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How Social Apps Like BeReal., Poparazzi & VSCO Can Help Marketers Learn About Gen Z



In April, BeReal – a social media app that hosts many Gen Z users, saw 315% YoY daily download growth. Meanwhile, another popular Gen Z app called Poparazzi is seeing 96,100 downloads per month (just from the Apple App Store.).

And, these apps – which both encourage “authentic” photo-sharing, come a few years after VSCO – another image-sharing app – went viral (particularly among Gen Z demographics).

Haven’t heard of any of these apps? Don’t panic.

Ultimately, we haven’t written much about them for a reason: Because these apps aim to offer safe spaces for users to share their most authentic selves, we don’t really think there’s a place for brands or marketing on them just yet.

So, why are we discussing them now?

At this point, we’ve continued to watch as multiple apps that encourage minimal filtering, authenticity, and unedited content go viral with an influx of Gen Z users. And although marketers might not be a great fit for many of these apps, the trends themselves ultimately bring up themes about Gen Z that marketers will need to know as the group reaches full buying power.

In this post, we’ll discuss some of the newer social platforms used by Gen Z, if you should even be on them, and what to do to continue reaching this group in alternative areas of the web.

3 Newer Social Media Platforms With Large Gen Z Audiences


BeReal. has a perfect 5-star rating in the Apple Store with over 20,000 reviews. The app aims to fight materialism, social media insecurity, and false narratives users of Instagram or other social media platforms might run into by forcing users to publish a photo within a certain time limit and with minimal editing tools each day.

When you create an account on the app, you’re asked to enable your notifications, permit both front and back cameras, and create a username.

Each day at a random time, BeReal will send a notification saying you have 2 minutes to take a photo exactly where you are. You’ll open the app to a camera screen with a ticking timer at the top.

When you press the capture button, the camera will take a picture of what your back camera is facing and a picture of you (or whatever your front camera is facing). You can then add a caption and a location, but you cannot remove either of the images captured or add filters.

image posting settings on BeReal app

Once your image is published either with the “Only Friends” or “Discovery” privacy settings, you’ll either see it in a feed with all of your friends’ photos taken at that relative time – or see it on a public Discovery feed with photos from all other users taken at that same relative time.

a feed showing an image of people on their phones on BeReal

After publishing, you can edit your captions or post the photo after the 2-minute time period (if you want to wait til you’re in a more aesthetically pleasing location), but then, the app will show that your photo was published late and/or that your caption was edited for added user transparency.

A photo location and the time period of hours a photo was published late on bereal

Does BeReal. have brand potential?

At the moment, BeReal. is quite interesting for consumers and demonstrates a lot of the things Gen Z enjoys on one platform.

Here’s what our very own Gen Z social media manager, Kelsi Yamada says about it:

“It’s almost like a game. You get one notification per day, and can mentally check off a box after you’ve posted. It allows users to connect on one common thing at one time, which is what allowed games like Wordle to absolutely blow up.”

Yamada adds, “In addition to wanting more authenticity on social, I think Gen Z is attracted to these unique ways of connecting and being ‘in’ on the action of getting the notification, getting their post in, and seeing what everyone else posted. It’s a fun thing to look forward to, and there’s an instant gratification element to it, too, since your friends will post within the same 2-minute time window.”

Despite how interesting the platform is for users, we’ll still need to watch it for a bit more time before determining if it will ever be a great place for brands.

From browsing the app, it looks like there are minimal options for marketing offered by the platform itself – which makes sense due to the platform’s authentic, consumer-facing mission. While you could hypothetically create an account for yourself and use your BeReal images to chronicle work at your brand, this could come off as advertorial or over-promotional if done too often.  

However, BeReal. is still worth knowing about and even exploring to get insight into the minds and day-to-day lives of Gen Z.


Another platform that’s been discussed in the news lately is Poparazzi. A social media app where your friends build your profile. With Poparazzi, you get to create a username and follow your friends or contacts. But, you can’t edit or manipulate your profile or the pictures on it either way.

