey?

If the response rate of your engagement survey is 70% or more, it qualifies as a good response rate.

  1. Which technique tends to yield the highest response rate?

Offering incentives to your respondents and conducting face-to-face surveys tend to give the highest response rate.

  1. Is a 20% survey response rate good?

No, a 20% response rate for a survey is not a good one. A good survey response rate is 50% or above.