How to Use Surveys and Polls in Your Event App

Have you ever wished you knew what event attendees were thinking? Do you want the ability to make improvements in real time? If the answers are yes, then live polling and surveys through an event app are what you need to take your events to the next level.

Here, we’ll discuss the importance of getting feedback from your event attendees, how the right technology can help provide real-time feedback, how Guidebook gives anyone the ability to create their own app, and much more. 

The Importance of Collecting Feedback From Event Attendees

Collecting feedback from attendees is one of the most important parts of the event process. Sure, quantitative data such as ticket sales may show how successful an event was. But qualitative feedback from surveys and live polls is essential to ensure future success. 

By giving the attendees a chance to share their feedback, you’ll reap benefits such as:

  • Create user loyalty
  • Show attendees that you’re listening to them
  • Add another event success measure
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Use feedback to plan future events

People appreciate the chance to give their opinions. It shows you’re listening. This give-and-take approach to communication improves loyalty and enhances the chances that a user will return for the same event next year — or for other upcoming events. 

With events for alumni associations or non-profit causes, one way to measure the success of the event is the total amount of donations either at the event or shortly thereafter. With concerts or sporting events, ticket sales are a good measure of success. But ticket sales and donations aren’t necessarily a good predictor of future attendance.

If you listen to your attendees and fix areas they’re not satisfied with, there’s a better chance of future attendance. For example, if users say they want mobile check-in and you don’t provide that at your next event, they may forgo long lines at your events and go to competing events that have the mobile technology modern consumers want. 

So you need feedback, but how do you get it? Are you going to email the attendees a week after the event? Few will have time to answer such a survey. They’re busy with their usual daily tasks. It’s better if you can get the feedback at the event. But who wants to carry around a survey? There’s a better way, and we’ll cover it in the next section.

The Benefits of Using Surveys and Polls in an Event App

Why wait until after the event for a survey? Why use paper? Most people don’t get around to filling out a paper event feedback form or they misplace it. But, just about everyone carries around a smartphone that can hold a library full of documents. Put the survey in an app specially designed for your event. 

If your event is a seminar for professionals, there will be breaks in the seminar when they’ll want to look busy. That’s when they’ll fill out your survey. Different types of events will have different rates of survey returns, but it’s inevitable that a survey in an app is more likely to be returned than a paper survey. 

What if you could get quantitative survey data in real time? You can with the right mobile app. It’s called a live poll. With this information, you can make real-time changes to satisfy your attendees. Changes based on results from live polls are the ultimate way to show your attendees that you’re listening to them.

surveys and live polls

Choosing the Right Survey and Poll Tool

The right survey tool is the one that gathers the information you want in the way you want it. For example, you may want your surveys in a multiple-choice format. The right software can easily turn aggregate multiple-choice answers into graphic representations. But you may also want detailed question-and-answer forms so you can drill down to a deeper understanding of each attendee’s feedback. 

Can a survey and poll tool do everything you want it to do? Does it have an intuitive interface your attendees will find easy to use? If it’s difficult to use, they may accidentally enter feedback they didn’t intend. When that happens, their feedback is useless. 

It’s important that your survey and polling tool integrate with your event planning software. One way to ensure this is to use an all-in-one mobile app, that has a drop-and-drag, no-code builder that makes it easy for anyone to develop an app. It’s even better if your mobile app has a web version for back office administration for sending notifications, customizing information, and viewing graphical reports of event data.

Designing Effective Surveys and Polls

When designing your survey or poll, there are several things to consider, such as:

  • What is your goal with the survey or poll
  • Keeping your questions simple and concise
  • Keep the survey short
  • Craft neutral questions

What are you trying to learn from your survey? Are you trying to determine what attendees think of the app? If so, the types of questions asked will likely differ. For example, a single-answer question allows for multiple answer options to be listed, but you can only choose one answer. While a multiple-choice question could allow for multiple selections.

event surveys and live polls

You want your questions to be straightforward and to the point. You also want to keep your survey short. Respect your attendees’ time. The attendees’ primary reason for coming to the event wasn’t to give you information — it was to learn or to be entertained. But, they appreciate the opportunity to give small amounts of feedback as it shows you’re listening.