The platform which aims to discourage selfies, relies on your friends (those who have permission, of course) to post images of you – similarly to how paparazzi photographers capture and publish photos of celebrities. Additionally, as a user, you are also encouraged and able to post pictures of your friends right back.

1652098907 503 How Social Apps Like BeReal Poparazzi VSCO Can Help

Once your profile’s created by your friends, it’s easy to find and follow it via the app’s search and contact matching functions. Profiles look very similar to Instagram’s layout, but they’ll contain one feed with photos – called Pops – of you, and one feed of Pops you’ve taken of others.

Does Poparazzi have brand potential?

While this is an interesting social media app, you don’t need to rush to it yet. While you could hypothetically ask fans to Pop influencers, experts affiliated with your brand, or one of your products or store locations, but this might be considered annoying rather than clever on an app like this.

Additionally, despite thousands of positive Apple Store reviews and downloads, Poparazzi isn’t available for Android – meaning millions of people can’t access it yet. While swiping through Poparazzi, or even making your own personal account, could help you get some great insights on the daily lives of Gen Z, there’s no need to pivot your marketing strategy over to this app.


In 2019 and 2020, millions of people began posting photos on VSCO instead of Instagram. The low-pressure app, which still claims to be a photo-sharing and editing tool, evolved into an unexpected form of social media with Gen Z usage.

VSCOprovides a low-pressure sharing experience primarily because it allows users to publish images with no caption, like or comment capabilities. All you see when a photo is published is the image, a follow button, the date, and the name of the filter used on the photo.

A VSCO image post from Tess Bump showing her painted nails while sitting in a carWith no fear of negative conversation, criticism, low like-counts, many users felt VSCO allowed them to explore a creative or more personal side of themselves that they couldn’t show on other mainstream platforms.

Does VSCO have brand potential?

While everyone was buzzing about it years ago, it seems you don’t hear about the platform as much anymore as Gen Z has begun to move on to the next one.

But, the same no-comment, no-text features that made VSCO interesting has also stagnated it’s growth and caused some members of Gen Z to put attention back on Instagram.

My Gen Z sister, Tess, who joined VSCO early on, says the app is “still a thing”, but it’s stayed “more photo editing-focused rather than becoming an actual social media channel.” She adds that the lack of captions, which initially interested her caused VSCO to lose out against social media competitors.

“With Instagram, you give feedback and VSCO lacks that,” she adds.

What Gen Z Social Media Preferences Mean for Marketers

As a marketer who’s probably auditing which platforms will be most effective for you as they evolve daily, we can safely say you don’t need to rush on to any of these yet – even if you are marketing to Gen Z.

However, there are a few themes that you need to recognize if Gen Z will be a future or upcoming audience target.

1. Gen Z craves realness over brand promotion online.

Unlike millennials who struggle with FOMO, material concerns, and can be persuaded to buy products due to brand loyalty, high-budget marketing campaigns, and other factors, Gen Z wants to engage in authentic interactions.

“Social media is like a second language to Gen Z. We grew up with the Internet and social media has pretty much become a primary way of connecting or keeping up with friends,” says Yamada. “Because of that, Gen Z is also great at spotting when a brand is trying too hard, being inauthentic, or just doesn’t get it. I feel like I see a lot of brands fall flat when they try to copy trending content.”

“I would advise brands to either completely commit to going with trends if they fit the brand, or just letting go of the pressure of following trends altogether if it isn’t the right fit.”

Although your marketing campaigns might not a good fit for BeReal, Poparazzi, or other authentic or community-led platforms, you can still leverage the generation’s craving for authenticity to grow a fanbase in this target.

Why? Because this craving for authenticity, realness, and transparency sticks with Gen Z in their product discovery and purchasing behaviors.

While many millennials grew up in long lines waiting for the launch of iPhones, Xbox 360s, or major store brand grand openings, Gen Z members are more likely to research a product, consider word of mouth recommendations, and look at how it compares to cheaper competitors before making large purchases.

