As a full-service market research company, we often get asked the question – “When is the best time of the year to send a survey?”
In all honesty, the timing of the year doesn’t have too much of an impact on the success of a survey, whether it be conducted through phone, email, or other online channels.
With the popular usage of mobile technology, everyone is most likely always connected to a device both at work and at home.
Phone, tablets, laptops – for all generations of people it is becoming the norm to have some type of communication device on you at all times.
While the time of the year may not affect the outcome of survey research, there are still a few impactful factors of what time is best to send a survey.
It’s mostly important to take a closer look at your industry and the target audience who will be completing the questionnaire. Also, more general rules of thumb being not sending a survey during the weekend or during holiday weeks.
In this blog post, Drive Research, a national online survey company will dive into these three factors to provide you with more insight on the greatest time to conduct a survey.
First, Consider Your Industry
There may be no specific time of year that is best to send a survey, but it is important to ask yourself, is there a bad time of the year to send a survey?
This answer may be different for various types of businesses and industries. Think about the target audience of people who will be taking your survey.
Here are a few examples of how your industry could impact when not to conduct market research:
- If you are sending a survey to human resource professionals about insurance, it is probably a bad idea to send this survey during open enrollment period because this is perhaps their busiest time of year.
- If you are sending a survey to be completed by accountants, it is most likely not in your best interest to send this survey in March or April -- better known as tax season.
- If you are sending a survey to college students, it would be best to send the survey during the fall or spring semester, as they are likely not frequently checking their school emails during winter and summer break.
There are many factors that go into the success or downfall of the performance of a survey -- the time in which you send a survey being a big one.
In order to set your survey up for success, it needs to be sent at a time that is best and most convenient for your target respondent.
The more responses your survey receive, the more accurate they become and this starts with when a respondent is most available to take a survey.
Shy Away from Sending Surveys During Holiday Weeks
Between the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year there are several weeks throughout the year in which your ideal respondent puts a “do not disturb” sign on their professional lives.
These are the most popular times of the year in which most B2B audiences take a vacation or are given time off from work. It is their time to spend away from the office, meaning they are rarely checking in on email.
Some other weeks to be mindful of are school breaks.
For those who have small children, many working parents choose to take their vacation time to stay home or travel with their families while school is not in session.
For example, many schools give their students a week off for winter break and spring break while normal business hours are still in progress.
Depending on who your target audience is, it might be helpful to make note of when these breaks fall on your calendar, so if possible you can wait to send your survey the week prior or the following week.
There are also one-off holidays to keep in mind including:
- Martin Luther King Day
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
These are the days business professionals are granted a vacation day and some even choose to take the surrounding days off to enjoy an extended long weekend.
These holiday weeks and even one-off holiday days are something to keep in mind when choosing a time of the year to send a survey.
In order to achieve maximum survey responses and therefore more quality feedback, consider holding off sending a survey until your target audience is back in the office and checking their emails more periodically.
Avoid Sending a Survey on Weekends
Much like it is a good idea to send a survey outside of popular holiday vacation days, it is also a good practice to avoid sending a survey on the weekends.
Again, this is a time most people are not actively checking their work or even personal emails.
Additionally, potential respondents are more likely to get distracted by outside factors such as housework, activities, and hobbies that would deter them from starting and actually finishing a survey in its entirety.
If sending an email survey invitation on the weekend is unavoidable, HubSpot recommends Sundays at 9 PM for a peak engagement time.
The Best Time of Day to Send a Survey
Particularly, if you are sending an email survey or an email with a link to an online survey for respondents to complete there are a few studies that show the best time of the day to send an email in order to receive a high open-rate.
According to CoSchedule, an email marketing platform, there were two days of the week that earned the best results.
- CoSchedule learned that Tuesdays was the highest open rate and click-through rate.
- They also recommended sending emails on Thursday for brands that send more than one email a week.
With that being said, the perfect time to send an email survey is the time that works for your specific audience.
How do you know when is the best time to send an email survey to your specific audience?
The study above was performed with a more generalized audience, not specific to any sector or industry.
The best time to send an email survey to your specific audience will take some testing on your end to perfect.
- To do so, send an email survey to half of your contact list on Tuesday afternoon and then send the same email, with the same subject line to the remaining list of contacts at the same time on Wednesday.
- On Thursday afternoon, look at how each email performed. Did Tuesday’s email have a higher open rate than the email sent on Wednesday? Did either email result in a significantly higher response rate for your survey?
This process is commonly referred to as A/B testing and the more you practice this, the more insight into the best time of the week or day is to send your survey.
After choosing what day is best throughout the week, perform another A/B test where you send the survey once in the morning to one group, and again to the second group in the afternoon.
Did either email significantly outperform the other? If so, you have your answer as to when is the best time to send a survey to your audience.
Drive Research is a national market research company specializing in online surveys. Our team of market research professionals works with various brands and industries across the country. We can recommend the best approach to survey design, fieldwork, and reporting.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.
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A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.