Adding incentives to your surveys can boost response rates, increase engagement, and lead to more completed surveys in the future. But incorrect use of these incentives can lead to unredeemed gifts, unsatisfied respondents, and lower engagement rates over time.
In this article, we’ll cover the four common errors that market researchers make when it comes to survey incentives and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Taking a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
Motivating your respondents is crucial to the success of your survey. But offering 2,000 participants a $10 gift card to BabyGap may not be the best choice, as not everyone will want, or need, a BabyGap gift card.
When it comes to what motivates survey respondents, one size doesn’t fit all. Offering a single gift card incentive can limit the responses you receive for your survey. Instead, offer a curated selection of gift cards and other rewards options like charitable donations so that participants can select the rewards that most motivates them.
2. Not Factoring in Global Survey Participants
You might want to get responses to your survey from people all over the world, but do your gift card incentives reflect that? Many popular gift cards that are redeemable in the U.S. are useless in other countries that don’t have those stores. Even in the case of global merchants, a gift card issued by a merchant in one country will not be accepted by that merchant’s store or website in other countries. For example, amazon.com gift cards are not accepted at the amazon.uk website.
Make sure your incentives are usable in the country where your recipients are located. Some, like a Visa or Mastercard Prepaid Card, are globally accepted and therefore are often the simplest option for global survey participants.
3. Not Matching the Value of Incentive to the Time Required to Take the Survey
It makes sense: the longer a survey takes to complete, the higher in value the incentive should be. And yet many researchers make the mistake of offering incentives that aren’t valued high enough to match the time the survey requires. The result? High number of incompletes and low response rates.
Start by assessing the length of your survey. Be realistic about how long it would take a participant to complete your survey (which is always longer than it takes you to complete your own survey!). Then, match the value of that time with an appropriate value of gift card incentives.
4. Giving Respondents Too Many Choices
There is such a thing as too many options! When survey respondents are presented with dozens of options in gift card incentives, they can become overwhelmed. If the choices are not meaningful, they may even come across as flippant. This means you will miss the opportunity to make the respondent feel genuinely appreciated and that may minimize the likelihood that they’ll want to complete another survey for you in the future.
So, yes, give them choices…just not too many. Choose options that are appropriate for your audience, the value of the reward and which align with your brand. Choose from different categories like restaurants, online retailers, Visa and Mastercard Prepaid Cards, and charitable donations, but limit how many you offer in each category.
The key to a successful survey is understanding how to offer gift card incentives that are appealing to your audience, offering some flexibility in terms of what specific cards they can choose, and providing incentives that match the time investment required.
Want to learn more about how to improve your surveys? Download our free Survey Optimization Checklist today!