Get Creative: Unique incentives will increase response rates

Using Creative Incentives to Increase Panel Engagement

Organizations that create better survey respondent experiences enjoy better response rates. And there’s no getting around the fact that the #1 way to increase respondent enjoyment of a survey is via incentives. Unique, appealing incentives get noticed, and get respondents.

Researchers need reasonable completion rates and response rates to turn the raw data into actionable insights. Trying to get there without a satisfying incentive for those respondents who do take the time to answer a survey is increasingly impossible. So why are so many research firms still relying on one single type of unmotivational reward (eg. “10% off your next purchase!”) for their respondents?

And here’s the big kicker: as response rates stagnate due in part to unchanging and unappealing rewards, researchers try to boost response rates by increasing the cost or value of the same stale rewards! That means a higher cost per complete and further desire to improve only means more increased hard costs.

If your organization is working off a database or panel of respondents, you’re often sending surveys to the same group of potential respondents. So offering the same reward for each survey (or worse, for surveys across varying topics) is only going to appeal to a certain percentage of those people, so why are you expecting response rates to increase?

Diversify, bay-by! Here are three ideas on keeping incentives fresh and appealing while keeping hard costs reasonable:


We want our respondents’ opinions, right? So why not give them even more of a voice by letting them choose a reward from among many? Offer respondents varying rewards that appeal to different lifestyles. Not only does this increase potential appeal of the reward, but it actually makes the survey more fun and memorable for respondents. Bonus research potential: when given reward choices, their selection becomes an extra data set for your study!


Ensure the follow-through of reward delivery is immediate. This will enhance warm feelings in respondents. Set up an automatic delivery process beforehand, which can then free up time for the research team during and after the survey is live. An integrated API allows automatic delivery and fulfillment of instant rewards like online gift cards.


Not all market research is created equal. Make sure that each incentive program fits the client, the study, the desired sample and more. Thinking and planning rewards ahead of time helps ensure that the reward structure is creative, appealing and on-strategy.

Consider rewards as an integral part of the survey development process and one of the most direct impacts you can make on response rates. Get creative!

Read the source article by Jonathan Price at GreenBook Blog

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