Mobile Survey Response Rates: Averages and Benchmarks by App Category

October 4, 2016

Mobile surveys are a great way to gauge sentiment and to gain deep insight into what’s working (or not) for your customers. As mobile devices continue to become more personalized, marketers who send surveys through the medium have had to adapt to ever-changing customer expectations in order to gain the best survey responses.

We recently released our 2016 mobile ecosystem consumer report to help serve as a benchmark for companies seeking to understand how their apps’ engagement stacks up against their competition, along with the entire mobile landscape, and we gained some fascinating data around how companies use mobile surveys in the process. Today’s post highlights average response rates for in-app surveys, across all app categories and broken down by individual app categories. But before we begin, let’s talk a bit about what mobile surveys are and why they matter.

[Data disclaimer: Using data from around 1,000 of Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive)’s customers’ mobile apps, the report provides benchmark metrics for companies to measure their mobile apps’ performance. The data is from both Android and iOS apps in all categories from April 2015 to April 2016. The data in this report was captured by interactions deployed using Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive)’s software.]

What are mobile surveys?

Mobile surveys are designed specifically for mobile browsers or built into mobile apps or SMS messaging capabilities, and became popular with the rise of smartphones in the late 2000’s. While mobile survey adoption is still a bit behind traditional web surveys, enterprise organizations, agile startups, and small businesses alike have started incorporating mobile into their marketing and market research strategies, which has greatly increased their collection of customer insights.


Like web surveys, mobile surveys are commonly prompted after key moments of engagement or perceived customer pain points where marketers and developers seek behavioral data points around specific steps of the customer journey. But as we explore throughout this post, web surveys and mobile surveys are becoming one in the same when it comes to gauging customer sentiment.

Mobile surveys vs. web surveys

Web surveys and mobile surveys probably sound like two separate market research instruments, and historically, they have been. The choice of which survey to use has traditionally come down to the individual brand and its customers: Where do my customers most commonly engage with my brand, and which channel has the highest contribution to my bottom line?

By this logic, many web-based, online-only companies have decided against investing in mobile surveys as mobile isn’t their primary channel. But here’s the thing: There is no longer such a thing as a mobile survey. All online surveys are now mobile surveys, whether they’re intended to be or not.

Let me leverage data to explain: In 2013, the number of people worldwide accessing the mobile web surpassed the number of desktop internet users. The growth of the mobile web has continued to accelerate in the years since, while the popularity of desktops has begun to plateau. All of the “mobile is eating the web” talk has come and gone; mobile has eaten the web by accounting for all new digital growth, while desktop is becoming a “secondary touch point” for most consumers.


Image Source: ComScore

Mobile surveys vs. in-app surveys: Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive)’s benchmark for success

There are two main ways people consume mobile content: mobile web and mobile apps. Mobile surveys can be delivered on both platforms, but for the remainder of this article, our focus is on how consumers respond to surveys in mobile apps, specifically.

In-app surveys are multifaceted. Companies use them to answer specific product or brand oriented questions, ranging from “What can we do better?” to “Was this a positive app experience for you? Why or why not?” But although there are many different use-cases for in-app surveys, they are not all created equal and yield varying levels of customer sentiment insight.

How can you tell if your in-app surveys are successful? The answer lies in the number of completed survey responses you’ve received; less is not more, in this case. (Note: When you calculate in-app survey response rate, you should only count submitted surveys as a “response.”)

Through our research, we found the average in-app survey response rate, across all app categories, is 13%. This means that across every person who is prompted to take an in-app survey, 13% of them go through all the questions and hit “submit.” You may not think 13% is a standout number, but it is in sharp contrast to the industry average of mobile survey response rates, which is between 1-3%. Gone are the days of low expectations for survey completion; through in-app surveys, marketers can reach a larger audience than ever before.


When we look at in-app survey response rates by app category, the results vary from the 13% average (see details in the chart below). Entertainment apps lead the pack at a 19% in-app survey completion rate—apply that percentage to the thousands (or millions) of customers these apps see monthly, and that’s no small feat! The second highest app category for in-app survey completion is Shopping, sitting right at 14%.


The biggest takeaway from our research is that no matter the category, surveys shown in-app receive significantly higher response rates than surveys shown in a mobile web experience. This learning should be enough to drive marketers who aren’t using in-app surveys to at least explore the option as they open doors to a group of customers who were potentially deemed “unreachable” otherwise. (Shameless plug: If you’re looking for an in-app survey tool, Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive) Surveys are a great place to start!)

I hope the data above helps energize and guide your approach to collecting survey data across your company’s mobile channels. As you can see, in-app surveys are an incredibly effective way for marketers to learn about a large segment of their mobile customers, and should be part of your marketing roadmap as you push through the end of 2016.

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