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The Average Survey Response Rate and How to Beat It

  • author

    Heather Munro

  • posted

    Oct 04, 2022

  • topic

    Academic Research, Digital Marketing, Market Research

The Average Survey Response Rate and How to Beat It

Academic and market researchers often wonder what the average survey response rate is. Estimates vary.

Experience management platform Qualtrics reports that figures typically fall between 20% and 30%. In general, a survey response rate below 10% is considered very low, while anything above 50% is high.

Making matters even more complicated, SurveyMonkey, a leading survey platform, says the average survey response rate can vary widely. For instance, “blind date” surveys, where the respondent has no relationship with the survey sender, can have response rates as high as 20% to 30%.

So it’s difficult to know what the average survey response rate really is. Especially because everything from the survey length and the type of questions to the invitation language and incentives play a contributing role in the outcome.

Steps to Help You Increase Response Rates

Whatever numbers you’re seeing, one thing is clear: Evidence shows that response rates grow by up to 15% if you offer an appropriate incentive for survey completion.

There are also plenty of variables you can play with to drive engagement and improve your organization’s response rates. When designing your surveys, here are some key things to keep in mind.

  • Offer incentives they’ll love. Go beyond the average survey response rate by giving your respondents a choice of incentives. College students may love an Xbox gift card, while working parents may prefer a meal delivery service like HelloFresh.
  • Keep it short and sweet. SurveyMonkey found that abandon rates jump for surveys that take longer than seven or eight minutes to complete. If you have lots of questions, consider breaking them up into two surveys.

READ MORE: How to Use a Visa E-Gift Card to Boost Survey Response Rates

  • Offer the right reward value. Obviously, your budget is a contributing factor, but you have to make sure you’re offering an amount that grabs your target audience’s attention. Here’s a formula you can use to figure out an appropriate amount.
  • Create a sense of urgency. Offer incentives to the first 50 or 100 respondents to make it more likely that they will answer the survey right away. Also, if you have automated your rewards, make it clear they will be delivered immediately — the desire for instant gratification is a strong motivator.
  • Make it personal. Simply customizing your survey invitation with your participant’s name and a warm note can have a dramatic effect on the response rate.
  • Consider your demographics. Design your survey with the target population in mind from the get-go. This will help you avoid having to try to catch up and track down more participants when you don’t get enough data.

As you can see, achieving results higher than the average survey response rate is a delicate balancing act. Incorporating the tips above can help you get a handle on what works best for your audience.

For more ideas on maximizing engagement for your next survey, download The Market Researcher’s Survey Response Rate Optimization Checklist.

about the author
Heather Munro

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

Based near Boulder, Colorado, Heather is a copywriter who has been writing in the retail and B2B space for more than 20 years.

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