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What is Considered a Good Response Rate to a Survey?

Your survey response rate tells you what percentage of your customers you ask to survey are actually submitting responses. Here is how to improve that number.

February 5, 2023

What is Considered a Good Response Rate to a Survey?

Your survey response rate tells you what percentage of your customers you ask to survey are actually submitting responses. Here is how to improve that number.

Of what worth is a survey to us if nobody responds to it?

Getting the right amount of people to respond to our survey can be a difficult task - especially if we’re looking at triple-digit or higher sample sizes. In order to develop a higher response rate to our marketing surveys, then we must find some way to convince our audiences to engage with us.

In this article, we’ll discuss the mechanics behind surveying response rates, what sorts of response rates we should be aiming for, and the methods to use for boosting our numbers.

What is a Response Rate?

We calculate our survey response rate by taking the number of responses we’ve received and dividing that by the total size of our sampled audience.

# of Responses to Our Survey/# of People Invited To Survey = Response Rate

The reason why our response rate is so important is because it allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of our surveying. If we have a low response rate, that means three things for our business:

  1. We’re wasting money sending out surveys to audiences who are not engaging.
  2. We are not properly motivating our audiences to engage with our surveys, and therefore are not promoting the right kind of customer culture.
  3. We are leaving potentially invaluable consumer insights on the table by not gathering data from these lost customers.

With these facts in mind, it’s vital that we take the necessary steps to drive up our survey response rate to acceptable levels - and to keep it there.

Before we can look at how we can improve our survey response rate, we must first define what a valid survey response rate looks like.

What is a Good Survey Response Rate?

Typically, our average survey response rate should fall between the ranges of 25% - 30%.

This may seem low, but when we consider that we are asking customers to take time out of their busy schedules to give us feedback - and for little to no incentive - these ranges are perfectly acceptable. A good response rate allows us to get the information we need from enough of our audience in order to have a statistically valid and acceptable survey response rate.

What Does Having a High Response Rate Mean for Our Business?

When we are sending out our surveys, we should be shooting for the highest response rate possible; we want to get the most out of our marketing budget, and a higher sample size ensures we can more accurately extrapolate our findings to our greater target audience.

A high response rate (40-50% or more) means that we are designing engaging surveys. Engaging surveys are usually brief, focused in their purpose, and incentivize respondents to answer.

The Problem with Low Response Rates

Conversely, a low response rate can impact the validity of our responses in a number of ways.

Depending on the issues we’re surveying about, a low response rate can lead to what is known as sampling bias. Sampling bias occurs when a particular group of people are overrepresented in a survey’s sample size. This kind of bias can prove fatal to the integrity of our results, and will impact our ability to synthesize the correct business solutions from these responses.

If we find our surveys are not meeting our performance expectations, it may be time to reevaluate how we approach the research process. We can look to employ existing survey templates (which can be found all across the internet) in order to improve our response rates; we may also want to look at sending our surveys at a different time of day. Sending survey emails during periods of high user activity can allow us to more effectively attract our audiences.

What is a Statistically Valid Response Rate?

If we set out to survey an audience of 1,000 - and end up with only 10 responses - we would not be justified in using our findings for any real analysis. This is because our response rate was too low for us to consider our sample size as being properly representative of our greater target audience.

A statistically valid or acceptable response rate is one that allows us to properly utilize the information we collect from our surveys.

In order to calculate our statistically valid response rate, we have to do a little bit of math.

Statistically Valid Response Rate


We are solving for N, where N is equal to the minimum sample size we need in order for our survey response rate to be considered statistically valid, and:

  • Z is our confidence level (%)
  • 𝝈 is our standard deviation for the population
  • E is the desired margin of error we want to operate within

When looking at this formula, the important thing to take away is this: a higher response rate  means we can more readily detect changes in our population. Not only that, but a good response rate allows us to view our data with greater confidence in our results.

How to Calculate Response Rate for Online Surveys

Calculating the response rate of our surveys is very simple.

All we do is take the number of participants that responded to our survey, and divide that by the total number of participants we’ve sent our survey to.

Ex. We sent a survey email out to 600 customers. We receive 400 responses back, making our response rate 66%: (400/600) x 100 = 66%

Where to Find a Survey Response Rate Calculator

If you’re working with a large or uneven number of survey participants, then it may be worth using a survey response rate calculator.

Utilizing a survey response rate calculator not only allows us to calculate the obvious - we can also use it to calculate the number of responses we need to hit a specific response rate. These calculators are invaluable tools when used for calculating the sample size we need in order for our responses to be statistically valid.

