Boosting survey response rates is a priority for many researchers and organizations, as higher participation can lead to more accurate and comprehensive results. One proven way to achieve this is by offering survey incentives.
But what types of incentives are the most effective?
Notably, an NCBI report highlighted that in 49 studies, survey questionnaires delivered to consumers with monetary incentives garnered double the response. Additionally, research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine reinforces this by indicating that the mere presence of an incentive can enhance the completion probability by 30%.
With this evidence, the importance of survey incentives is undeniable.
Survey incentives are used to attract more survey takers from the market. Considering that, we will discuss 10 of the most impactful survey incentive ideas to improve survey response rates.
10 Survey incentives ideas for higher response rates
Here are 10 incentive ideas that you can use to attract more real time customers from the market to take surveys for your company or brand:
1. Gift cards
One of the best ways to get people from the market to engage with a brand or company is to offer them gift cards. Most of us, as customers, are familiar with gift cards that are provided at the end of a few questions that pop up online. This is one of the most common ways to collect customer data such as:
- Demographic details
- Likes and dislikes of the brand
- Brand image details
Using a gift card, surveys can invite more people to give out these details and in the end, they can receive a gift card via email or SMS. Not only do you now have powerful market data, but also customer information that can be used for marketing your product or service.
For example: Amazon often offers gift cards to participants who complete their surveys. By providing a monetary incentive, they make it more compelling for participants to spend a few minutes giving feedback. This approach is especially effective because gift cards are versatile and appeal to a broad audience.
2. Cash prizes
Cash prizes are also a great way to attract customers and people from the market to take a survey.
If you are a brand or a company that is looking for customers to take a longer than usual survey, it might be challenging to get the required number of sample sizes to take the survey. But with a promise of a cash prize, customers can be easily attracted to take the quiz.
Cash prizes can vary from a few tens of dollars or even a surprise offer of a scratch card or a bumper cash prize that can be as high as hundreds of dollars. Some easy easy to attach a cash incentive to surveys are:
- Scratch card offers with a surprise cash prize
- Bumper cash prize
- Fixed cash incentive
For example: Swagbucks is a global online survey platform that provides cash prizes to survey takers as an incentive. Users also get a sign up bonus.
Another example is Pepsi: Pepsi has previously run promotional campaigns where participants can win cash prizes by entering codes from purchased products and completing associated surveys. The promise of cash can be a powerful motivator, as it offers a universally appealing reward.
3. Exclusive content
Exclusive content refers to special product features or exclusive access to events, product launches or services that can be shared with customers who take up the surveys.
For companies who are into larger products and services such as softwares, retail products, IT, banking or any other such industries - these companies can offer exclusive products, features or special content access that can be provided to those who take up these surveys. This works best for companies in the service industry.
- Provide exclusive access to new products
- Get special edition products or features
- Subscribe to services/ special access services with no cost
For example: Apple is a classic example that uses surveys to get feedback from customers and provides users with early access, privileged features and services at the Apple stores.
Another example is Netflix: Netflix could run a survey among its subscribers and offer them an exclusive preview of an upcoming original series or a behind-the-scenes look at a popular show as a thank-you for their participation. This would not only incentivize users with unique content but also create buzz for the new show.
4. Discounts and coupons
Surveys can also come with discounts and coupons that are attached to a survey form. At the end of the form, the customer can avail a discount code or a coupon that they can use online or in store to get off on any product or service that they might be willing to buy.
Companies and brands use this discount or coupon format the most as customers can be provided with 5 percent to even 50 percent discount codes. Coupons can also be either sent online or using physical vouchers that can be redeemed online or offline for either an off or for additional products or services.
For example: RetailMeNot is an excellent platform that offers great survey incentives in the form of discounts, coupons, BOGO codes and other sample gifts for taking surveys with them.
Another example is Gap: Gap often sends out post-purchase surveys to their customers. Those who complete the survey may receive a coupon code for a discount off their next purchase. This serves the dual purpose of incentivizing feedback and encouraging a subsequent purchase.
5. Prize draw
Prize draw is a great way to engage customers in a contest form that gives them a chance to interact with the brand. Companies can announce an offer where customers are expected to fill out a survey form and they are automatically enrolled in a prize draw using their unique email ID or phone number.
Brands can push their products or services in this prize draw by offering free products, services or providing other goodies with branding that helps foster a relationship between the company and the brand. Using this method, customer information can easily be collected and this database can be used for future email or phone marketing efforts.
For example: Opinion outpost is a platform that conducts a monthly draw that pays out cash prizes, vouchers and other attractive incentives on a lucky draw basis for survey takers.
Another example is Samsung: Samsung might launch a new phone and seek feedback on its features or user interface. To encourage participation, they could enter all respondents into a prize draw for a chance to win the latest model or another high-end Samsung gadget.