Tactics like having customers share reviews or testimonials on social platforms, opening your brand up to honest unboxing or review videos, and offering the most up to date and transparent content about your brand or offerings, as well as your mission, can help Gen Z to realize your brand is worth considering.

2. Gen Z wants new, niche, and more personal experiences.

If you go on TikTok and see hundreds of ads for new, gimmicky products, you might actually be shocked by the subhead above. But, many data points back this up

As Gen Z began to reach buying power in the teens and early 20s, research suggested that they’d be more niche, thrifty, and creative. Today, their interest in less mainstream, but more creative and transparent apps like BeReal, Poparazzi, VSCO, and the rise of TikTok prove these theories.

Even before these platforms came to fruition, we saw Gen Z begin to embrace their personal and creative sides with fake Instagram accounts (or Finstas) that aimed to show another side of them to just a few close friends rather than public followers.

3. Gen Z will almost always experiment with new digital platforms.

Gen Z is the most hyper-connected generation yet – aside from Gen Alpa which will likely beat them in a decade or so. Because of this, when a new social media platform launches or gets even slight popularity, they might try it just to stay in the know.

However, their eagerness in new social media platforms doesn’t mean that every app will become TikTok. And, unfortunately, most brands can’t easily exist or thrive on every single app.

Even on the HubSpot Blog, we take time to think about and strongly vet the opportunities a social app or new platform can provide to brands before we give our time to writing about them.

Ultimately, we’re writing about these apps not because we think everyone should use them, but because they signify shifts from generation to generation. And, while you might not be able to leverage these channels in your marketing campaign, you can leverage authenticity, creative features, transparency, and maybe even the sense of trust that Gen Z is craving from companies (like these platform owners) today.

Which Gen Z Platforms (If Any) are Right for You?

As marketers or business owners, you should vet the opportunities, audiences, and consumer behaviors from platform to platform to determine which social media channels you really need to spend time on. But, you can still take time to learn about the platforms you aren’t going to use by asking yourself:

  • Why is our target audience interested or not at all interested in this platform?
  • What does it have that other platforms don’t?
  • Is there a way we can embrace their needs or preferences in our products, offerings, or campaigns (even if they don’t launch on this social media channel)?

Remember, you can learn a great deal from both platforms you do use (like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even TikTok) — as well as the platforms you decide not to publish on.  

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OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons



OpenAI’s Drama Should Teach Marketers These 2 Lessons

A week or so ago, the extraordinary drama happening at OpenAI filled news feeds.

No need to get into all the saga’s details, as every publication seems to have covered it. We’re just waiting for someone to put together a video montage scored to the Game of Thrones music.

But as Sam Altman takes back the reigns of the company he helped to found, the existing board begins to disintegrate before your very eyes, and everyone agrees something spooked everybody, a question arises: Should you care?

Does OpenAI’s drama have any demonstrable implications for marketers integrating generative AI into their marketing strategies?

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain (and give a shoutout to Sutton’s pants rage on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), or keep reading his thoughts:

For those who spent last week figuring out what to put on your holiday table and missed every AI headline, here’s a brief version of what happened. OpenAI – the huge startup and creator of ChatGPT – went through dramatic events. Its board fired the mercurial CEO Sam Altman. Then, the 38-year-old entrepreneur accepted a job at Microsoft but returned to OpenAI a day later.

We won’t give a hot take on what it means for the startup world, board governance, or the tension between AI safety and Silicon Valley capitalism. Rather, we see some interesting things for marketers to put into perspective about how AI should fit into your overall content and marketing plans in the new year.

Robert highlights two takeaways from the OpenAI debacle – a drama that has yet to reach its final chapter: 1. The right structure and governance matters, and 2. Big platforms don’t become antifragile just because they’re big.

Let’s have Robert explain.

