Sure-Shot Ways to Increase Survey Participation

Survey participation is an essential metric to measure identify problem areas, get insightful data and make decisions confidently. Learn how you can increase your consumer and employee survey participation with this article!

Tanvi Moitra
September 5, 2023
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Surveys are one of the most popular research methods, and for good reason. They are - 1) versatile, 2) easily customizable, 3) take less time to set up, 4) data collection and analysis is fast and easy, 5) can easily be distributed to consumers and employees and 6) simple to understand. 

However, surveys are notorious for low participation and response rates. There are better ways to go than handing out surveys and expecting a high response rate. Your surveys need to be well-timed and designed to increase participation.

This article equips you with proven ways to increase consumer and employee survey participation. So, let’s get started, shall we?

What Factors Affect Survey Participation?

There a variety of factors that affect the consumer and employee survey participation, some of which are- 

1) Intrinsic Factors

These are individual characteristics of the participant, like interest in the survey's topic, curiosity, and desire to assist.

2) Extrinsic Factors 

These are usually any incentives, obligations and recognition linked to the survey, making the consumer or employee more willing to participate. 

3) Questionnaire Design

The survey design is a crucial aspect of ensuring participants stay engaged. But, other sub-factors need to be considered as well, like- the mode of the survey, prenotifications, chosen time, length of the survey, privacy regulations, etc. 

4) Tester’s Mood

The participant’s mood can vary based on weather, personal reasons, etc. This particular factor is difficult to deal with but can be prevented from affecting your survey through Facial Coding technology.

For example, when participants enter the survey, their pre-existing emotion is used as a baseline. Any delta changes (positive or negative) are mapped to help understand the true emotion behind their responses. 

How to Measure Survey Participation?

Two main metrics to measure survey participation are response and completion rates

Response and completion rates are often used synonymously, but they are different.

If you want to learn about what these are and how you can measure and improve them, you can go through our article here - 11 Proven Ways To Increase Survey Response Rates


The Do’s and Don’ts of Increasing Survey Participation

Through research, we have identified the most common reasons that affect survey participation. Here is a list of the do’s and don’ts you need to keep in mind every time you build a survey- 

How to Increase Consumer Survey Participation?

Here are 7 ways you can increase your consumer survey participation-

1) Use the norm of reciprocity

To make consumers enthusiastic about participating in your survey, you need to push them towards taking action. By establishing a norm of reciprocity, you assume that if you do something for them, they will return the favor. But this can only be done if you understand what truly connects and motivates them. 

Once you have helped out the consumer in any way, send out a survey immediately. This will make them more motivated to fill the survey. Here are few instances where sending out a survey may garner more response- 

  • After they've been onboarded, ask them if they found the directions you gave them on using a key feature of your product to be helpful.
  • Companies like Uber and Seamless conduct customer surveys when clients use the main feature of the product, which is usually right after they respond to a CTA.
  • When your consumer has just finished navigating your website in order to make a purchase, ask them what they'd want to see, while it's still fresh in their minds.

2) Motivate your consumers using incentive theory

Positively motivating your consumers by giving them rewards, money or recognition can motivate them to take your survey. This might seem like an easy way out if you have the budget, but you need to consider that consumers have a present bias

When your consumers take your survey, they prefer a small reward immediately, rather than a huge award later. The dopamine spike that the participant gets from an instant reward makes them more keen to continue participating in your surveys. 

This present bias can work in your favor if you can provide instant incentives to your consumers. But, if you can’t or don’t have the budget, you can conduct guerrilla surveys to get insights. 

Here are a few incentives you can give to your customers-

  • Discount vouchers, coupons
  • Free samples or trials
  • Themed Merchandise 

3) Keep it interesting

Consumers are more likely to participate in your survey if they find it interesting. According to relevance theory, consumers will be interested in topics that they feel are related to them. 

By leveraging this, you can customize your survey questions and designs to pique the participant’s interest and engagement. 

4) Make it about the consumer 

In this attention economy, if you snooze on customer-centricity, you lose. By making the survey consumer-centric, you make the consumer feel important and connected to your brand. A great way to do this is by using Decode’s survey templates which are created based on your specific use case. 

