Survey incentives

Survey incentives definition

Survey incentives are actually not much different from any other kind of incentive. They are reasons, monetary or non-monetary, physical or emotional that drive or motivate people to fill in your survey. In other words, they would boost survey response rate.

The effect of incentives has been subject to a lot of research, most would agree that incentives have a positive effect. The average increase in response rates when offering incentives was 19.1 percent for monetary and 7.9 percent for non-monetary rewards. Incentives don’t have to be expensive to increase response rates.

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Basically, the participant is more likely to participate in the rewards of participation outweigh the cost of time and effort he has to put in. Having a grand prize often works, but note that larger monetary incentives tend:

  • to produce comments that were more favorable toward the survey sponsor. Especially the second result is interesting because giving too big of an incentive will return more positive answers, which may cause a biased result.
  • to produce a greater degree of effort put in completing the questionnaires, as measured by the number of short answers and comments provided, and the number of words written.

Make sure everybody gets something. If it's not the grand prize, be sure there's a cheaper alternative, so they don't go home empty-handed.

Use gamified elements such as a scratch card or slot machine to increase interactivity.

scratch card example

Ideas of incentives you can use in your survey

  • Use gamified elements such as a scratch card or slot machine to increase interactivity.
  • Offer a money-off coupon on completion of the survey
  • Give respondents a small physical incentive – consider sending this in advance of the survey, which can be more effective than promising to send something after completing the survey
  • Send respondents a product sample (if you’re that kind of company!)
  • Company branded goods

Things to consider when deciding whether to use survey incentives

  • Your budget! If you’re running on a low budget, consider incentives that cost little or no money but are still appealing to respondents, such as money off a future purchase.
  • Think carefully about the type of incentive that would appeal to your audience. Try and think of something that will appeal across the board and not just to a select group.
  • Test out whether your incentive actually has the desired effect. Try offering an incentive to one group and no incentive, or something different to another group to figure out what is your best course of action.
  • How often do you survey your respondents – do you really want to get into the habit of offering an incentive if you survey your audience on a regular basis?
  • If respondents are answering anonymously, think about how you will reward them. You could ask them to show you a screenshot of the survey completion page as proof that they completed the survey.
  • If you decide to go down the incentives route, make sure you have a way to ensure that respondents can only answer the survey once. Use Survey Anyplace’s limit responses feature to do this.

Get started with Survey Anyplace today! Log in and create your first assessment.

Vincent is the author of this solution article.

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