Surveys Via Text Message: All You Need To Know

Philip Cleave
January 26, 2023
Man completing an SMS survey

From your survey sample size to the demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach, when it comes to your survey and distribution choices there is a lot to think about, if you’re going to achieve the engagement and response rates you need.

While email may still work well for a business or internal audience group like employees who still use this platform to communicate with others, other audience groups such as consumers will require a more flexible method that can reach them from anywhere.

This is where sending your survey via text message, or SMS surveys as they are more commonly known, can prove advantageous.

What is an SMS survey?

Essentially an SMS Survey allows you to capture respondent’s feedback via a text message. It does this by sending the recipient a survey invitation link within the text message, which they simply click on in order to launch and complete the survey from their smartphone device. You’ll then be able to view the live results of their responses, as soon as they’re submitted.

However, as is the case with email, by law you must get the consent of your recipients before sending them SMS messages. So, if you’re planning to use SMS surveys, you can get ahead on this by building in the ability to collect numbers for SMS campaigns into your marketing activities.

Advantages of text message surveys

There are lots of benefits to be gained with SMS surveys, particularly if you’re using an SMS Survey tool similar to ours, which allows you to issue bulk SMS survey invitations and features a mobile responsive survey, which automatically configures to your respondent’s smartphone or tablet.

It offers a wide audience reach

Given the UK’s current smartphone penetration rate of 93% , SMS surveys can be extremely effective in enabling you to reach the widest possible audience.

Engagement improves

SMS surveys are hugely beneficial in engaging respondents too.

According to studies, the open rate of SMS is around 98% compared with just 20% for emails. And when you also consider that the average UK adult checks their phone up to 80 times a day, it shouldn’t be too hard to appreciate just how effective SMS surveys can be for increasing audience engagement.

High SMS survey response rates

The increased engagement provided by SMS, can be hugely beneficial for SMS survey response rates too.

In fact, research shows that text has a 209% higher response rate than email, phone and social media platforms, while on average 95% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes.

Taking all of this into consideration, SMS offers the ideal conditions to increase your survey response rates.

Speed of response

Given that most people carry their mobile devices around with them and will usually check an SMS notification as soon as they get it, SMS typically offers one of the quickest ways of getting your survey recipients’ feedback.

However, you still need to be using the right survey software if you’re to make the most of this speed. For example, the ability to view the live results of recipient’s survey responses as they’re making them can enhance your decision-making.

Limitations of text message surveys

While SMS surveys offer a powerful tool for quick and cost-effective data collection, there are some challenges that you need to think about if you’re to get the most out of using this survey distribution method.

Probably one of the most important considerations is access issues.

While the use of smartphones is very high in the UK, there are still some groups that may not have access to them such as individuals from very old age groups, or those from deprived or marginalised groups.

Therefore, depending on what demographic or audience group you’re trying to survey, you may need to bear this mind.

When to use SMS for surveys

There are lots of ways you could potentially use an SMS survey, but generally they offer the best results when you’re trying to obtain feedback to short, snappy surveys.

Here are some examples:

Event feedback

If you’re hosting a conference, event or workshop, an SMS survey can provide a quick and effective way of asking attendees for their feedback, while it’s still fresh in their minds after your event has ended.

The convenience of SMS surveys makes them especially effective to quickly ask attendees about their overall satisfaction or likelihood to recommend your event to others via a respective CSAT or NPS® survey question.

Product feedback

SMS is also an ideal medium for post purchase surveys, allowing a survey to be rapidly dispatched to the customer, while their shopping experience is still top of mind.

This distribution method of text makes it much easier, convenient and faster for the customer to reply too.

Post-delivery feedback

Similarly, to product feedback, SMS is a great method for getting the views of a customer about an essential element of their purchase journey – their product’s delivery.

From their overall satisfaction with their delivery experience or other aspects such as their views about the quality of the product’s packaging or tools provided to track their delivery. Customers are more likely to share their feedback when they are asked to respond via a more convenient platform such as SMS.

Customer support feedback

Ongoing feedback is essential for customer support teams to identify how well they’re performing and any areas where they need to improve, which lends itself to the speed and convenience of an SMS survey.

While an email survey may still be sufficient for business customers, SMS is a far more effective way to reach out to consumer customers for feedback following the end of a support call.

Best practices for text message surveys

Having read about the benefits of using SMS surveys the types of use cases where they can be most effective, we’re sure many of you will be keen to crack on with building your own SMS survey. But before doing so, it can be handy to have some best practice guidance to refer to ensure your survey is as good as it can before you send it out.

Here’s some quick pointers to think about:

Establish your goals

The first thing you need to do before anything else is to establish what you want to learn and what you would like to do with the data from your SMS survey.

Define your goals first and then start writing your questions to help you reach that stated purpose.

Your respondents’ time is valuable, so once you know your goals, research what data may already exist that could inform your research goals, or even answer them. Then following this you’ll be able to determine the essential questions you need to be asking your respondents in order to meet your objectives.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is much more than simply determining the list of names you need to reach out to.

Besides knowing who you’re surveying, you’ll need to consider your sample size, survey timing, and the permissions required to send your survey.

Sample size

Whoever you’re looking to reach out to with your survey, you’ll need to know the ideal sample size that you require in order to achieve your desired level of accuracy in your results. Fortunately, we have a sample size calculator that can help you with this.


You also need to consider the timing for when it’s best to send your survey, particularly if that survey is related to a specific event or user action.


Always provide an option to opt-out and ensure you have the correct permission in place to contact your users before sending them surveys.

Introduce yourself

Customers can receive messages from a lot of brands and people, so they may not notice you if your SMS survey reaches them without mentioning who you are.

Adding an introduction and letting the customer know who you are also helps to increase trust and the likelihood of them responding.

It’s also good to practice to thank respondents for their time, once they have completed your survey.

Final thoughts on SMS Surveys

If you’ve not issued your surveys via text message before, we hope you found this overview interesting.

SMS surveys are a great way of communicating with your customers and gathering essential feedback, especially if you need to reach a large and varied audience group. They are also quick and simple to create, allowing you to quickly gain an insight into your customers thinking. There’s never been a better time to get started.

Increase your engagement and response rates

If you’re trying to improve customer engagement and increase your survey response rate, turning to SMS for your survey distribution is a really good option. However, if you’re to maximise the benefits of sending your surveys via text message, you also need to be using the right survey tools.

Find out more

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If you would like more information then please get in touch.