Here's how you can make every customer's experience unique:

  • Your survey questions should centre on the experiences of each consumer. Utilizing customer-centric language can increase response rates. Make modest tweaks to prompt your consumers by saying "improve your product experience" rather than "help us make our product better."
  • Make each customer's survey unique. By using branching logic in your survey questions, you may automate the customizing process while maintaining each customer's interest.

5) Choose the Correct Survey Question Type

Every consumer research is unique in its own way. Using a blanket survey question type for all your studies can drastically impact your survey participation. 

Here is what you should do-

  • Use question types which can visually stimulate your consumers and keep them engaged. For example, smiley ratings, multiple choice questions with images etc. 
  • The question type should be easy to understand like Likert scales, multiple choice, star ratings etc. 
  • The question type should not be too open ended. 

What no to do-

  • Don’t choose confusing question types like Max Diff Scales
  • Don’t miss out on consumer research. Customize the survey question types based on your target audience. For example, old consumers will prefer image based question types rather than wordy answer choices. 

6) Keep it Short, Relevant and Simple

Surveys can get complicated if you want to achieve a lot of objectives through one survey. By keeping surveys short, relevant and easy to understand, you can reduce drop-offs and increase completion rates. 

Here is a quick tip you can consider adding to your survey design- A progress bar. This helps give the participants an estimate of how long the survey is and the instant satisfaction they are about to reach the end. When your surveys make a consumer feel that “This is going to take time”, they are likely to postpone taking the survey. Instead, create a survey which clearly shows that it will cost them only few minutes of their time.

7) Make your survey mobile-friendly

Consumers spend more time on mobile phones than other devices like a tab or laptop. You can leverage this usage pattern to make your survey designs mobile-first. Doing this gives consumers the flexibility to participate in your survey on the go. 

How to Increase Employee Survey Participation?

The pointers mentioned above can also be used for increasing employee survey participation. Here are a few other ways you can increase employee survey participation-

1) Ensure the employee responses are implemented

According to research conducted by us, we found that employees are more likely to participate in surveys willingly when they feel that their responses directly create an impact in the organization.

When employee opinions are taken into consideration, they feel valued and respected. If surveys are conducted just for the sake of it, employees participate unwillingly, without much care given to their responses.

2) Maintain Anonymity

A clear message indicating that the survey is 100% anonymous is essential to reduce employee confusion and increase participation. When surveys are anonymous, employees don’t feel the pressure of giving positive feedback, resulting in more genuine, reliable responses. 

3) Integrate your survey into their schedules

Employees are occupied with meetings, project deadlines, etc. Integrating the surveys into workplace communication tools makes it easier for them to take the test. Sending surveys over mail and expecting a high response rate is extremely idealistic. Instead, send them over Teams, Slack or any other tools you use to communicate with your employees. 

4) Don’t ask irrelevant questions

Even though you expect employees to know about the new initiatives the higher management and the brand take, they likely don’t. Therefore, make it more about them. Asking company-level questions at any employee level makes the question vague and irrelevant. 

Advantages of Measuring Survey Participation

By measuring survey participation, you can -

  • Gauge how the consumers or employees perceive your brand
  • Understand if you are targeting the wrong audience
  • To improve the statistical significance of your data
  • Identify channels of effective communication

Bottom Line 

Be it consumers or employees, measuring survey participation is essential. You can identify problem areas, get insightful data and make decisions confidently. 

If you want to create impactful surveys, try Decode. Decode has a seamless survey builder with multiple survey templates and sample questions. You can store all your research findings in one place with its secure online research repository. Moreover, you can create tags and highlights to identify and share important information. Decode is equipped with Insights GPT, which generates summaries and action items to implement your insights faster. 


Supercharge your research with actionable insights faster on Decode's integrated consumer research platform with Insights AI.
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Build the Right Products, the Right Way: Elevate your UX with Qatalyst's integrated user research platform with Insights AI.


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Author Bio

Tanvi Moitra
Tanvi can usually be found anxiously treading the office floor to get her content reviewed, here at Entropik. When not absorbed by researching and writing, she loves to read, go for a swim, play badminton, paint, and otherwise spend too much time bingeing on the Office and cuddling her German Shepherd, Whiskey. An absolute foodie, she would love to cook and bake for you and even give you the best dessert suggestions in the office.

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