The right structure and governance matters

OpenAI’s structure may be key to the drama. OpenAI has a bizarre corporate governance framework. The board of directors controls a nonprofit called OpenAI. That nonprofit created a capped for-profit subsidiary – OpenAI GP LLC. The majority owner of that for-profit is OpenAI Global LLC, another for-profit company. The nonprofit works for the benefit of the world with a for-profit arm.

That seems like an earnest approach, given AI tech’s big and disruptive power. But it provides so many weird governance issues, including that the nonprofit board, which controls everything, has no duty to maximize profit. What could go wrong?

That’s why marketers should know more about the organizations behind the generative AI tools they use or are considering.

First, know your providers of generative AI software and services are all exploring the topics of governance and safety. Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and others won’t have their internal debates erupt in public fireworks. Still, governance and management of safety over profits remains a big topic for them. You should be aware of how they approach those topics as you license solutions from them.

Second, recognize the productive use of generative AI is a content strategy and governance challenge, not a technology challenge. If you don’t solve the governance and cross-functional uses of the generative AI platforms you buy, you will run into big problems with its cross-functional, cross-siloed use. 

Big platforms do not become antifragile just because they’re big

Nicholas Taleb wrote a wonderful book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. It explores how an antifragile structure doesn’t just withstand a shock; it actually improves because of a disruption or shock. It doesn’t just survive a big disruptive event; it gets stronger because of it.

It’s hard to imagine a company the size and scale of OpenAI could self-correct or even disappear tomorrow. But it can and does happen. And unfortunately, too many businesses build their strategies on that rented land.

In OpenAI’s recent case, the for-profit software won the day. But make no bones about that victory; the event wasn’t good for the company. If it bounces back, it won’t be stronger because of the debacle.

With that win on the for-profit side, hundreds, if not thousands, of generative AI startups breathed an audible sigh of relief. But a few moments later, they screamed “pivot” (in their best imitation of Ross from Friends instructing Chandler and Rachel to move a couch.)

They now realize the fragility of their software because it relies on OpenAI’s existence or willingness to provide the software. Imagine what could have happened if the OpenAI board had won their fight and, in the name of safety, simply killed any paid access to the API or the ability to build business models on top of it.

The last two weeks have done nothing to clear the already muddy waters encountered by companies and their plans to integrate generative AI solutions. Going forward, though, think about the issues when acquiring new generative AI software. Ask about how the vendor’s infrastructure is housed and identify the risks involved. And, if OpenAI expands its enterprise capabilities, consider the implications. What extra features will the off-the-shelf solutions provide? Do you need them? Will OpenAI become the Microsoft Office of your AI infrastructure?

Why you should care

With the voluminous media coverage of Open AI’s drama, you likely will see pushback on generative AI. In my social feeds, many marketers say they’re tired of the corporate soap opera that is irrelevant to their work.

They are half right. What Sam said and how Ilya responded, heart emojis, and how much the Twitch guy got for three days of work are fodder for the Netflix series sure to emerge. (Robert’s money is on Michael Cera starring.)

They’re wrong about its relevance to marketing. They must be experiencing attentional bias – paying more attention to some elements of the big event and ignoring others. OpenAI’s struggle is entertaining, no doubt. You’re glued to the drama. But understanding what happened with the events directly relates to your ability to manage similar ones successfully. That’s the part you need to get right.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader



The Complete Guide to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader

Introduce your processes: If you’ve streamlined a particular process, share it. It could be the solution someone else is looking for.

Jump on trends and news: If there’s a hot topic or emerging trend, offer your unique perspective.

Share industry insights: Attended a webinar or podcast that offered valuable insights. Summarize the key takeaways and how they can be applied.

Share your successes: Write about strategies that have worked exceptionally well for you. Your audience will appreciate the proven advice. For example, I shared the process I used to help a former client rank for a keyword with over 2.2 million monthly searches.

Question outdated strategies: If you see a strategy that’s losing steam, suggest alternatives based on your experience and data.

