Market research has proven to be the most crucial weapon in the product life-cycle. From the product’s birth to its last breath, it’s the people’s opinion that shapes its fate. Market research through a survey panel has become a common avenue for marketers and product managers, but just like everything else, people’s opinions come with a cost of survey panel incentives.
In today’s time, panel surveys are mostly online as companies get a better response on digital surveys by keeping them crisp, concise, and to the point. The panel survey brings valuable inputs that are seriously taken into consideration for product innovation, brand growth, and a direct connection with the end-users.
But what motivates a panelist to fill out a survey? Not every consumer, let alone a random panelist takes a survey for the sake of giving feedback. The not-so-secret motivator is incentives for survey participation that are well crafted instant rewards.
Incentivizing activities like surveys, polls, feedback, and experiences has a psychological reason behind it-- just like every other act of incentive, which is a crucial tool for people engagement. The kid gets a lollipop after the dentist’s visit, employees get paid to work, and customers get panel incentives to share their experience which they probably wouldn’t for the sake of intrinsic motivation.
There are five and a half million unique respondents available via panels for surveys in the USA.
Every FMCG product has a feedback hotline number on its label-- how many of us have called it up and gave our honest feedback? Well, only if we had a bad experience. The essence of true user feedback lies in getting the right response to asking the right questions. Survey panel incentives give the survey-takers a drive to answer questions honestly and seriously.
To show for its seriousness, the survey panel rewards vary in monetary amounts in accordance with their need. For instance, a survey for life-saving drugs, which has doctors and practitioners as the target audience, would have a bigger bounty. While a survey for what brand of candy is better than the rest might have a lower incentive cap per respondent.
It’s a classic case of inheriting what rightfully wasn’t yours. In the pursuit to answer the question “how to increase survey participants”, plenty of incentives are offered. Respondents come across a survey offering a $50 Amazon Gift Card and they don’t care what the survey is about-- they fill it up, claim the gift card and move away. Does that justify our exhaustion of time, money, and efforts? No way!
The lust of gift cards, points, and incentives might attract the wrong audience.
Sure, panel surveys have the potential to get the right response, but survey incentives are no less than a ticking time bomb if not utilized right. If you’re not careful, your incentive can attract the opinions of the wrong population (or group of respondents). Respondents who are only in it for the incentive may also hurry through your survey instead of giving thoughtful responses.
This doesn’t mean incentives are not the way to go, however. Survey incentives increase consumer satisfaction scores and build the value of feedback in the consumers’ minds.
70% of US and UK consumers expect some form of personalization from the brands they buy from.
To make it clear, survey panel incentives have to be rewarded to respondents in cases where extrinsic motivation is needed. This is generally a case in daily use products and services. Meanwhile, as for the early-adopter surveys or product feedback surveys done online (ex. Amazon product reviews), there might be a case wherein the user feedback flows without exhausting monetary resources as incentives.
Speaking of sweepstakes, let’s look at two best reward systems for survey panel incentives: the points-based system and of course, sweepstakes.
Let’s have a look at both of them:
For instance, Xoxoday Plum makes it easy to fully automate rewards by setting up logic to reward panel members after they achieve a predetermined number of points. The cherry on top? Our catalog is as big as it gets so that your survey panel keeps giving their honest input for those Xoxopoints.
Xoxoday Plum’s integration with SurveyMonkey, SurveySparrow, and plenty of other excellent survey platforms makes it a perfect companion for a market research incentive program.
Most market research companies adopt a two-way approach, wherein along with point-based surveys, there are yearly/quarterly sweepstakes to keep the panelists engaged. Because after all, the human psyche doesn’t fail to do its thing!
Sure, in this materialistic world, every person wants something in exchange, but your survey panel doesn’t need an incentive to work things out.
Incentives would have almost zero effect on the quality of responses if the target audience is just right.
In some cases, such as customer satisfaction surveys, wherein every buyer gets a seat on the panel, does more harm than good. Most consumers would provide positive feedback rather than honest feedback to cop the incentive. It’s best to skip the survey panel incentives and put those funds for better use, which can be a followup survey from panelists who provided an inquisitive opinion.
70% of people surveyed want cash, points, or gift cards.
Panel surveys are about reaching out to the right audience and using their opinion for betterment. But in reality, the incentive-factor attracts lots of unwanted respondents which deludes the activity’s path. Hence, it’s crucial to strike the balance between offering good incentives to the panel in exchange for valuable opinions. The question is, what survey panel incentive strategy are you going to use in your next market research?