How to Analyze Your Survey Data Part 1

How to Analyze Your Survey Data Part 1

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Possibly one of the trickiest components of launching a successful online survey campaign is the aftermath. Analyzing the information that you gathered from your surveys can be challenging.

Though many survey software systems have an automated data analysis tool – similarly to website or email analytics – you still need to understand what the data means.

Further, for those who don't have the privilege of an automated data analysis system, we'll guide you through how to look at your data and how to interpret it.

But, first, the most important, yet basic number you need to start with is the number of online surveys sent (if you did so through email). This also applies to the number of surveys completed from your website. The number of surveys is the fundamental number that helps you calculate and interpret the rest of your data.

Complete Surveys

Next to the number of surveys sent out or posted on your website, this is the second most critical number to know. Not only does this number provide you the basis from which the rest of your data is based, it also gives you an idea how intriguing or relevant your survey is.

To Calculate

For surveys sent via email, take the total number of surveys sent and divide it by the total number of completed surveys. (100 completed out of 200 sent is 50%).

For surveys available on your website, take the total number of surveys completed and divide it by the total number of hits. This data point is a bit trickier and not as straightforward as surveys sent via email. Some of the problems you may run across may be determined where on your website the survey is available. It may be easier if your survey pops up when a customer clicks on your home page.

Since the survey is available to everyone who visits your site, this percentage is easier to calculate.

If your survey is available as a landing page and appears in, say, a sidebar of your homepage, then it becomes a bit trickier.

However, if a survey pops up after a customer purchases a product from your site, say, before completing a sale, then you'll be able to capture this information more easily.

Incomplete Surveys

Obviously, this percentage is the opposite of completed surveys, but the relevance is equally as critical. If you have a mechanism to track how many people started your survey and then canceled it midway through, what it shows is that your survey is lacking in some way. This percentage may seem a bit disheartening but it demonstrates several key factors:

  • The necessity of pre-testing
  • The quality of questions
  • The variety of answers
  • The relevance of the survey

To Calculate

Take the total number of incomplete surveys and divide it by the total number of surveys available. Compare this percentage to the percentage of surveys completed. You may be shocked at the result.

For if the number of incomplete surveys outweighs the number of completed, then you know something is up with your survey. Time to reevaluate!


Outright, this may seem to only apply to email-based surveys, but it has complete relevance to web-based surveys.

The percentage of opens generated shows how effective your "hook" or incentive is. If the lure sucks, then no one will respond.

To Calculate

Essentially, this calculation is exactly like the others, in that, you take the total number of opens and divide it by the total number of surveys sent. Again, this also applies to web-based surveys.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of how to analyze your survey data soon. In the meantime sign up for SimplyCast's online survey creation tool for free.

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