Survey response rates can vary significantly based on the relevance of the survey to the recipients and the amount of survey overlap/fatigue that might exist on campus, among other reasons. That said, most web surveys can expect a response rate somewhere between 15% - 25%. In addition to our tips for improving response rates and curbing survey fatigue, this article provides further details about factors that may influence survey response rates.
When a survey is sent via email from Anthology Baseline, it goes through four stages: delivered, opened, clicked, and completed. We follow and recommend the following best practices to increase the success rate for each of these stages:
Delivered – Anthology uses a reputable email delivery platform to send our mass mailing emails from Baseline. It is configured with two different validity verification methods to ensure that our emails are successfully delivered – Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and domainkeys identified mail (DKIM). When an email is sent, the receiver’s email service provider will check these records to verify that our emails are not spam. Our daily deliverability rate averages about 98%. The suppressed or failed emails are likely due to incorrect email addresses or inactive recipients. We do not enable open or click tracking in our email delivery platform because adding the tracking code would actually make our emails more susceptible to a lower deliverability rate due to spam detection.
However, if you notice your response rate is low, you can examine the link distribution method in Baseline to determine whether there were a significant number of email bounce backs:
- If you used the Mass Mailing tool, you will want to click on the Manage button within this module on the Project Dashboard and examine whether there were any bounce backs for your survey. You can locate this information under the "Undelivered Messages" column within the Manage portion of the tool. If there are several bounce backs, you may wish to contact Support to troubleshoot and potentially re-send the mailings.
- If you used the generic link administration option, we would recommend that you check to see if any bounce backs came into the account from which you sent the mailing. You may need to troubleshoot the bounce back reasons with your campus IT staff and then re-send.
Opened – Once an email is successfully delivered to a recipient’s inbox, the individual must decide whether or not to open the email and read it’s contents. We recommend that the subject line is short and to the point. Most sources suggest limiting the subject line to fewer than 40-60 characters, and since many recipients are viewing their email on a mobile device, some research suggests that the subject line should only be 25-35 characters.
Clicked – After an email is opened, the recipient needs to decide if they want to click on the survey link. There are many reasons that a recipient may choose not to take a survey, but if the recipient is familiar with the sender, the email is personalized, and the content is compelling, the recipient is more likely to click on the link. Unfortunately, even when following all best practices, some recipients may still decide they do not have time to complete the survey or are not interested in doing so.
- You should use a Reply-To address that contains the institution’s domain so that the sender is familiar to the students.
- You may want to configure your emails so that the recipient's first name is merged into the greeting. If you provide your Anthology Consultant with a recipient list that contains email addresses and names, we can set that up for you.
Completed – After a recipient clicks on the survey link, they need to decide if they are going to take the time to complete the survey. Research suggests that longer surveys will have lower completion rates.
- Your Anthology Consultant can provide advice for optimizing survey completion rates if requested.
- You may also want to configure reminder emails to increase the chances that your email will capture your recipients' attention.