5. Establish communication channels (How)

Once you know who your audience is and what they want to hear, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Here’s how:

Choose the right platforms: You don’t need to have a presence on every social media platform. Pick two platforms where your audience hangs out and create content for that platform. For example, I’m active on LinkedIn and X because my target audience (SEOs, B2B SaaS, and marketers) is active on these platforms.

Repurpose content: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of content. Consider repurposing your content on Quora, Reddit, or even in webinars and podcasts. This increases your reach and reinforces your message.

Follow Your audience: Go where your audience goes. If they’re active on X, that’s where you should be posting. If they frequent industry webinars, consider becoming a guest on these webinars.

Daily vs. In-depth content: Balance is key. Use social media for daily tips and insights, and reserve your blog for more comprehensive guides and articles.

Network with influencers: Your audience is likely following other experts in the field. Engaging with these influencers puts your content in front of a like-minded audience. I try to spend 30 minutes to an hour daily engaging with content on X and LinkedIn. This is the best way to build a relationship so you’re not a complete stranger when you DM privately.

6. Think of thought leadership as part of your content marketing efforts

As with other content efforts, thought leadership doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrives when woven into a cohesive content marketing strategy. By aligning individual authority with your brand, you amplify the credibility of both.

Think of it as top-of-the-funnel content to:

  • Build awareness about your brand

  • Highlight the problems you solve

  • Demonstrate expertise by platforming experts within the company who deliver solutions

Consider the user journey. An individual enters at the top through a social media post, podcast, or blog post. Intrigued, they want to learn more about you and either search your name on Google or social media. If they like what they see, they might visit your website, and if the information fits their needs, they move from passive readers to active prospects in your sales pipeline.

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How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips



How to Increase Survey Completion Rate With 5 Top Tips

Collecting high-quality data is crucial to making strategic observations about your customers. Researchers have to consider the best ways to design their surveys and then how to increase survey completion, because it makes the data more reliable.

→ Free Download: 5 Customer Survey Templates [Access Now]

I’m going to explain how survey completion plays into the reliability of data. Then, we’ll get into how to calculate your survey completion rate versus the number of questions you ask. Finally, I’ll offer some tips to help you increase survey completion rates.

My goal is to make your data-driven decisions more accurate and effective. And just for fun, I’ll use cats in the examples because mine won’t stop walking across my keyboard.

Why Measure Survey Completion

Let’s set the scene: We’re inside a laboratory with a group of cat researchers. They’re wearing little white coats and goggles — and they desperately want to know what other cats think of various fish.

They’ve written up a 10-question survey and invited 100 cats from all socioeconomic rungs — rough and hungry alley cats all the way up to the ones that thrice daily enjoy their Fancy Feast from a crystal dish.

Now, survey completion rates are measured with two metrics: response rate and completion rate. Combining those metrics determines what percentage, out of all 100 cats, finished the entire survey. If all 100 give their full report on how delicious fish is, you’d achieve 100% survey completion and know that your information is as accurate as possible.

But the truth is, nobody achieves 100% survey completion, not even golden retrievers.

With this in mind, here’s how it plays out:

  • Let’s say 10 cats never show up for the survey because they were sleeping.
  • Of the 90 cats that started the survey, only 25 got through a few questions. Then, they wandered off to knock over drinks.
  • Thus, 90 cats gave some level of response, and 65 completed the survey (90 – 25 = 65).
  • Unfortunately, those 25 cats who only partially completed the survey had important opinions — they like salmon way more than any other fish.

The cat researchers achieved 72% survey completion (65 divided by 90), but their survey will not reflect the 25% of cats — a full quarter! — that vastly prefer salmon. (The other 65 cats had no statistically significant preference, by the way. They just wanted to eat whatever fish they saw.)

Now, the Kitty Committee reviews the research and decides, well, if they like any old fish they see, then offer the least expensive ones so they get the highest profit margin.

