Do Incentives Improve Survey Response Rate?

Experiencing low response rates? Having trouble gathering respondents? Or maybe you’re looking for techniques to constantly have people respond to your survey. Along with the many ways to boost your survey responses, there is something called survey incentives. If you’re wondering “do incentives improve the survey response rate?”, the answer is yes, they do. However, they only work if you execute them properly. Because most of the time, giving out survey incentives will only result in biased answers. Which will only be a waste of your time, effort, and sometimes, your money — and you wouldn’t want that.

So if you’re looking to execute this type of survey, it’s important that you do your research. There are a number of factors you need to consider and things to keep in mind. Luckily, we’ve created a simple and handy guide for you. Keep reading to learn more!

What is a survey incentive?

What is a survey incentive?


Before we begin, let’s start with what is an incentive in surveys. Incentives are what you reward your respondents in exchange for completing or answering your survey. These can be either cash, points, or rewards. Incentives do not only give you a boost in your response rates, but it also serves as a great way to engage with your respondents — a way of saying thank you for the time they gave in answering your survey.

And who wouldn’t want that? Incentives are an easy way to attract respondents. But because it is so easy, it also has its drawbacks. If you’re not careful enough, you will end up attracting the wrong respondents — ones who are only in it for the incentives. Which will result in unthoughtful, rushed, and biased responses.

Below, you will read about the different types of survey incentives, and when you should use them. Putting all of these together will find the right method in accomplishing a survey with an incentive.

Types of survey incentives

There are two forms of incentives — monetary incentives and non-monetary incentives. Monetary incentives are incentives with a money value like cash, checks, coupons, gift certificates, and the like. On the other hand, non-monetary incentives come in gifts and promotional items, like a free mug or a notebook.

Monetary Incentives

Monetary incentives

Monetary incentives are incredibly effective, especially when the value is high. To help you get the most out of your money, here are some things you should keep in mind:

Your survey incentive budget — how much are you willing to spend?
How you will provide the incentive
Your target market — make sure you’ve researched this thoroughly

For example, you’re going to execute a monetary incentive. Your target market is veterinarians. How will you go about this? You’ll want to go with a higher incentive value because these are on-the-go individuals. You need to offer a certain value that is high enough to make it worth their time to answer.

Non-Monetary Incentives

Now, if you’ve decided to go with a non-monetary incentive, you need to think about what you are providing. It is best if your incentive has a general appeal to your target market.

For example, you are hosting a feedback survey regarding a dog exhibit. Your target market is dog-owners and aspiring dog-owners. Offering dog leashes might not be the best idea since you might get too many dog-owners to respond, and not enough of the latter. Instead, you might want to think about incentives that they can both use such as notebooks with dog designs or dog keychains.

When Should You Utilize Incentives

Now that you know the types of incentives, knowing when to use them is crucial. While these can help with response rates, they may only result in biased answers and attract those who are only after the prize.

Another thing you could think of is if your survey REALLY needs an incentive. There are times when you can just use your budget in investing in a better survey tool instead — maybe your survey tool isn’t as effective in giving you great data.

Having a niche (or a very specific type of population or market) is a situation where incentives come in handy. Because this way, you are getting the exact data that you want, and they’ll be receiving something in return. It’s a win-win situation.

Incentives are also beneficial for those respondents and individuals who have competing time priorities like pilots, doctors, vets, certain entrepreneurs, and the like. It shows them that you respect their time, and you are willing to pay for the time it took them to answer your survey.

Key Takeaway

So, do incentives improve the survey response rate? They only do if you execute them properly. Knowing the different types of survey incentives, how they affect respondents, and when you should use them will give you the most value for your money and a boost in your response rates.

If you’re in need of some more tips in improving your survey response rates, here at Qeryz, we’ve got tons of expert tips for you! From ideas for survey questions to advice for gathering quality data, we can give you valuable insights on improving your survey.
We also have a survey tool that you can use. The best part? It’s free! You can gather valuable insights with us without breaking the bank. Visit our website and sign up to claim your free account today!

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