Anyone doing serious mobile app marketing knows that surveys can be useful for understanding app satisfaction, getting feedback on new functionality, trying to understand why a feature isn’t being used, or simply collecting general feedback quickly.
Bottom line: no single survey fits all users, and timing is everything.
Here are the 10 questions that can benefit anyone planning to use or already using mobile app surveys.
1. Did you pick the right audience for the survey?
Carefully consider audience segmentation. Here are a few tips to determine the right audience that will generate the most valuable results:
- For new features: Ask for feedback immediately after the user uses the feature for the first time. People tend to get used to very nonintuitive app flows, and you’ll get a more genuine response right after they use the feature for the first time.
- For app satisfaction: Go for an audience with at least a minimum number of app sessions—to ensure they are regular app users.
- For dormant users: Don’t present a survey to a dormant user who finally opens the app again; keeping friction to a minimum will give you a better chance of retention.
- Don’t bother requesting feedback from users who never answer surveys. Doing so will just annoy them.
2. Did you stay brief and to the point?
As much as you want elaborate feedback, avoid open-ended questions unless they are absolutely crucial. It’s not easy to type an answer on mobile, and it may cause a lot of frustration—which can be translated into frustration at your app. Bottom line: if you’re on mobile, keep it short.
3. Did you stick to the one-question-only rule?
Ask just one question at a time. If you must have multiple questions in your survey, consider using mobile native gestures to get quick answers, such as swipe right for ‘Yes,’ a la Tinder.
Sometimes it’s even better to avoid the “submit” button altogether by using taps to answer surveys (i.e., tapping on an answer automatically submits the survey).
4. Were you playful?
Try to be cool and mobile-native by finding new ways to respond; for instance, let users pinch a heart to show you how much they like something (similar to Instagram).
5. Did you include a survey on app launch?
Well, don’t… When users open your app, they have something they want to do. Disturbing them at this time is impolite; it also won’t deliver positive results. Once users have successfully completed an action in the app, the probability of their being in the right frame of mind is much higher—the perfect time to ask a question or ask for help.
6. Did you give something back?
If you ask for something, make sure to give something back in return.
- Option 1. Provide a thank-you page showing the distribution of answers to the survey. Often, users feel good to see that they’ve influenced results, and that can be viewed as a kind of a “gift” for participating.
Alternatively, present an anecdote related to their answers; for example, “Did you know?” or “Other people that answered like you also liked…” That approach can be used to promote other features of your app.
- Option 2. Provide users with a small reward for answering, such as a discount code or a coupon. That small gesture will make them feel that you appreciate their efforts, and it will increase the chances of their answering again.
7. Are you harming engagement?
New survey features can have a positive effect, but also a negative one. How do you keep risk to a minimum? Check that your engagement and retention stats have not gone down as a result. Use a control group to check: A portion of your eligible audience is not presented with the survey, enabling you to compare the engagement stats between the group which receives the survey (the test group) and the control group. If you are doing things right, your engagement stats will remain constant (or improve).
Experiment. Use A/B tests to optimize your survey’s questions and answers, images, background, etc. Also, start small. Experiment with a small audience before trying out a survey on the entire target group.
8. Did you consider location?
Sometimes you can use location to prompt surveys. For example, if yours is a banking app, ask users to rate their experience as they exit their branch.
9. Is the feedback you’re providing relevant and personalized?
Imagine you just gave the app a negative response on a survey, and you receive a canned answer: “Thank you for your feedback.” Annoying.
If, however, following a negative answer you get a message acknowledging your dissatisfaction—e.g., “We understand we still have work to do to make buying easier. We’d love to hear your suggestions”—the user will feel heard.
10. Are you using the survey within a flow?
Some survey answers beg for a response from you. For example, in a survey exploring why users are not using a new feature, users might select “I was not aware of this option.” If that answer is selected, continue the conversation by presenting a tutorial video about the option—a contextual, real-time response to the user’s answer, showing that you’re not only collecting feedback but also trying to actually use it to improve.
Don’t abuse surveys!
Limit the use of surveys to avoid irritating your users:
- Use them only if they bring real value.
- Use per-user frequency capping to limit surveys to only once or twice per user.
- Cap the number of users who receive the survey at a number that yields significant results. Once you have the desired result, stop.
Your first survey may require a lot of planning, but surveys will soon come more naturally. Just don’t forget to put yourself in your user’s shoes.