CatCorp, their competitors, ran the same survey; however, they offered all 100 participants their own glass of water to knock over — with a fish inside, even!

Only 10 of their 100 cats started, but did not finish the survey. And the same 10 lazy cats from the other survey didn’t show up to this one, either.

So, there were 90 respondents and 80 completed surveys. CatCorp achieved an 88% completion rate (80 divided by 90), which recorded that most cats don’t care, but some really want salmon. CatCorp made salmon available and enjoyed higher profits than the Kitty Committee.

So you see, the higher your survey completion rates, the more reliable your data is. From there, you can make solid, data-driven decisions that are more accurate and effective. That’s the goal.

We measure the completion rates to be able to say, “Here’s how sure we can feel that this information is accurate.”

And if there’s a Maine Coon tycoon looking to invest, will they be more likely to do business with a cat food company whose decision-making metrics are 72% accurate or 88%? I suppose it could depend on who’s serving salmon.

While math was not my strongest subject in school, I had the great opportunity to take several college-level research and statistics classes, and the software we used did the math for us. That’s why I used 100 cats — to keep the math easy so we could focus on the importance of building reliable data.

Now, we’re going to talk equations and use more realistic numbers. Here’s the formula:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

So, we need to take the number of completed surveys and divide that by the number of people who responded to at least one of your survey questions. Even just one question answered qualifies them as a respondent (versus nonrespondent, i.e., the 10 lazy cats who never show up).

Now, you’re running an email survey for, let’s say, Patton Avenue Pet Company. We’ll guess that the email list has 5,000 unique addresses to contact. You send out your survey to all of them.

Your analytics data reports that 3,000 people responded to one or more of your survey questions. Then, 1,200 of those respondents actually completed the entire survey.

3,000/5000 = 0.6 = 60% — that’s your pool of survey respondents who answered at least one question. That sounds pretty good! But some of them didn’t finish the survey. You need to know the percentage of people who completed the entire survey. So here we go:

Completion rate equals the # of completed surveys divided by the # of survey respondents.

Completion rate = (1,200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Voila, 40% of your respondents did the entire survey.

Response Rate vs. Completion Rate

Okay, so we know why the completion rate matters and how we find the right number. But did you also hear the term response rate? They are completely different figures based on separate equations, and I’ll show them side by side to highlight the differences.

  • Completion Rate = # of Completed Surveys divided by # of Respondents
  • Response Rate = # of Respondents divided by Total # of surveys sent out

Here are examples using the same numbers from above:

Completion Rate = (1200/3,000) = 0.40 = 40%

Response Rate = (3,000/5000) = 0.60 = 60%

So, they are different figures that describe different things:

  • Completion rate: The percentage of your respondents that completed the entire survey. As a result, it indicates how sure we are that the information we have is accurate.
  • Response rate: The percentage of people who responded in any way to our survey questions.

The follow-up question is: How can we make this number as high as possible in order to be closer to a truer and more complete data set from the population we surveyed?

There’s more to learn about response rates and how to bump them up as high as you can, but we’re going to keep trucking with completion rates!

What’s a good survey completion rate?

That is a heavily loaded question. People in our industry have to say, “It depends,” far more than anybody wants to hear it, but it depends. Sorry about that.

There are lots of factors at play, such as what kind of survey you’re doing, what industry you’re doing it in, if it’s an internal or external survey, the population or sample size, the confidence level you’d like to hit, the margin of error you’re willing to accept, etc.

But you can’t really get a high completion rate unless you increase response rates first.

So instead of focusing on what’s a good completion rate, I think it’s more important to understand what makes a good response rate. Aim high enough, and survey completions should follow.

I checked in with the Qualtrics community and found this discussion about survey response rates:

“Just wondering what are the average response rates we see for online B2B CX surveys? […]

Current response rates: 6%–8%… We are looking at boosting the response rates but would first like to understand what is the average.”

The best answer came from a government service provider that works with businesses. The poster notes that their service is free to use, so they get very high response rates.

