7 best survey incentive ideas to boost response rates

Survey incentivesHave you ever received an invitation to participate in a survey, but quickly lost interest? You're not alone. In today's world, people are constantly bombarded with requests for their time and attention. So, if you want them to take the time to complete your survey, you need to give them a good reason to do so. That's where survey incentives come in.

What are survey incentives?

Survey incentives are rewards or benefits offered to respondents who complete a survey. These incentives can be anything from a chance to win a prize, to a discount on a product or service. Offering an incentive motivates people to take the time to complete the survey and is a powerful tool for increasing response rates and getting more valuable feedback.

Selecting the best incentive

Apparently, not all incentives will work for all surveys. The best survey incentive is that one perfect reward that will do the magic. When people are offered the right incentive, they are more likely to take the survey seriously and provide thoughtful and honest feedback. On the other hand, if the incentive is not relevant to the audience or not valuable enough, people may rush through the survey or even abandon it altogether.
For example, Imagine you're a healthcare company conducting a survey to gather feedback from patients about their experience with your services. You want to choose an incentive that will motivate people to complete the survey and provide honest feedback. Offering a discount on a future service may not be the most effective incentive in this case, as many patients may not need or be able to afford your services in the future.
A better incentive in this scenario might be a chance to win a gift card to a popular retailer, such as Amazon or Target. This incentive is valuable to a wide range of people, and it's not directly tied to your healthcare services, which can help to maintain the objectivity of the survey responses.
Another factor to consider when choosing incentives is the size of the incentive. If the incentive is too small, people may not feel that it's worth their time to complete the survey. However, if the incentive is too large, it may attract people who are not actually interested in your services or products, which can result in low-quality responses. And this is one of the 10 common survey mistakes that reduce response rates.
Now let us go over some incentive ideas that can boost response rates.

7 survey incentive ideas that will boost response rates

1. Discount codes or coupons

This is an effective way to incentivize survey participation, especially if the survey is related to a particular product or service. For example, a company might offer a 10% discount code to participants who complete a survey about their experience with a specific product.

2. Cash or gift card rewards

Previous research has shown that cash is one of the best incentives when it comes to boosting response rates. I mean who would resist an extra dollar or more for just 2 minutes of their time? For example, a research team could offer 5 dollars to participants if they could complete a survey on consumer behavior in the context of online shopping. Offering cash rewards is a popular incentive idea that boosts response rate and it works for a wide range of surveys.

3. Free samples or trial periods

Offering free samples or a trial period of a product or service can be a great way to incentivize survey participation, especially for surveys related to consumer products or services. For example, a skincare company might offer a free sample of a new product to participants who complete a survey about their skincare routines and get back tones of responses.

4. Offering airtime top-ups

This can be another effective survey incentive, especially in regions where mobile phones are the primary means of communication. Airtime top-ups are essentially prepaid mobile phone credits that can be used for calls, texts, or data usage. For example, a telecommunications company might offer respondents who complete a survey about their mobile phone usage a free $50 airtime top-up. This incentive can be particularly appealing to respondents who have limited resources and would appreciate the opportunity to save money on their mobile phone bills.

5. Professional development opportunities

Offering professional development opportunities, such as access to webinars or workshops, can be a powerful incentive for respondents who are interested in advancing their careers. For example, a software company might offer access to a free training webinar to participants who complete a survey about their software usage.

6. Social media shoutouts or shares

Offering social media shoutouts or shares can be a fun way to incentivize survey participation, especially for surveys related to social media usage or preferences. For example, a beauty blogger might share a survey about makeup trends on their Instagram page and offer a shoutout to participants who complete the survey.

7. Customized merchandise or swag

These could be t-shirts or tote bags and can be a great way to incentivize survey participation, especially for surveys related to brand loyalty or customer satisfaction. For example, a coffee shop might offer a branded Hat or tote bag to participants who complete a survey about their coffee preferences. This also improves brand promotion as the brand items will show out each time the customers put them on.


These survey incentives can work for a variety of surveys and questionnaires. We just have to get creative with them depending on what we want out of respondents.
However, it's important to remember that incentives are not the only way to boost response rates. Many other factors can impact response rates, if you want to be more strategic, you may want to check out how a good survey design can boost response rates.
If you're interested in learning more about how to boost response rates in surveys, be sure to check out our latest blog post, which explores a range of strategies for improving survey response rates.

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