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How to Calculate Survey Response Rate?

Fasna Savad

9 August 2021

4 min read

It’s not an easy feat to create an engaging survey that helps you extract the required information from the respondents.

 You need to put in time, effort and money to make a survey work. Thus, it’s quite disheartening to see your survey getting low response rates.

If you have a survey ready in hand, then you should have a fair idea of what and how to calculate the survey response rates. However, if you are still confused, don’t worry! We have got you covered. 

In this blog, we have covered everything you need to know about survey response rates and how to perfect your survey to improve the response rates. So, without much ado, let’s dig in deep.

How To Calculate Survey Response Rate?

Survey response rate is a measure that helps you calculate the efficiency of your surveys. It’s usually expressed in percentage and can be obtained by dividing the number of participants/respondents by the total number of surveys sent. 

Survey response rate

For example, if you had sent the survey to 100 participants and 40 of them attended the survey, the survey response rate would be 40%.

What Is An Acceptable Survey Response Rate?

Now that you know to calculate the survey response rate, it’s also good to know what percentage is acceptable for the data collected to be considered relevant. 

The standard average response rate for a survey is about 33%. Just 33%!!

However, any response rates in the range of 5% to 30% are considered typical if your business has little to no contact with the customers or prospects. If you were to obtain more than a 50% survey response rate, consider it your lucky day. Any number higher than 50 is regarded as a good, or probably as best, survey response rate and the data collected is adequate to reach a conclusion.

Response Rates Vs Completion Rate

Many a time, people tend to confuse between response rates and completion rates. Completion rates denote the number of participants who attended the survey to the very last question. In contrast, response rates indicate the number of participants who entered the survey.

survey completion rate

Completion rates can be found by dividing the number of respondents who completed the survey by the total number of participants of the survey ( the ones who entered the survey).

 For example, you sent out 1000 emails, 300 of them entered the survey while 200 completed it, then the completion rate would be 66.67%. For the same scenario, the response rate would be 30%. 

If there is a huge disparity between the number of participants who completed the survey and the ones who attended it, then it’s time to revamp your survey and make it more engaging so that the respondents find it worthwhile and complete it successfully.

Importance Of Calculating The Survey Response Rate

It is essential to calculate the survey response rate before extracting and using the data collected during your survey. If the response rate is too low, then there is a scope for a considerable margin of error, which makes your whole data collection efforts futile.

 Even if the response rate is 100%, there is still scope for a margin error of 5%. Thus, the lower the response rate, the higher the margin of error. So when you calculate the response rate of your survey, you can easily understand the percentage of margin error and then take the next steps as necessary.

4 Steps To Improve The Survey Response Rate

Here are some ways you can improve your survey so as to increase the survey response rates.

Opt For An Interactive Design

The key reason why many customers simply ignore the surveys is that it appears super dull, and they presume it to be time-consuming. Thus, the ultimate trick is to make the survey to the point, short and engaging at the same time.

Further, the survey should be user friendly, interactive, and at the same time shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to complete.

Try SurveySparrow! With its interactive and conversational style forms, high engagement rates are guaranteed. 

Devise An Effective Strategy To Send The Survey

Not all your customers are the right fit for your surveys. You need to identify the right participants that are eligible to attend your survey.

For example, if you want to know how well your age reversal face cream for women is performing, then the survey about the same should be sent to women above 40 years of age. You can’t expect a massive rise in the survey response rates just because you send the survey to thousands of participants. 

Find out a group of customers that correctly fit the prospect profile and then roll out the surveys via different channels, whichever the customer would find it easy to take the survey.

Follow Up

After a certain period, you can gently remind your customers to take up the survey. As a rule of thumb, send up to a maximum of two follow-ups. If the person still doesn’t take up the survey, then don’t bother them again.

Offer Some Kind Of Incentives

No matter what steps or method you follow, if the response rate is still low, you can offer incentives that motivate the customers to take up the survey. When customers find out that they get some value for the time they spend on attending the survey, they are definitely going to take it up.

Wrapping Up…

If you plan to use a survey to gather up some valuable information from your customers, don’t forget to calculate the survey response rate before you use the data. Not only does it adds meaning to the data, but it suggests if the data collected is actually useable or not.

Further, use the response rates to constantly improve the survey if you plan to run it for a long time. This way, you can improve your response rates and, ultimately, the completion rates as well.

So, cheers to creating surveys that actually work. And Oh, SurveySparrow is always here to help you with that!

Fasna Savad

Full-time introvert with a dash of spontaneity and at times, A writer!


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