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The Basics of User Feedback Surveys for Mobile Apps

User satisfaction is one of the biggest variables that will determine if your app will flourish or flop. Given the personal nature of what makes a successful app experience, one of the most effective and efficient ways to learn what your users need is through surveys. In this blog post, we’ll identify the five basics of designing successful surveys to gather actionable user feedback.

User feedback survey goals for mobile apps

Let’s start with identifying goals and motivations.

What do your mobile app users need to have a better experience?

Keep an open mind as you search for the answer to this question. You may think you know what they’ll say, or assume that the answer is A, B, or C. But the answer might not be any of those things. Maybe your users need D. Sometimes you need to ask open-ended questions to discover what you don’t know. Don’t let confirmation bias steer you away from potentially surprising (and enlightening) answers.

What do you need to know in order to give them the experience they want?

Sure, surveys are all about gathering their opinions. But the responses you gather needs to be useful to you. What kind of information is actually going to be useful and actionable? Choose questions for a specific purpose. Focus on one big idea at a time and ask questions that dig right into the heart of the issue (we’ll jump into some examples later on). If you have multiple subjects you want to ask your users about, split them into multiple surveys.

With those considerations in mind, let’s break down the five core elements of a user feedback survey:

  • Where to ask
  • What to ask
  • How to ask
  • Who to ask
  • When to ask

When you reach out to the right people at the right moment and ask them the right questions in the right place, you’re more likely to get more responses to your surveys and more valuable feedback.

Where to ask user feedback surveys for mobile apps

Let's get this one out of the way, first.

The best place to survey your app users is right inside your app. You'll get far more responses than out-of-product surveys like those sent via email or in a web form. You'll also get better quality answers because your surveys will be contextual—ideally, you'll be asking them questions about what they just experienced or did in your app, so it will be fresh in their minds.

What to ask in user feedback surveys for mobile apps

What’s the behavior, feature, or pain point you’re trying to understand? You can choose to isolate one topic for each survey. Are you trying to refine your app’s checkout process? Trying to understand if they’re finding value in a new feature? Making sense of usage habits?

Not only will focusing on one topic keep your survey short and sweet —remember, the longer your survey is, the more likely it is that your respondents will drop off partway through—but it allows you to dig deeper into one idea instead of jumping from topic to topic. A big mountain of statistics is interesting but not the most actionable or direct way to get your research done. Keep it simple and brief for best results.

In-App Surveys NPS Star Rating

How to ask questions in mobile app user feedback surveys

When wording your questions, use language that’s as neutral as possible. Avoid using emotionally charged wording or leading them towards a certain conclusion. Their opinions are subjective, but you’ll only get the real deal if your questions are phrased objectively. If your audience is diverse, localize your surveys to reach more people in their language.

The other part of how to ask is choosing the right format style for your needs. Instabug has three different survey types:

  • Custom surveys: Build your own survey with open-ended text replies, multiple choice answers, and star responses.
  • NPS surveys: How likely are they to recommend your app to a friend or colleague? They’ll answer from 0 to 10. You can then ask detractors how you can improve and promoters to rate you on the app stores.
  • App rating surveys: Ask your users if they're loving your app. If they reply with "Yes," ask them to rate you on the app stores. If they reply with "No," ask them how you can improve.

Who to ask in mobile app user feedback surveys

Which segment(s) will you reach out to? You probably have different groups of users, each with its own needs and priorities. Understand each one better by segmenting them and sending relevant surveys. Instabug offers segmentation options, including custom groups. You can separate your users into groups that make sense for the focus of your survey; for example, you might send questions about your checkout experience only to users who have already successfully made purchases.

When to ask user feedback surveys for mobile apps

Your surveys are only as powerful as your targeting. In addition to choosing the right groups of people, you’ll want to reach out at the right time. You can prime your audience for your survey by choosing event-based targeting, which will trigger your survey at the opportune moment. For example, Tinder asks its users about their app experience right after they’ve made a match. This moment is an emotional high, when they’re feeling good about themselves and the app. Here’s another example: You can send a survey right after your users have completed a specific task, if your survey is related to that particular feature.

Sample questions for mobile app user feedback surveys

Here are some examples to get you started. Feel free to use or adjust any of these examples for your purposes.

Who How What When
New users (signed up during last few days) Open question or multiple choice How did you find out about us? After they complete their first task
Paying users who are NPS promoters Open question Which of our competitors did you consider? Why did you choose us? Soon after they’ve signed up or renewed their subscription
NPS promoters Multiple choice What’s your favorite feature of this app? If user has logged in a few days in a row
Users who updated to latest app version Multiple choice Have you tried [new app feature?] Was it useful? Within a few days of updating
Users who rarely log in App rating How would you rate this app? Next time user logs in
Frequent users W Multiple choice Which feature is least useful to you? After user has completed a task
Users active for over 30 days NPS survey How likely are you to recommend this app to a friend? Why/What could we do better? After app has been open for 5 minutes
User that did not complete checkout process Multiple choice What prevented you from purchasing? After user leaves the shopping cart and returns to home screen
New users Multiple choice How would you rate the navigation in this app? 3 days after downloading/joining
NPS detractors Multiple choice, open question Rate the ease of use of this app/ what could be improved? After user abandons a task
Recently subscribed/upgraded Multiple choice or open question What made you decide to upgrade your subscription Next login after upgrading
Corporate/B2B customers Open question What problem does our app solve for your brand? Display shortly after login

Remember, all these are just examples, and there are so many ways to modify your surveys to suit your brand and needs precisely. Be thoughtful and creative!


There may be a lot of moving parts to an effective survey, but the process is actually pretty simple, especially if you're using a flexible in-app survey tool like Instabug. Getting survey responses is all about asking the right questions at the right times—and if you put yourself in your users’ shoes, it won’t take long for you to optimize your survey and delivery for your audience. Don’t forget to end your surveys with a thank you note, so they know their time and responses are appreciated.

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