real time feedback through surveys
May 2nd, 2024 | 9 min read
  • Measuring Success

Designing Effective Surveys for Marketing Events

One of the challenges of experiential marketing is how to measure success for an event that’s more about brand awareness and perception than sales figures. Success looks different for an experiential event like an activation, pop-up shop, or trade show booth than it does for an email campaign or website analytics. But businesses need similar “hard” data to be able to make decisions about the next event or promotion as well as to set long-range goals. That’s why surveys are one of the most common recommendations from experiential marketing experts.

What Your Brand Can Gain from Surveys

Surveys offer a direct line to attendee thoughts and feelings, providing insights into how your brand is perceived, which activities resonated with attendees, and how satisfied attendees were with the overall event.

“It’s hard to measure how well an event went when you only have your own experience to guide you,” according to a recent blog post. “That’s why event tools like event surveys and event evaluations are critical for measuring attendee satisfaction.” By asking attendees just a few thoughtfully composed questions at different stages in the event’s lifecycle, you can gain access to valuable insights to help you connect with your target audience.

The feedback you gather from surveys is gold, giving you insight into not only the event but also Here are some of the insights and opportunities a survey might deliver:

Perception of your brand: Questions about brand perception can tell you whether the activation effectively conveyed your brand message and values. Did it change attendees’ opinions of or beliefs about your brand? Did it have any impact on brand loyalty?

Engagement level: Were attendees bored or engaged? What activities resonated most with them? Which activities do they most vividly remember?

Overall satisfaction: How satisfied were attendees with the event overall? Overall satisfaction is important, and should be one of the first questions you ask, but “you can also ask participants to rate specific things including the venue, date, speakers, vendors, catering … and more,” suggests a blog post on Hubspot.

Ideas for future events: Feedback from surveys can help you understand what worked and what didn’t, so you can make data-driven decisions to improve future activations.

Areas for improvement: No activation is perfect. “By tracking what audiences don’t like, you can then improve and iterate future events so people don’t have those barriers about attending your next event,” Hubspot notes.

Connection with attendees: Conducting a survey communicates to attendees that you care what they think. This builds trust with a group of prospective customers who were curious enough about your brand to attend your event. Even if they don’t complete the survey, your sincere request for their opinions makes a positive impression.

The Where and When: Integrating Surveys into Your Event

Surveys for an experiential event like an activation, pop-up, or trade show booth most often occur in one of two phases:

At the Event: On-Site Surveys

On-site surveys can be administered as attendees leave your event (aka “exit surveys”) or can be offered mid-stream, as they move through the event.

Surveys can be seamlessly integrated into your activation by using QR codes or tablets placed strategically throughout the space, or by using chat-based technology to ask questions and collect answers on the fly. These surveys can interact with attendees at key points in their journey, and also “engage participants in the moment, on their mobile devices, to understand first impressions, emotional connectedness and cultural relevance,” notes an article on

Exit surveys are typically handled by street team members, who intercept attendees as they leave to ask a brief series of questions. This can feel awkward, but offering some incentive for participation, such as a coupon or gift card, can ease the interaction and get more respondents.

Another approach: Limit on-site surveys to members of your team. Surveys given immediately after the event — minutes or hours, not days — can gather event staff and managers’ clearest recollections of how the event went. “Ask your staff for ways that you can improve future events, things they found successful at this event, and any comments they received from customers,” suggests an article on

meati mobile focus group

Social media offers another excellent way to collect data on your attendees’ experiences — provided you lay the groundwork by posting hashtags and QR codes throughout the event space and on printed materials. Ask event staff to take photos and videos of the event, then post to social media and tag people. Persuade attendees to follow your social media accounts and post about the event by offering giveaways, samples, and access to exclusive content or products. “By doing so, you’re creatively collecting first-party data — you’ll gain insight into your audience demographics, interests, and lifestyles to better tailor your marketing,” notes You’ll also gather contact information for participants, which you can use to reach out with your post-event surveys.