Here are two free, easy to use response rate calculators:

The Online Advertising Guide Response Rate Calculator

Checkmarket Sample Size Calculator

20 Tips & Tricks for Improving Survey Response Rate

There are many ways we can tweak our surveys to perfect our designs and increase our survey response rate.

  • Keep your survey short. The fewer questions you ask of your participants, the more likely they are to respond.
  • Explain yourself to your audiences. Tell your participants what they’ll be asked about, and what you will be using their responses for.
  • Include a progress bar. Let your respondents know how far along they are in the survey.
  • Give your respondents an out. For longer surveys, consider giving your recipients the option to either skip questions or leave the survey early. This might decrease your survey completion rate, but it will allow you to maintain the integrity of your data.
  • Optimize your survey. To get a good response rate, make sure your survey works on all digital platforms and devices.
Survey Optimization

  • Keep your questions clear and short. Minimizing the amount of characters in your questions keeps users engaged and ensures you are asking clear, precise questions.
  • Ask unique questions. Keeping the question types varied and interesting will allow you to hold your respondents’ attention for longer. Vary your question types between Likert scale, multiple-choice, and even the odd (optional) open-ended question.
  • Don’t ask redundant questions. Make each question matter, and avoid asking repeats. Asking frivolous questions can push your audiences to exit your survey before completion.
  • Promote your surveys. Your surveys are an integral part of your marketing research process, so take an active approach in promoting them. Try marketing your surveys on social media or through your existing email lists.
  • Utilize existing survey templates. Any good surveying platform is going to have unique survey template designs that users can incorporate into their research. Using sleek, professional-looking survey templates can improve your response rate and generate higher quality data.
  • Avoid technical jargon. Using slang or intimate industry terminology can confuse respondents and prevent them from answering your questions accurately.
  • Allow your respondents to answer anonymously. Panelists are likely to answer more truthfully if you give them the ability to submit their responses anonymously.
  • Include brand imagery in your survey. Customizing your survey to reflect your unique brand identity makes your survey appear more professional, and promotes a stronger attachment to your business.
  • Address your respondents by name. If you’re submitting a survey to your email list, be sure your email subject line is personally inviting the user to respond.
  • Incentivize your respondents. Offering respondents a chance to win a gift card or some other small prize can greatly increase your survey response rates.
  • Follow up on your surveys. Send one or two more reminders after the initial survey submission to ensure you maximize your potential audience capture.
  • Preview your surveys. Be sure to review and refine your survey designs before you submit them to your audiences.
  • Get outside feedback on your survey design. Get a second or third opinion on how your survey flows before you send it out.
  • Make sure you only count one survey per person. Some surveying sites have software built into their designs that prevent more than one person from answering a survey at any given IP address. Finding ways to prevent our respondents from answering multiple times will improve the validity of our survey results.
  • Find a better survey tool. Sometimes, we find that the surveying app we’re utilizing just isn’t a good fit for our purposes. We can shop around to different surveying applications and figure out which one fits us the best, and gives us the best quality research data we can gather.

What Helpfull Does Best

Helpfull is the premiere surveying software for anyone looking to get the most out of their marketing efforts. With a vast variety of different question types to choose from, Helpfull surveys can be generated and delivered to thousands of panelists in minutes.

Helpfull surveying software for panelist's feedback

These are just some of the features that make Helpfull a must-have tool for those looking for quality consumer feedback:

  • No Locked-In Price Plan
  • Affordable Surveying Options
  • Create Simple Surveys with Pre-Set Questions, or Design Your Own
  • No Extra Cost For Multiple Questions in a Single Survey
  • Wide Variety of Polling Demographics to Choose From
  • Get Responses & Feedback in Real Time
  • Save Your Favorite Answers for Easy Reference
  • Aesthetically Pleasing UI and Easy-To-Use Interface
  • Easy to Access Prior Surveys

Helpfull’s open-ended survey design

With Helpfull’s open-ended survey design, users can design visually-striking, multi-question surveys for any occasion!

A simple survey could be all that stands between your company and the renewed success of it’s online marketing efforts.

An intuitive user-interface, coupled with the ability to gather hundreds of consumer responses in just minutes, are just a few of the features that make Helpfull the ultimate tool for any artist, designer, marketer, or inquisitive spirit.

Refine your marketing - sign up with Helpfull today, and get surveying within minutes!

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