6. Charitable donations
Asking customers to fill out surveys using which companies will participate in charitable donations can be an empathetic way to increase customer engagement. Customers who are not into cash or incentive linked activities or rewards, are those who are less materialistic and therefore need a more emotional, empathetic connection. Such customers can be moved using a linked charity donation or a social cause to which the company can offer support.
- Brands can sign up NGOs or other social cause
- Companies can offer a charitable donation amount or partake in a campaign/ event
- Each survey completed can be linked to a donation that will be made in the favor
- Customers can be urged to spread the word to increase the donation and therefore for more survey forms to be filled.
For example: Toluna Influencers is a platform that helps survey takers donate for a cause by tying up with them and for every survey a user takes, a portion of charity is made to it. Charities that are available can be viewed on the basis of cause and location for users choice.
Another example is TOMS which is known for its charitable endeavors, TOMS could encourage survey participation by offering to make a small donation for every completed survey. This aligns with the brand's ethos and appeals to the socially conscious values of its customer base.
7. Product samples
Surveys can also be linked to free samples. This is a great marketing effort to spread the word and make customers feel and use the product or service. A hands- on experience can be a great way to make customers try out your products. If the customer likes the product, they are sure to buy more and recommend the same to their friends and family.
- Companies can sign up for sample size products for distribution
- Develop survey forms and offer samples as free gifts to those who fill out the form
- Samples can also be sent to their postal address which helps brands collect location
- Once the customer receives the sample, brands can ask for feedback and offer further discount on purchases
For example: This method is mostly used in stores. Brands like Sephora and Yves Rocher provide free samples for customers when they take surveys with them.
Another example is L'Oréal: Cosmetic companies like L'Oréal often have new products in development. To get initial feedback, they could send out surveys to their customer base and offer free product samples in return for completed responses. This allows customers to try out new products, and it gives the company early-stage feedback.
8. Personalized reports
This is a more sophisticated reward and speaks to a smaller category of specialized sample size. If your company is seeking specialized input from a set number of professionals in the industry, then one of the best perks or regards you can provide as an incentive for taking surveys is a personalized report.
As a professional or someone keen on a specific market or industry, a personalized report can mean a lot as a reward.
These reports can be in the form of an e-book, whitepapers, case report or physical copies of industry reports. The company can make it brand focussed by including brand copy as this helps in promoting the company image and allows for sharing insights with privileged customers.
9. Early access
Early access to products or services that are yet to be released and choosing participants as a small sample size by means of filling out survey forms is a great tool to interact with customers.
Not only do the customers feel special and privileged to be a part of a small sample size of customers who get to see and purchase the product or service much earlier than the others, it is a great motivation to fill out surveys.
Companies who are into IT, telecommunication, software/hardware, FMCG, retail or fashion can all benefit from this survey incentive form. Early access is a great way to get customers to fill out forms in anticipation of being the first ones who would be able to use and buy the product or service. At the end of the survey, a special access passcode or invite can be sent over email or postal address to make it feel more personal.
For example: Spotify has occasionally sought feedback from its user base regarding new features or user experience elements. In return for participating in these surveys, they might offer users early access to new features or exclusive playlists.
This approach leverages the brand's unique offerings to entice their most loyal customers, those who would value such exclusive content or first-look opportunities.
10. Recognition and publicity
One of the lesser used methods for incentivizing surveys are recognitions or publicity for taking up the survey. Many smaller companies who have small budgets for their survey incentives can certainly use this ego boosting form of non-monetary incentive.
In this method, the company offers a non physical form of reward such as appreciation, a social media post, a badge that can be added or displayed or a public show of appreciation using company page/ social media/ or digital ads for all the customers who take part in the survey.
Those who are not into monetary rewards but find joy in personalized appreciation that is unique and creative can find this to be an attractive reward or incentive for filling out a survey. It also helps spread the word and therefore, increase the survey response rate.
For example: Starbucks introduced a recognition-driven approach to boost their survey response rate. Through the "Starbucks Star Reviewer" program, participants were featured on Starbucks' platforms and had a chance to influence new drink creations.
This strategy resulted in a surge in survey participation at a lower cost compared to traditional incentives. The initiative highlighted the power of recognizing customer feedback in strengthening brand loyalty.
From a customer's point of view, a survey is something that takes up their time, is a tedious task and requires customers to fill out information pertaining to their personal details, likes and dislikes etc. All of these reasons can contribute to them not being interested in filling out survey forms.
This is where a good survey incentive should come in. An attractive survey incentive can attract prospective customers from the market to engage with the company by sharing information using survey forms. These surveys can be about product, service, brand offerings, brand image or general market information.
The 10 survey incentives listed above can be a great way to attract more customers to take your company's survey online or offline and help gather important market information that is most likely the best way to create and design products just the way customers want them.