Make sure your survey questions don’t lead the attendees to your desired answers. Most people prefer to please others. Also, years of taking tests in school conditioned most people to find the “right answer.” If an attendee infers you want a particular answer, they will choose that answer. Make sure your survey questions give no hint of a preferred answer.

Implementing Surveys and Polls in Your Event App

Live polls on paper are as inefficient as using an abacus instead of a calculator or computer. You’ll have to count each paper survey answer. There usually isn’t time for a prolonged count. But the right event app will automatically count the results for you. 

A presenter could consider a live poll during their presentation to encourage engagement. The presenter would turn the poll on and collect responses from all in the room. And within minutes responses are collected and organized. 

An important advantage of live polling and surveys through an app is that you don’t have to wait until after the event to get feedback. You can push a mid-event survey to attendees in real time through the app. 

Studies show there are important reasons for real-time feedback as opposed to post-event feedback that’s based on reflective memory. Attendees often consider surveys after an event as a request for constructive criticism. People lose the emotion of the moment when answering these post-event surveys. Real-time surveys during the event will capture positive or negative emotions that are essential to a true understanding of attendees’ opinions.

Now that you understand how much an app can do to capture important feedback from attendees, you have yet another thing to add to your to-do list. You need to hire an expensive developer to create a mobile app for you. Are you sure you have the time and money for that? What if we told you that you don’t need the developer? What if we told you there’s an easy way for you to create an app yourself? 

Guidebook provides a no-code, drop-and-drag way to create your own mobile apps for event planning and event management. Surveys and live polls are just two of the many features our apps can provide. See the next section for how easy it is to put a survey and/or poll into your own mobile app.

Creating a Survey or Live Poll With Guidebook

To create a survey, on your Guidebook dashboard from your computer, go to the “Forms and Polls” section. Now click, “Create a Form.” Now you’ll only need to make a few choices about the following aspects of the form: purpose, questions, submission options, and whether to require attendees to be signed in to fill out the survey.

You can place your survey in your app’s main menu. Or, you can create a survey form that’s attached to a particular scheduled event. You can also attach the survey form to a list anywhere else in your app. You choose the most appropriate place for your survey.

Next, you simply choose your questions and question types, including:

  • Multiple-choice
  • Drop-down answers
  • Checkboxes
  • Branching paths, where the survey automatically asks another question based on the answer to the first question
  • Sliding scales where you give a numerical answer by sliding the dot across the line
  • Free responses in text
  • Grids where several questions have the same answer options

Guidebook’s Question Editor allows you further customization options. And, you have options for types of submissions, email notifications, and more. 

Similar to a survey, a live poll gathers feedback. The primary difference is that the live poll gathers real-time information from your audience. To set up a Guidebook live poll, you only need to:

  • Click the Polls and Forms link
  • Choose “Create New”
  • Then select “Live Poll”

Now you attach your poll to a particular session. You can then choose when to start and stop the poll as well as when to start and stop showing the results of the poll.

Getting People to Take Your Survey

Push notifications are a great way to drive traffic to your survey or poll. Once the notification is received, event attendees can fill in their answers easily within the app. You can also place the survey in a prominent spot on your app’s main menu. Placing the survey at the bottom of the menu list could be tempting, but it might not get as many views as the items listed in the top four. So, consider making your surveys highly visible.

Keep your survey short and to the point. You can learn a lot from just a few targeted questions. So, reduce the number of questions on all surveys and keep the question concise too. Make each question quick and easy to read, with straightforward answer options, so those taking the survey can breeze right through it. 

Major events such as SXSW use live polling and surveys in apps to make decisions about future programming and future entertainment. In the image below, you can see an example of the ‘Ask & Vote’ section listed in the menu. This is just one way that events have successfully used surveys and polls in apps.

sxsw live poll and survey


Are you ready to create your own custom-tailored, no-code event apps that have all the features you need — such as surveys and live polls? Talk to our team. We’ll show you how the right app can make your job easier.

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