Method to estimate response rate in market research

Response rate in market research is one the most important factors of getting measureable and implementable results. Unfortunately, you cannot design your research strategy or survey questionnaires and guess exactly how many people will respond to your request. What if you could do? That will not only be cost-effective but will also help you work better.

Here we are discussing a research methodology that you can use and actually estimate the response rate in your market research. You can guess, test the guess on a small sample and implement the results on a larger sample.

Estimate Response Rate with Confidence Interval

Note: If you’re not a research person, you might not understand this statistical part. It is advised to hire an external market research agency or specialist who can help you do the whole market research. If you’ve hired an agency and want to know how they come up with facts and figures about the future performance of your survey, here is one of the ways how they do or should do it.

Pre-Test on Small Sample

You have an email list or a large group of people who have volunteered to take part in your research. Extract a small sample size out of it, say 100 out of 3000. Don’t send your research question to all of those people or entire email list. Only send it to the extracted small group of people. See how they respond to it and how much time they take. Cash this opportunity and estimate the response rate.

Now after some time, perhaps a few days, calculate the response rate of that small sample. Divide the number of people who responded to the total number of people you actually sent your research questionnaires to. Now you have your sample response rate. For instance, if you invited 100 people and 20 of them sent back their responses, the response rate was clearly 20%.

But how to estimate the Response Rate?

Calculate the Confidence Interval

You can choose the confident interval depending upon your required confidence level of the response rate. Usually, 80% or 95% confidence interval works best.

Calculating confidence interval is simple. All you need to do is to have Standard Deviation of your population and Mean. You can put the values in the formula and you will get the results.

For instance, 80% confidence interval for 20 responses out of 100 invitations is from 15.5% to 25.6%. It clearly tells you that there are 80% chances that the response rate of your overall survey or market research will be around 15.5% to 25.5%. 95% confidence interval is the widely used practice.

It is also advised to keep a slight error margin in your estimates such as at least 5%.

Now you know.

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