4 Best Practices for Doing Incentives in Survey Research Virtual Incentives Blog

4 best practices for doing incentives in survey research

Surveys are about communication and relationships. Good survey research reaches out to respondents who have a connection with the topic, supplier or vendor. In the best of cases, there is interest and desire from both parties to listen and be heard. These relationships should be leveraged to provide the motivation to do a survey. Research has shown the main reason people do surveys is because they think their input is going to affect something they care about. If you decide, you should reward respondents for taking your survey, keep it small so you don’t forget the relationship value. And keep it easy for respondents to access the reward. Your next step is to decide on what type of reward to offer. Here are some examples of rewards and things to keep in mind when choosing survey rewards.

  • Small amounts of cash
  • Small gifts
  • Gift certificates
  • Coupons or discount codes that promote your organization or business partners

How do you execute survey incentives? Here are 4 best practices for doing survey incentive in market research.

  • CONSIDER THE RESOURCES YOU’LL NEED BEYOND THE INCENTIVE ITSELF. Think about the cost of getting, preparing, providing, and/or distributing the rewards. These could include time, packaging, and workers.


  • KEEP REWARDS SMALL: Make sure you get quality feedback. If your rewards are highly desirable, you may attract people who know nothing or little about your organization. Also note that incentives can sometimes lead to biased results; respondents who expect to receive significant rewards are less likely to share criticism and are more likely to give praise.


  • DECIDE HOW MANY REWARDS YOU CAN AFFORD TO GIVE OUT: If the number of rewards you can offer is limited, plan to monitor the results closely. That way, you can close the survey when the response limit is reached.


  • IDENTIFY ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Explain terms and conditions clearly in your survey that participants need to meet to earn the incentive.

These best practices were put together with the input from Survey Gizmo and Constant Contact. We’re grateful for their advice and counsel. At Virtual Incentives, we make survey incentives easy for you to do and your consumers to access. Our prepaid platform is powered by a simple, customizable virtual solution that closes the gap between action/achievement and rewards, rebates and offers. If you considering an incentive the next time you do survey research, did these best practices teach you something new?