How to Incentivize Survey Responses for Improved Participation

Louise Principe
May 23, 2022

How to Incentivize Survey Responses Properly

Conducting surveys is one thing, but getting someone to answer them is another. With how busy people are in today’s digital world, time has become a valuable commodity. Drawing interest to a survey is difficult unless people genuinely care about your topic or if there’s a tangible benefit involved for their time and effort.

In business and market research, offering incentives to survey takers is no longer an option but a necessity. Incentivizing survey responses increases the likelihood of submissions by up to 30%, making it mutually beneficial for both participants and researchers. Additionally, using an online platform that could gather the right respondents and handle incentives can accumulate more completes in a shorter amount of time.

This article will discuss how to incentivize survey responses and the different kinds you can use to gather the maximum number of submissions for your survey project.

What is a Survey Incentive?

As the name suggests, a survey incentive encourages your target audience to fill in a survey questionnaire. Each completed response is rewarded with incentives such as cash or ‘points’ that could be later exchanged for gifts. Incentives can vary in nature, but they typically come under three main categories – monetary, non-monetary, and randomized.

Monetary incentives 

This type of incentive is simple but highly effective. Currency-based incentives tend to increase participation rates the most compared to their non-monetary counterparts. And while there is no ideal amount for cash rewards, there are three things that you should take into account when determining the kind of monetary incentive you should offer and what its value should be:

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Depending on your target audience, the value of your incentives could fluctuate. For example, you’ll typically want to pay a higher amount to busy professionals (e.g.,  doctors, lawyers, executives) that are less likely to respond for them to take the time to complete your survey.

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It’s essential to identify how large or small your survey budget is to allocate funds for incentives accordingly.

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Ensure that the monetary reward you are offering is proportional to the time or effort it takes to complete your survey. For example, you could reward students $1-$10 to complete a five-minute survey questionnaire.

Cash: These incentives can be directly deposited to a bank account or sent through a digital payment system (e.g., Venmo, Cash App, PayPal).

Gift Cards and Coupons: These rewards can either be redeemed at the client’s business or any other popular retailer within the target market. Respondents can use these gift cards to buy items in-store, while coupons can be used to get discounts.

Checks/Money Orders: Such incentives require a personal address to be sent, which can be particularly useful when needing proof of residence from your respondents.

Donations: When respondents complete your survey, money is sent to charities or worthy causes. This approach involves selecting a benefactor that relates to your industry and is recognized by your audience.

Non-monetary incentives

These are non-cash offerings offered to eligible participants that complete your survey. Non-monetary incentives are suitable for both B2B and B2C brands – opening up the door for more diverse incentives. Even though this is cost-effective, it does require additional research on what respondents find valuable enough to motivate them to participate.

Sample Products: Distributing testers of your products to survey takers helps save money and resources while helping you gain important consumer data.

Trial Subscriptions: Offering a trial to your respondents allows them to test a service for a limited time. This type of incentive can be provided by businesses such as publications, gyms, and streaming platforms.

Loyalty Programs: These programs give participants loyalty points when they complete a survey, which is then used to earn freebies or perks. The main advantage of this incentive is that it could also help respondents gain interest in your brand.

Company Literature: This approach is ideal for B2B respondents keen to learn more about a particular discipline that your brand offers. Some examples of company literature include white papers, reports, and webinars.

Randomized incentives 

When incentivizing survey responses, you don’t have to be constrained to one of the categories above. In your study, it is possible to offer monetary and non-monetary incentives at random. This method of randomizing incentive distribution is useful when distributing surveys across different segments since certain respondents may prefer one incentive over another.

Raffles: This approach has a similar concept to a lottery, wherein respondents enter a draw for a chance to win a prize. This prize could either be monetary or non-monetary in nature, but it has to be something worthwhile for people to be interested in answering your survey. For example, you could offer $200 in cash or free concert tickets.

Giveaways: A giveaway assures that every respondent will receive an incentive for their feedback. The only question is what that incentive will be. This is determined through a draw, wherein respondents will pick their prize at random after finishing their survey.

Games: After the survey, respondents participate in a game for the opportunity to win a prize. This fun and creative approach is ideal for respondents looking for something more than just receiving an incentive.

The Risks

While survey incentives may seem like a no-brainer, it is still wise to be mindful of the risks involved when offering these rewards, such as survey fraud and biased respondents.

Your survey’s promise of an incentive can attract nefarious individuals to your study. These respondents are only in it for the reward and won’t give you thoughtful and accurate answers. To filter out disingenuous submissions, researchers can employ an online recruitment platform. This ensures that your incentives are only going out to the right people.

In learning how to incentivize survey responses, it’s also vital to understand what appeals to your target audience and what they find valuable. Including the wrong kind of reward could result in an incredibly biased group of respondents and skewed data.

Trust CiviSelect™ to Handle Your Incentives 

Leave your incentives to us so that you can focus more on your study. Civicom’s dedicated respondent recruitment platform has the ability to suggest appropriate payment amounts as well as distribute and track survey incentives to ensure that everyone is rewarded for their time and effort.

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