“I would say around 30–40% response rates to transactional surveys,” they write. “Our annual pulse survey usually sits closer to 12%. I think the type of survey and how long it has been since you rendered services is a huge factor.”

Since this conversation, “Delighted” (the Qualtrics blog) reported some fresher data:

survey completion rate vs number of questions new data, qualtrics data

Image Source

The takeaway here is that response rates vary widely depending on the channel you use to reach respondents. On the upper end, the Qualtrics blog reports that customers had 85% response rates for employee email NPS surveys and 33% for email NPS surveys.

A good response rate, the blog writes, “ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.”

This echoes reports from Customer Thermometer, which marks a response rate of 50% or higher as excellent. Response rates between 5%-30% are much more typical, the report notes. High response rates are driven by a strong motivation to complete the survey or a personal relationship between the brand and the customer.

If your business does little person-to-person contact, you’re out of luck. Customer Thermometer says you should expect responses on the lower end of the scale. The same goes for surveys distributed from unknown senders, which typically yield the lowest level of responses.

According to SurveyMonkey, surveys where the sender has no prior relationship have response rates of 20% to 30% on the high end.

Whatever numbers you do get, keep making those efforts to bring response rates up. That way, you have a better chance of increasing your survey completion rate. How, you ask?

Tips to Increase Survey Completion

If you want to boost survey completions among your customers, try the following tips.

1. Keep your survey brief.

We shouldn’t cram lots of questions into one survey, even if it’s tempting. Sure, it’d be nice to have more data points, but random people will probably not hunker down for 100 questions when we catch them during their half-hour lunch break.

Keep it short. Pare it down in any way you can.

Survey completion rate versus number of questions is a correlative relationship — the more questions you ask, the fewer people will answer them all. If you have the budget to pay the respondents, it’s a different story — to a degree.

“If you’re paying for survey responses, you’re more likely to get completions of a decently-sized survey. You’ll just want to avoid survey lengths that might tire, confuse, or frustrate the user. You’ll want to aim for quality over quantity,” says Pamela Bump, Head of Content Growth at HubSpot.

2. Give your customers an incentive.

For instance, if they’re cats, you could give them a glass of water with a fish inside.

Offer incentives that make sense for your target audience. If they feel like they are being rewarded for giving their time, they will have more motivation to complete the survey.

This can even accomplish two things at once — if you offer promo codes, discounts on products, or free shipping, it encourages them to shop with you again.

3. Keep it smooth and easy.

Keep your survey easy to read. Simplifying your questions has at least two benefits: People will understand the question better and give you the information you need, and people won’t get confused or frustrated and just leave the survey.

4. Know your customers and how to meet them where they are.

Here’s an anecdote about understanding your customers and learning how best to meet them where they are.

Early on in her role, Pamela Bump, HubSpot’s Head of Content Growth, conducted a survey of HubSpot Blog readers to learn more about their expertise levels, interests, challenges, and opportunities. Once published, she shared the survey with the blog’s email subscribers and a top reader list she had developed, aiming to receive 150+ responses.

“When the 20-question survey was getting a low response rate, I realized that blog readers were on the blog to read — not to give feedback. I removed questions that wouldn’t serve actionable insights. When I reshared a shorter, 10-question survey, it passed 200 responses in one week,” Bump shares.

Tip 5. Gamify your survey.

Make it fun! Brands have started turning surveys into eye candy with entertaining interfaces so they’re enjoyable to interact with.

Your respondents could unlock micro incentives as they answer more questions. You can word your questions in a fun and exciting way so it feels more like a BuzzFeed quiz. Someone saw the opportunity to make surveys into entertainment, and your imagination — well, and your budget — is the limit!

Your Turn to Boost Survey Completion Rates

Now, it’s time to start surveying. Remember to keep your user at the heart of the experience. Value your respondents’ time, and they’re more likely to give you compelling information. Creating short, fun-to-take surveys can also boost your completion rates.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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