Survey incentives

Survey incentives are actually not much different from any other kind of incentive. They are reasons, monetary or non-monetary, physical or emotional that drive or motivate people to fill in your questionnaire. In other words, they would boost questionnaire response rate



The effect of incentives has been subject to a lot of research, most would agree that their effect is positive. The average increase in response rates when offering a reward was 19.1 percent for monetary and 7.9 percent for non-monetary rewards. Rewards don’t have to be expensive to increase response rates.

This guide will teach you:

  1. Incentive for survey participation
  2. Survey Incentives examples
  3. Things to consider

1. Incentive for survey participation

Basically, the participant is more likely to participate if the rewards of participation outweigh the cost of time and effort he has to put in. Having a grand prize often works, but note that larger monetary incentives tend:

  • to produce comments that were more favorable toward the questionnaire sponsor. Especially the second result is interesting because giving too big reward will return more positive answers, which may cause a biased result.
  • to produce a greater degree of effort put in completing the questionnaires, as measured by the number of short answers and comments provided, and the number of words written.

Make sure everybody gets something. If it's not the grand prize, be sure there's a cheaper alternative, so they don't go home empty-handed.

2. Survey Incentives examples

  • Use gamified elements, such as a scratch card or slot machine to increase interactivity.scratch card example
  • Offer a money-off coupon on completion of the quiz.
  • Give respondents a small physical reward. Consider sending this in advance, which can be more effective than promising to send something after completing the quiz.
  • Send respondents a product sample (if you’re that kind of company!)
  • Company branded goods.

3. Things to consider 

  • Your budget! If you’re running on a low budget, consider rewards that cost little or no money, but are still appealing to respondents, such as a discount on a future purchase.
  • Think carefully about the type of reward that would appeal to your audience. Try and think of something that will appeal across the board and not just to a small group.
  • Test out whether your reward actually has the desired effect. Try offering something to one group and something else or something different to another group, to figure out what is your best course of action.
  • How often you survey your respondents. Do you really want to get into the habit of offering a reward if you plan to send questionnaires to your audience on a regular basis?
  • If respondents are answering anonymously, think about how you will reward them. You could ask them to show you a screenshot of the completion page as proof that they completed your questionnaire.
  • If you decide to go down the rewards route, make sure you have a way to ensure that respondents can only answer your questionnaire once. You can use the limit responses feature to do this.


Check out the entire glossary list in a printable list.

What's next?

  • Survey fatigue (often used interchangeably with respondent fatigue) is a problem that occurs when questionnaire respondents become bored or tired during the questionnaire and begin to perform at a substandard level and start providing less or incorrect data.
  • Respondent burden is a relatively recent concern. Respondent burden is often defined as the effort required to answer a questionnaire, or more precisely, how the respondent perceives the participation in terms of how long it will take, difficulty level, and emotional toll.
  • Survey invitations appearance and format are very important factors that can influence the completion and response rate of your questionnaire. Since we're living in modern times, we'll be mainly focusing on useful tips for writing effective invitation emails.
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