6 reasons your event survey might get a low response rate (and what you can do about it)

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6 reasons your event survey might get a low response rate (and what you can do about it)


I was at the PPA Conference recently and took a question from the floor “My delegate surveys get really low response rates – what can I do about it?”

And this bewildered event marketer is not the only one, we often come across event professionals are who are reluctant to conduct post-event feedback surveys because they they’ve found over time that their response rate has dwindled so much that their results are not very helpful.

There’s probably a number of reasons their attendees are not completing the post-event survey – I’ve covered six here.  And the good news is, there’s plenty you can do to get a high response from your delegate survey.

  1. Branding

If your survey or covering email doesn’t clearly come from you, your delegates may be suspicious about completing it and hit delete, or even worse mark it spam. Make it consistent with your event’s logos and colours and you help people to feel confident that they are completing a genuine survey from you and have enough trust to click your links.  It also helps to leave a good impression with one of the last pieces of communication you send in the event cycle.

  1. Cover email

We see it all the time… See the photo gallery, get your CPD certificate, watch the show reel (oh and by the way in teeny tiny writing, complete the survey). And not surprisingly your humble survey link gets ignored.  We’ll say this one more time: the link to your survey should be the ONLY link in the email.

  1. Survey landing page

This is probably the point where many event feedback surveys die a horrible death.  Apart from being clearly branded to your event (see above) this page should be limited to one or two questions and MUST NOT make the user scroll – even on a smartphone (over a third of event and exhibition surveys are now being completed on mobile devices and this number is rising)

  1. Don’t ask too much of your delegates

Whether your survey is too long, or overuses tiresome question types like grids or mandatory comment fields, don’t abuse the goodwill of your respondents.  Ask the bare minimum of questions you can possibly get away with and run some tests with colleagues to see how long it actually takes to complete (this is more important than the total number of questions).  If you have a platform like Explori you can check your reporting to see if you have any problem child questions that are causing lots of your respondents to give up on your survey.

  1. Offer an incentive?

Beware of relying on things like shiny ipads or kindles to save your survey response rates.  They won’t be any help if you haven’t sorted out all the points above. In fact incentives like tickets to future events can actually be a turnoff to all but your most ardent supporters.  We’ve blogged about survey incentives in more detail here.

  1. Get your timing right

And bringing up the rear – the best way to kill the most carefully crafted survey? Leave it weeks and weeks after your event before sending it out!  I know how busy you are, but truly the closer you send your survey to your event, the better response you will get.  If your survey platform makes this hard, because it takes too long, get a new platform.  Aim to get your survey out no more than one week after your event.


So, dear PPA delegate, I hope this helps… 


There’s plenty more where that came from.  If you’d like a chat about how to improve your survey response rates, just get in touch and we’d be happy to help.



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  • With Explori’s reports and analytics, we’re much better equipped to evaluate the customers' satisfaction and needs from our events
    Paul Byrom
    MD, Upper Street Events
  • The level of performance data and customer insight that Explori gives us is invaluable to our business and makes my life easier.
    Matthew Benyon
    MD, easyFairs UK
  • We wanted deeper insight into how our strategies impacted the delegate experience, but found conventional survey tools just couldn't deliver. Moving to Explori has completely changed this.
    Jan Barthelemy
    Head of AU & NZ Digital Marketing dmg events
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    Baris Onay
    Group Marketing & Digital Director, ITE
  • Analysis that could have taken the team days was available within hours of the survey going live. We could immediately see how the new German events had performed, against the context of our existing shows. Information like this is essential for informing future business strategy.
    Austen Hawkins
    MD, F2F Events
  • Robust performance metrics and customer feedback is essential for achieving maximum customer satisfaction. Explori will allow us to reach all our exposition delegates regardless of language or location.
    Art Paredes
    Sr. Director, Global Expos, SEMI
  • Explori helps us gain deep insights into the customer experience across our business. Without it, understanding our key performance metrics would be considerably more challenging.
    Andrew Evans
    (former) MD, Centaur Exhibitions
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    Renaud Hamaide
    CEO, Comexposium

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