Is Your Conference Survey a Waste of Time?

The conference survey tool in your mobile event app is pretty powerful. It gives you the ability to collect data while your attendees are in the building and while your attendees are most engaged. You can see results in real-time and you can send push notifications to remind your attendees to give feedback.

But surveys are a science and learning to build effective conference surveys on mobile phones and tablets requires some careful thought and testing.

Why don’t we take some of the guesswork out of it? Here are some strategies for building conference surveys that will actually get you results:

1. Discover the ways to use a conference survey.

When it comes to in-app, real-time event feedback, event planners and organizers need to keep a few things in mind before they write their surveys. Check out the ideas below!

Use a conference survey to improve on the fly

Looking for real-time feedback so you can adjust aspects of your conference on the fly? Stick to asking questions that you can truly act on if need be. For example, “How well could you hear the speaker?” These are key things that are easily improved upon the next time around.

Request real-time input on sessions

Surveying attendees right after a workshop or speaker? Keep in mind that you’ll be collecting their top-of-the-mind responses. These are snap-judgments, rather than responses that are taken with the entire conference in mind (like during a post-event feedback survey).

2. In a real-time conference survey, short is sweet.

Put some guardrails on your in-app conference survey planning by considering the amount of time it will take to finish the survey. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Ask questions about how the user feels right now, or how they felt about the conference/session that they just attended.

  • Avoid questions that bear a heavy cognitive load, or that take a long time to answer.

  • Where possible, use categorical questions instead of free text, because they are easier to answer.

If you really want to leverage that data collection opportunity in the moment, ask short questions that require answers that the respondent will probably not remember later. On average, most respondents will only give your survey 5 minutes, so make sure you’re asking questions that count! The lesson? If you want to get the highest number of responses, be considerate of your attendees’ time and effort.

When it comes to survey length, there’s definitely a gray area. After the conference, it makes sense to send out a longer feedback survey to get a holistic view of your attendees’ overall satisfaction and those surveys can be longer… but again, make sure you’re asking the right questions so you don’t exhaust your survey respondents.

3. Make it easy on a mobile user.

Stick to multiple choice, text entry, and sliding scale. Keep in mind that some questions may look great on a desktop or an iPad, but may be formatted strangely when rendered on a mobile screen. If a user is spending more time trying to understand your question rather than answer it, you’ve got a major problem.

Guidebook’s built-in surveys and feedback forms make mobile easy. Set up surveys, push notifications to remind attendees (straight from your phone) to fill them out, and easily export data after your event for analysis. It couldn’t be easier. Check out the functionality in Builder now!

4. Tread carefully when offering an incentive.

It’s common to offer something — a gift card, a discount, an entry into a drawing for a prize — to boost survey completion rates. But before you go crazy with this incentive, make sure you’re considering the pros and cons.

Know the risks

Offering a survey incentive comes with its own set of problems: accuracy might decrease when you start including people who don’t give back out of the kindness of their hearts. People might rush through the survey to get to the prize.

In this case, offering a reward might not be worth it and you can skip incentivizing each and every small in-app event feedback survey.

Consider keeping it small or motivate a different way

You can tell your attendees they’ll be entered to win a gift card at the end of the conference. Make sure you add in a question that asks for their email address and explain why you need it.

According to the SurveyMonkey study, 40% of people think organizations pay only a moderate amount of attention to their feedback. Try building trust by showing you intending to act upon it. Rewarding the attendees who gave their time and effort by sharing the survey results you collect is a great way to build this trust. You can also take this opportunity to tell attendees how you intend to turn their feedback into improvements!

Make sure you share the data in the form of succinct findings. Instead of publishing everything, which can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing, summarize what you can and offer a few examples that illustrate findings that emphasize your points.

5.  Pilot-test your conference survey

Surveys are only effective if they make sense, so make sure you’re getting feedback on your surveys prior to making them public! You’d be surprised how your feedback form looks like through other people’s eyes. What makes sense to you might make zero sense to someone else, so we recommend sharing your survey with co-workers or friends and getting their input. Their feedback is invaluable — it can help shape your survey and help you learn where your problems are and what you’re excelling at.

Don’t stop iterating on your survey. It is incredibly hard to predict how people will respond and whether the data is usable, especially on your first go, so make sure you’re testing your surveys until you stop finding ways to improve. With a well-thought-out in-app conference survey, you’ll find areas of opportunity you didn’t even know existed. Your attendees will appreciate the attention to detail and the improved experience.

Interested in checking this out on Guidebook’s platform? We offer seamless survey set-up, intuitive design, push notification reminders to increase engagement, and easy export of data. Click the button below to get started on your own Guide today!