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How to Calculate Survey Response Rate?

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

30 May 2024

6 min read

Wondering how to calculate the survey response rate? It’s not easy to create an engaging survey that helps you extract the required information from the respondents.

 You must put in time, effort, and money to make a survey work. Thus, seeing your survey getting low response rates is quite disheartening.

If you have a survey ready, 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.

What Does Survey Response Rate Mean?

A survey’s response rate is the percentage of people who actually finished the survey compared to the total number of people who saw it or began it.

It’s a vital measure for determining whether a survey successfully engages the intended audience.

A survey’s response rate mainly relies on how your team defines a “view.” For instance, if you send your survey to a specific number of people, you can quickly determine the percentage of those who completed it.

However, surveys have evolved beyond the traditional mail-in or multiple-choice format. They have become interactive tools that can appear based on customer actions or information stored in your brand ecosystem. Your survey can reach a wider audience, so tracking these interactions is essential for an accurate response rate.

One approach is to consider using customer feedback software, as many of these tools come with tracking codes and analytics that can record when your survey is seen, regardless of how it is triggered.

Regardless of your method for tracking views, once you have that information, you can calculate your survey’s response rate.

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. 

calculate survey response rate

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

What Is An Acceptable Survey Response Rate?

Now that you know how 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 5% to 30% response rates are 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 conclude.

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 last question. In contrast, response rates indicate the number of participants who entered the survey.

calculate survey completion rate

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

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

Suppose there is a huge disparity between the number of participants who completed the survey and those who attended it. In that case, 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

Calculating the survey response rate before extracting and using the data collected during your survey is essential. If the response rate is too low, there is a scope for a considerable margin of error, making your 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 your survey’s response rate, you can easily understand the percentage of margin error and then take the following steps as necessary.

Steps To Improve The Survey Response Rate

Here are some ways to improve your survey to increase response rates.

#1 Opt For An Interactive Design

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

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

What better than rolling out chat-like surveys to reap responses? Perhaps you can try using SurveySparrow and get a 40% higher response rate with their conversational forms. Plus, you get over 1000 pre-designed surveys to customize and make your own.

Here’s a sample template that you can use. Feel free to personalize and tweak it to suit your needs. If this one doesn’t fit the bill, explore our diverse library of templates to find the perfect match. And if you’re feeling creative, why not craft a brand-new one from scratch? The possibilities are endless!

Online Suggestion Box Template

#2 Devise An Effective Strategy To Send The Survey

Not all your customers are the right fit for your surveys. You need to identify the eligible participants 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 a group of customers that correctly fit the prospect profile and then roll out the surveys via different channels, whichever customer would find it easy to take the survey.

#3 Follow Up

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

#4 Offer Some Incentives

No matter what steps or method you follow, if the response rate is still low, you can offer incentives to motivate the customers to take the survey.

When customers find out that they get some value for the time they spend on attending the survey, they will take it up.

#5 Craft Clear and Compelling Questions

Ensure that your survey questions are understandable and relevant to the respondents. Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon or complex terminology.

Pose questions that resonate with your audience and likely elicit valuable insights. Ambiguous or confusing questions can lead to dropouts and lower response rates.

#6 Personalize Your Survey Invitations

Personalization can make respondents feel more valued and increase their willingness to participate. Address recipients by their names in survey invitations and tailor the message to their specific interests or demographics.

Personalized invitations often stand out in crowded email inboxes and can result in higher response rates.

#7 Test Your Survey Before Launching

Before distributing your survey to a broader audience, conduct a pilot test with a small group of individuals who resemble your target audience. This allows you to identify issues with question clarity, survey flow, or technical glitches.

Based on the feedback from the pilot test, make necessary adjustments to improve the overall survey experience.

#8 Provide a Mobile-Friendly Experience

Many respondents access surveys on smartphones and tablets. Ensure your survey is optimized for mobile devices, with a responsive design that adapts to various screen sizes.

A mobile-friendly survey can make it more convenient for participants to take your survey on the go, potentially leading to higher response rates.

Wrapping Up

If you plan to use a survey to gather some valuable information from your customers, don’t forget to calculate the survey response rate before you use the data. Not only does it add meaning to the data, but it also suggests whether the data collected is usable.

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.

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

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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