Is there a best time to send out surveys to get the highest responses?

When it comes to surveys, high response rates typically depend on these seven checkpoints:

  1. How well surveys are written for their target audience
  2. The length of a survey – short vs. long
  3. The respondent profile type – who are these people? B2B vs B2C
  4. The number of responses required
  5. The experience of taking the survey – how easy it is to complete it on various devices
  6. How the survey is sent
  7. When the survey invitation is sent

In a world where we compete for the attention of our respondents, how and when we send survey invitations impacts the results. People have asked us for years when is the best time to send surveys to get the highest responses. We’ve collected anecdotal data from 13 years of collaborating with our customers. Now is the time to back it up with usage data to understand what’s happening. The questions we seek answers to include:

  • What day of the week is the most popular to send and distribute surveys?
  • What time of the day is the most popular to send and distribute surveys?
  • What week of the month is the most popular time to send surveys?
  • What time of day do respondents complete surveys for our customers the most?
  • What day of the week do respondents complete surveys the most?
  • Are there any notable differences between different product types – surveys, Communities, Workforce, CX?

I brought these questions to our data mining team, and here are some interesting findings that may inspire you to rethink how and when to distribute surveys.

Please note – to protect the privacy of our customers and comply with privacy and security laws, we did not view specific audience profile types or topics and specifically targeted activities in the United States over the past year. We focused our analysis on usage data by viewing survey distribution and completion timestamps based on different QuestionPro product features.

The most popular day of the week to send out surveys is Tuesday

best day to send survey

Tuesday then closely followed by Monday are the two most popular days of the week to distribute and send surveys from QuestionPro. Thursday came in third followed by Wednesday, and then Friday rounding out the weekdays. Surprisingly, Saturday’s distribution volume drops slightly from Friday while Sunday is the least popular day of the entire week.  When surveying our customer-facing teams, they let us know that survey distribution on Tuesday is popular because it gives the survey administrator time to test launch in batches and make changes on Monday before officially distributing the survey. Mondays are a close second because survey admins spend the entire week prior to create and test their surveys before officially distributing the survey.

Product-specific distribution

Workforce – Monday and Tuesday was the two popular days to send employee surveys. This aligns well with employee email research showing that the best day to deliver important work emails is on a Monday or Tuesday in the early morning or mid afternoon due to open rates being the highest during those times.

Communities – Tuesday is the most popular day to send community surveys although other days were slightly lower but fairly consistent.

CX – For customer experience, it depends. Customer experience surveys are generally contingent on the point-of-sale and customer journey. If it’s automated, the date and time will vary based on customer activity.

The most popular time to send survey invitations is between 10 am and 11 am local time

best time to send survey

Our customers tend to deliver surveys in the mid-morning between 10-11 am followed by the early morning between 6 am and 9 am local time.  A 2019 study by Convertful showed similar popular email distribution times for email marketing to be 10 AM for professional services but showed different preferred distribution times for eCommerce and software/SaaS audiences (between 12 pm – 2 pm). Although we did not look into specific audience types for this study, we do acknowledge the time really depends on your target audience. We recommend taking our data points that we’ve shared and testing various times until you find what works best for the highest response rates.

The last week of the month is when we see the highest survey sent and completion activity

Time to send survey

For QuestionPro customers, wrapping up the end of the month also means distributing surveys that have been in the works. From week one to week four, distribution activity starts out strong but drops the lowest during week two then steadily rises to the highest on week four.  Our customer-facing teams confirmed that mid-month is focused on creating surveys or analyzing the results. The last week and the first week of the month are when they typically see a shift in questions regarding survey distribution options, sample sizes, and how to manage active surveys in the field.

The most popular day respondents complete surveys the quickest are Tuesdays

best time to send survey

To answer this question, we reviewed timestamps based on the average time it took to send and receive completed surveys. We found that Tuesday had the quickest response time while it took the longest to get results over the weekend. The second highest response day was Friday which may seem surprising. Our customer-facing team confirmed that Friday is a high-activity day with spikes in questions from directly from survey respondents. The completion time slows down for the rest of the week, but not enough to be worried about sending surveys on those days. Other factors that could influence survey completion times are the length and topic. We recommend using the data we are providing and test launch your own response study to determine what works best for your survey projects.

The level of engagement with your target audience influences the distribution date and survey completion rates

when to send surveys

For QuestionPro Communities vs Surveys, we found something very interesting. Survey customers had more popular times of the month, days of the week, and times to send surveys while Communities customers sent invitations every day during waking hours of the week and even showed engagement activities on the weekends! Of course, audience profile type matters – B2B communities prefer engagement during the workweek while B2C communities are open to respond to surveys nearly anytime. These results tell us that if you are managing a highly engaged with your audience, then your response rates will typically be higher and quicker than those who do not regularly connect with their target audience. It doesn’t matter when or how you send your surveys. Highly engaged respondents, regardless of industry, trumps nearly all survey deployment and completion date and time logic. However, to get to the level of managing a highly engaged audience requires short and long-term strategies to recruit maintain, and manage ongoing relationships. The effort and overhead are high in the beginning, but the long-term benefits are immense when you are able to leverage a highly engaged audience.

The takeaway from all of this? Timing can make a difference 

In short, here’s what we found from our research into survey distribution and response timing:

  • Tuesday is the most popular time to send survey invitations
  • 10-11 am local time is the most popular time to send surveys
  • The last week of the month is the most popular time to send invitations
  • Tuesday has the quickest response time to surveys than any other day
  • Highly engaged audiences typically respond faster and quicker regardless of date or time survey invitations were sent

Based on the data we’ve shared from our analysis, we strongly encourage you to run your own survey timing project to determine what works best for your insights. Use this as a baseline to get your organization to think about leveraging time and specific product features to ensure survey invitations are sent when your audience is available to offer feedback.