After the Event: Post-Event Surveys

Post-event surveys conducted in the weeks or months after an event are a great way to measure the impact of experiential marketing events like activations, trade show booths, and pop-up shops. After all, says, “It’s hard to measure how well an event went when you only have your own experience to guide you. That’s why event tools like event surveys and evaluations are critical for measuring attendee satisfaction.”

The benefits of a well-constructed survey go beyond gauging attendee satisfaction with the actual event. By contacting attendees later, you can understand the event’s “residual impact on their subsequent behavior and brand equity,” notes

“Being able to say ‘X% of consumers actually purchased a product three months after experiencing our event’ seems like you’ve won the proverbial golden ticket,” says an article on

When to Do a Post-Event Survey

Post-event surveys aren’t a perfect fit for every event. “When you are wondering whether a post-event survey is appropriate for your campaign, consider four things,” cautions “The size of your campaign, your ability to offer incentives, the timeframe within which you expect to see an impact, and the length of time you expect the event to continue to have an impact.”

Keep in mind that response rates for post-event surveys tend to be low — around 5% — so if your attendance was low to begin with, the survey might not be worth the effort. Incentives, notes, are a great way to bring up the response rates, sometimes all the way up to 10%. The incentive can come in the form of a gift card, a product sample, or a nice swag item, or you can offer a drawing for a more expensive prize.

Timing of the post-event survey is important — anywhere from a few days to one to three months post-event is recommended. “Time can erode recall and reduce willingness to participate,” notes.

Post-event surveys can be delivered by mail, phone, email, or social media, depending on what contact information you collected on event attendees and the types of questions you plan to ask.

Creating the Survey

The internet is flush with survey-giving advice, including lists of survey questions for every occasion, and there are probably a great many things you’d like to ask attendees. For the greatest success, however, focus your survey on questions that help you evaluate the activation or pop-up according to your definition of success for the event. Here are some tips for writing your brand’s post-event survey:

Keep it short: A blog post on cites a study that showed 80% of consumers will abandon a survey halfway through, and more than half said they’d spend no more than three minutes completing a survey. That means that if you ask more than 5 to 10 questions, there’s a good chance many attendees won’t stick around to answer them.

Mix it up: Vary the type of questions you ask — yes/no, multiple choice, numerical ratings, Likert scale, and open ended are all good choices. Include a few different types of questions to get a richer array of information and keep attendees’ attention. Multiple choice questions take the least time for attendees to answer, says, plus they are easier to evaluate because they produce numerical data. Open-ended questions do require more thought and effort from attendees, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum, but often the really good information is in those “essay” responses.
Take it online: Make survey construction and data collection easy for your team by using one of the myriad online survey tools like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, Alchemer, or SurveyPlanet. Good survey software will collect and analyze the data for you and make it easy to download and share with your team.

Keep it simple: Make your survey questions clear, short, and to the point. Use language attendees will understand rather than technical jargon or industry-specific terms. “Questions that mess with your attendees’ brains for a long time will not be of benefit to you,” notes.

Be strategic in your questions: Have a clear purpose in mind for every question you include. Ask event-specific questions as well as brand-specific ones. Ask about their perception of your brand, and include some optional demographic questions if you believe it will help you understand and segment the results. Spend some time arranging the questions so they flow naturally from beginning to end; a good approach is to start with an “easy” question like “how did you find out about the event?” and move from there in an order that makes logical sense.

Be friendly, welcoming, and transparent: In addition to offering an incentive for completing the survey and thanking participants for their time, be clear about how you intend to use the information — to improve future events and product designs, for example. Provide contact information such as email or a phone number for participants who have questions or want to discuss their experience.


Incorporating surveys into your brand activation strategy is a smart way to gather valuable insights and ensure your efforts resonate with your target audience.  By understanding their experience, you can continuously improve and create truly impactful brand activations.



Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.