Audience Response System

Get the audience feedback you need to create unforgettable in-person and virtual events.

What is an Audience Response System?

An audience response system (or ARS) gives presenters the invaluable ability to collect responses, feedback, input, and other data from anywhere in the world. This means if you’re in the United States but your audience is scattered around the world, you can use an audience engagement platform to effectively engage and interact with audiences of all kinds.

An audience response system is just as effective for in-person audiences. Whether you’re conducting a lecture, a training session, a class, a meeting, or any other gathering with an audience, the features you get with an audience response platform will help you make that event truly unforgettable. You can ask important questions, have your audience ask you questions, or use a response system to conduct polls, games, Q&As, quizzes, and more.

Audience response systems for events can involve a number of tools and features depending on the platform you choose. There are several different ways to interact with an audience, and depending on the nature of your event and the approach you plan to take, some of these ARS features might be more effective than others.

With this type of audience polling, you collect audience answers online where your audience votes. You can share a URL to your site with an embedded poll, or give them the URL to a designated poll web page directly through the Swift Polling platform. This interactive audience response system is a great choice if your audience is tuning in from a computer or a smartphone, or if audience members have these devices in front of them during an in-person presentation.

You can also ask an audience to send in their responses via SMS voting and collect responses quickly and effectively. Rather than relying on an internet connection to vote, this approach just requires your audience members to have a mobile phone with texting capability. They will submit their vote via SMS, and the results will be calculated on your Swift Polling dashboard. If you have a big television audience, SMS voting can be helpful for boosting response rates. Enabling SMS text responses increases the likelihood that more audience members will be able to participate because they don’t need to rely on an internet connection to do so.

What makes some events stand out over others? Often, it comes down to how well the presenters engage with their audience. Throughout the course of your presentation, if you put audience response software to work for you, you can bet your audience will be more engaged and interested in your presentation or event. That’s why audience response systems are used in business, continuing medical education, meetings, and all kinds of events in different industries. Attendees are encouraged to pay attention when their input is requested, which is why audience participation rates skyrocket with the help of an audience response system.

If you want to quiz your audience to break the ice or to determine their current level of understanding, an audience response system is the way to go! You can ask your audience as many questions as you would like and collect audience reactions in real-time. Presenters can also choose to enable multiple choice quizzes, or opt for open-ended questions. It’s also up to you if you want to create a single question to quickly gauge the level of understanding on a particular topic, or if you want to launch several questions for a more comprehensive quiz. Your participants could be students, event attendees, employees, a television audience, or any other group of people you present to.

There’s nothing worse than sitting through a long presentation with a burning question on your mind and never being given the chance to ask it! Don’t let this happen to your own audience. With the help of an audience response system, it’s easier than ever for your audience to submit their questions. Not to mention, audience polling makes it easier to collect these questions without disrupting the course of the presentation. Duplicate questions can be weeded out, as can inappropriate or offensive questions. If a presenter doesn’t have a chance to answer every question throughout their presentation, ARS also lets you export these questions to use later on and make sure an answer is provided for each one.

Why Use Audience Response Technology?

In today’s digital world, businesses and groups of all kinds are looking for innovative solutions to interact and engage with attendees, employees, students, and every other kind of audience you can imagine. Luckily, audience response systems provide that solution in an incredibly straightforward way. Audience response technology, including clickers and computers have been around for decades now. As time has gone on, updated audience response equipment has made it easier than ever to ask an audience questions, collect their feedback, and get their input. Today, smartphones and their built-in computer systems make ARS more accessible than ever. Meeting attendees can participate in a poll or quiz from the comfort of their mobile device, and the same goes for television audiences around the world—the options are truly limitless! Virtually any group of people anywhere in the world can take part in polls if they have either a mobile device, a computer with internet connectivity, or a smartphone.

Ways to Use Audience Response Technology

Web-based audience response software has come a long way in recent years, and now there are more ways to use audience response systems than anyone thought possible.

Whether your audience is sitting feet away from you or they are tuning in from around the world, you can use an audience response system and its electronic voting and polling tools to ask them a single question, several questions, multiple choice questions, or ask for their open-ended feedback.

Do you want to find out how your audience, students, or team enjoyed your latest presentation? Whether it’s this kind of feedback you are seeking from participants or any other kind of responses, an audience response system is the best way to collect feedback and assess the success of an event, meeting, or initiative. You can even include a poll or questionnaire directly in a PowerPoint presentation. This saves you and your audience from navigating away from the main screen during a PowerPoint presentation when you can ask a question directly on-screen and collect answers just as easily. Swift Polling has a powerful plug-in for PowerPoint presentations that lets you embed your question (or questions) directly into your PowerPoint screen.

Finding out what your audience thought of an event is a useful tool to collect the feedback you need to make sure the next event is even better. An audience response system can be used to deploy web surveys, a Q&A, or request other forms of feedback from your participants. You can ask them to rate certain aspects of the event on a scale, have them choose from a set of multiple choice answers, or ask open-ended questions where they can freely share their thoughts. In addition to utilizing an audience response system after an event, they can be just as effective if you use them before an event. Leading up to an event, you can use audience response systems to find out what your audience expects from the event. You can ask what they hope to come away with, what they want to learn, and anything else that will help you create better meetings and events.

It could be a group of junior high students you are teaching math to or a group of adults whose participation was requested at a training event. No matter what, an audience response system is an incredibly useful tool for engaging students of all ages and types. Students can participate from different devices depending on the solutions your chosen audience response provides, including from a mobile device, smartphone, or a computer. Not to mention, any lecture that includes live surveys or other types of audience response software, is more likely to be enjoyed by the people attending it!

Did you know vendors use ARS software all the time to help understand what their customers want and build their business at the same time? Finding out what consumers really want is a critical step in any market research plan. Once you have an accurate idea of what consumers (AKA, your audience) really want, you can use their feedback to create irresistible offerings.

Let’s say your audience is tuning into a live television event and you want to boost participation and engagement as much as possible. One surefire method for doing this is utilizing ARS software in the form of a game! You can call on your audience to vote or share feedback through the help of a fun game. Not only are they more likely to want to participate if it’s fun to do so, but this also helps your event stand out for all of the right reasons. Your audience can tune in from your website, from the Swift Polling website with an event code, or on their mobile devices. To up the stakes, you can even share a real-time results leaderboard with your audience and use it to encourage a friendly sense of competition.

Back to that friendly sense of competition—did you know ARS software can also help with team building activities? Group your audience into teams and have them compete against one another by answering questions using an audience response system. Your results dashboard can be shared with the teams to drive the sense of competition even further. The team that answers the most questions right will love seeing their results at the top of the leaders dashboard, and you can even choose to offer that team a prize for winning. Or, to encourage participation among all participants, you can offer prizes to random participants as long as they submit a response.

If you need to collect information for case studies, an audience response system is an awesome tool for doing just that. You can ask a crowd any number of questions, and use these results directly within your case study. Choose to embed a poll for a case study on your website, in an email, a PowerPoint presentation, or another platform of your choice. Depending on the results you collect, you can choose to display the results in a list, a bar chart, a word cloud, or a number of other graphical representations.

Make your next event the best yet
with Swift Polling.

Who Uses Audience Response Systems?

An audience response system can be utilized in every industry you can imagine. As the technology and software advances, web-based audience response systems continue to be more accessible and beneficial in learning, entertainment, and research arenas.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of the industries who rely on the Swift Polling website and software every single day:



Local governments

Schools and universities


Live events


Medical training facilities

Market research companies

Consultants and professional facilitators

Multi-location organizations

Make your next event the best yet
with Swift Polling.