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Survey completion rates are important because they provide insight into the effectiveness of a survey. High completion rates can indicate that it was well-received and that respondents were willing to invest the time and effort.
Low completion rates can indicate that it wasn’t engaging or relevant, or that it was too long or difficult.
Understanding the factors that contribute to survey completion rates can help researchers to create more effective surveys.
What is survey completion rate?
Survey completion rates refer to the percentage of people who start a survey and finish it. These rates can vary widely depending on several factors, including survey length, subject matter, and the incentives offered for completion.
Below, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for increasing survey completion rates.
How to calculate survey completion rate
To calculate survey completion rate, you’ll need to determine the number of people who started and the number of people who finished it.
Here’s the basic formula:
Survey completion rate = (Number of people who finished the survey / Number of people who started the survey) * 100%
For example, if a survey was sent to 100 people and 50 people started it, but only 40 people finished it, the completion rate would be calculated as follows:
Survey completion rate = (40 / 50) * 100% = 80%
This means that it had a completion rate of 80%.
It’s important to note that survey completion rate only considers people who started a response. It doesn’t take into account people who did not start it or who were not contacted.
To get truly gauge the success of a survey, it may be necessary to also consider response rate. This takes into account all the people who were contacted, regardless of whether they completed it or not.
What’s the difference between a survey completion rate and response rate?
Survey completion rates refer to the percentage of people who start a survey and finish it. On the other hand, survey response rates refer to the percentage of people who respond, regardless of whether they complete it or not.
Survey completion rates do not provide a full picture of a survey’s reach.
Survey response rates are generally considered to be a more comprehensive measure of the success of a survey, as they take into account all the people who were contacted, regardless of whether they completed it.
9 Tips to help increase your survey completion rate
Below, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for improving survey completion rates, as well as some best practices for survey design.
1. Reduce survey length
One of the most important factors in survey completion rates is the length of the survey.
Surveys that are too long are more likely to be abandoned before completion, as respondents may become bored or annoyed with the length.
On the other hand, those that are too short may not gather enough data to be meaningful.
Striking the right balance is key, and the ideal length will depend on the subject matter and the target audience.
2. Ensure surveys are relevant and interesting
Following on from above, the subject matter of a survey will also contribute to a higher or lower completion rate. Surveys that are relevant and interesting to respondents are more likely to be completed.
Those that are too technical or unrelated to respondents’ interests are more likely to be abandoned.
To improve the completion rates, it’s important to consider your target audience and tailor topics and questions to their interests and needs.
3. Offer an incentive for survey respondents
Incentives can also be a powerful tool in improving survey completion rates.
Offering a reward for completing the survey, such as a discount or a chance to enter a prize draw, can increase the likelihood of completion.
However, it’s important to consider the type of incentive that’s offered, as some may be more appealing to certain audiences than others.
4. Craft a survey design that catches the eye
The design of the survey itself can also impact completion rates. Surveys that are well-designed and easy to understand are more likely to be completed.
This includes factors such as the layout and formatting, as well as the language used. They should be easy to read and navigate, and should avoid using jargon or complex language that may be confusing to the respondent.
5. Choose the right distribution method
Another factor to consider is the method of distribution or delivery. Surveys that are delivered via email or online are generally more convenient for respondents and are therefore more likely to be completed.
Those that are delivered via mail or on paper may be more inconvenient and may have lower completion rates as a result.
If you create email surveys with Shout, you’ll be able to track who has and hasn’t responded. You can then send reminders to those who’re yet to respond to increase your response rate
You can then filter your results by completion, and send a follow-up campaign to ask dropouts to complete their response.
6. Remove non-essential questions
You should consider removing all questions that are not essential for you to meet your research goals. Not only do they increase survey length, they may also impact any trust respondents have with you.
7. Write clear and concise survey questions
It is also important to be clear and concise in the wording of the questions. Questions should be easy to understand and should not require a lot of thought or effort to answer.
Additionally, it can be helpful to provide clear instructions, including how long your survey is expected to take and any other relevant information.
8. Keep responses anonymous
Another best practice is to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the respondent.
Surveys that assure respondents that their responses will be kept confidential and anonymous are more likely to be completed, as respondents may be more willing to share sensitive or personal information if they feel that their privacy is being respected.
With Shout, all responses are anonymous by default. We also offer a number of features to boost anonymity and compliance when collecting survey data:
- Pseudonymization: Separate personally identifiable information from response data in your survey report
- Minimum response quota: Set a minimum response quota for surveys to lock results until that quota is met.
- Collect Consent: Collect explicit consent from respondents when adding them to the Shout CRM.
- Group by lawful basis for processing data: Group survey contacts by the lawful basis for processing their data (e.g. Legitimate Interests, Consent, Contact, Public Task, etc.).
9. Reach out to respondents who dropped out
Finally, it is important to follow up with respondents who have not completed the survey.
This could include sending reminder emails or phone calls, or offering additional incentives to encourage completion.
As we mentioned above, you can track responses and follow up with respondents who dropped out of your survey in a few clicks.
In addition to providing insight into the effectiveness of a survey, completion rates can also be used to measure the success of a campaign.
By tracking changes in completion rates over time, researchers can determine whether their efforts to improve the survey are having the desired effect.
Whilst you might not be able to identify exactly why respondents are dropping out of your survey, the above tips will help you increase completion rates.