Rybbon is now BHN Rewards
Learn more

Increasing Survey Response Rates – Sweepstakes vs. Rewards

  • author

    Kristy Hartman

  • posted

    May 06, 2021

  • topic

    Digital Marketing, Market Research

Increasing Survey Response Rates – Sweepstakes vs. Rewards

When was the last time you won the lottery? Sweepstakes and contests provide a chance to win, but are the odds really in your favor? In this article, we’ll examine the differences between sweepstakes and rewards, provide insight to identify the right approach for your company’s goals, and discuss what it takes to increase your survey response rates, time and time again.

Many times these terms are used interchangeably, however, sweepstakes and rewards have significant differences, as well as a few similarities. To start, let’s define sweepstakes and rewards and discuss how they’ve been used successfully.

Sweepstakes:A sweepstakes is a type of contest where a prize, or prizes, may be awarded to a winner or winners. Essentially, sweepstakes are a game of chance, and the ones awarded are determined by luck. For example, last autumn, COVID-19 put a damper on tailgating parties – limiting fans’ ability to celebrate football games as they had in the past. To help re-create the in-person football experience, Pepsi launched Tailgate in a Box, which gave entrants a chance to win one of 20 “tailgate in a box” kits.

Rewards:Typically used to incentivize or motivate people, rewards are presented in return for something done or received. We’ve all seen signs offering rewards for finding lost dogs or rewards offered by law enforcement for information on criminals. Producers Assistance Corporation took rewards to another level by giving employees gift cards as an incentive to participate in their safety programs.

With definitions and examples covered, we’re going to take a deep dive into the pros and cons of sweepstakes and rewards – as they relate to survey participation.

The Advantages and Disadvantages – Uncovered

When it comes to incentivizing survey recipients, both sweepstakes and rewards can be used to boost your response rates. However, depending on which one you choose, you’ll see varying degrees of effectiveness.


Many believe that sweepstakes are an inexpensive way to entice survey responses. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, sweepstakes typically take months to develop and implement, and this means time and money. In addition, you may need to hire a consultant that specializes in sweepstakes to draw up the terms and conditions that are necessary for any sweepstakes program. You also need to take into consideration the location of your survey recipients. It’s important to remember that different states in America have different laws when it comes to sweepstakes. And if your survey recipients are located internationally, providing sweepstake winners with physical gifts can be extremely difficult, cumbersome, and costly.

When creating surveys, your goal is to gather as much data and insights from recipients as possible. Since sweepstakes significantly limit the number of winners that are able to collect from the pool, it typically discourages survey responses. A final disadvantage that you need to be aware of is respondent satisfaction. Because survey entries need to be submitted and collected in total, it could take months for the winners to be announced. At this point, respondents may have forgotten they had entered the sweepstake in the first place. Not to mention, winners are typically presented with one type of gift, which could have the opposite effect on the type of experience you’re trying to deliver.

Expert opinion:

Clients of Ideal CX typically offer an entry to a sweepstake as a thank you for participating in research surveys. While respondents need to submit the survey response to be eligible to win, it adds a layer of chance rather than providing assurance that their contribution will be rewarded.

“Clients have used sweepstakes in the past, but we are now proactively recommending a transition to a rewards strategy because these programs are more effective at producing desired results and significantly more efficient from a time and cost perspective,” says Sophie Imbert, Founder and Managing Director of Ideal CX.


Suitable for any survey size, a rewards program can be set up in just minutes. From a cost perspective, you’re in the driver’s seat to determine the number of digital rewards to offer and the amount of each reward. Since they are delivered via email, there are no delivery costs and you’re able to customize the emails with your logo, messaging, and images to create a personalized experience.

Unlike sweepstakes, digital rewards can quickly and easily be sent nationally and internationally and winner(s) can choose from a curated list of digital rewards. Your respondents will know that their prompt response to your surveys will earn them a digital reward, and this means that they will be more apt to complete them in a timely manner. With rewards, you’re more likely to boost survey response rates to gain the data and insights you’re after. When it comes to the respondent experience, nothing beats the swiftness of sending digital rewards which provide instant gratification.

Expert opinion:

As they tend to be ineffective, Rybbon typically doesn’t recommend using sweepstakes to increase response rates. However, you can take a blended approach by using instant rewards in a similar fashion to sweepstakes. For instance, we’ll assume the grand prize for your sweepstake is $5,000. Instead of one winner taking all of the cash, why not offer the first 250 respondents a $20 digital reward? The practicality and likelihood of a $20 incentive versus a 1 in thousands chance of winning will motivate and reward respondents to complete the survey.

Keep Survey Respondents Interested

Getting respondents to complete surveys shouldn’t be left to chance. With digital rewards, you’re able to increase response rates by up to 400% and improve the respondents’ experience. When your respondents are participating in longitudinal or multi-part studies, keep their interest with a points-to-rewards program.

Points-to-rewards lets you recruit, engage, and retain survey participants. How it works is easy, you simply award points to respondents that continue to complete your surveys. Once they reach a predetermined threshold, they can redeem their points for a digital reward of their choice. The more surveys they complete, the more points they collect and the more valuable their reward!

Boost Response Rates on Your Next Survey

With seamless integration to popular survey platforms such as Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, Alchemy, Voxco, and others, Rybbon delivers the easiest and most cost-effective way to send rewards that can be used in over 140 countries.

About Ideal CX

Ideal CX is a Qualtrics Service Partner and recently joined Rybbon’s agency program. Ideal CX helps global companies design, implement and grow industry-leading Customer Experience programs. We partner with clients to lift their customer satisfaction by designing and implementing CX measurement programs and CX transformation roadmaps. Our aim is to help clients become more customer-centric, drive CX improvements as well as profit growth.

about the author
Kristy Hartman

Kristy is a digital marketing professional who specializes in innovative marketing solutions for the technology space

Kristy is a digital marketing professional who specializes in innovative marketing solutions for the technology space

[ 1245, 151 ]
[ 1245, 151 ]