Points vs. Direct Rewards – How to Choose the Right Incentives for Your Surveys and Studies

Points vs. Direct Rewards – How to Choose the Right Incentives for Your Surveys and Studies

Poor research participation continues to be a source of angst for researchers everywhere. And when this happens you’re left with unreliable data and questionable insights, which ultimately can have a negative impact on the business. 

To consistently get the quantity and quality of responses you need, researchers are increasingly adding incentives to their research processes. There are two primary ways in which you can incentivize research participants. You can offer Direct Rewards, where a participant immediately receives a tangible reward, like an Amazon gift card or Visa prepaid card. Or, you can reward participants with points that can be accumulated and redeemed for tangible rewards at a later time. 

Both styles of rewards can be effective, but how do you know which one to use and when?

How to Choose Between Points and Direct Rewards

To maximize incentive effectiveness and boost response rates, you need to ensure that you’re using the right incentives program for your surveys and studies. Let’s look at the strengths of direct rewards and points rewards to understand which one can best support the type of research you conduct. 

Direct Rewards:

Direct rewards provide the immediate delivery of gift cards. For example: “Complete this survey and receive a $20 Amazon gift card!” Direct rewards not only make your respondents feel valued, but also help boost future survey response rates. But if you conduct surveys and studies frequently, rewarding large groups of respondents each time can take a bite out of your budget.

Here’s Where Direct Rewards will Deliver the Best Results:

  • One-off or ad hoc market research surveys, where data is collected at a point in time from a single sample. 
  • When different respondents are needed for each survey you conduct.
  • Complex, time-intensive research, such as surveys with conjoint questions.
  • Research that requires highly paid respondents, such as doctors and scientists.
  • When participants fall into hard to reach/engage demographics, like a survey that combines multiple respondent characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, profession, location, etc.
  • Research targeted towards transient populations, such as college applicants.

Points-to-Rewards:

A points-to-rewards program is like a loyalty program for research. Participants are rewarded with points that can be accumulated and later redeemed for gift cards, Visa / Mastercard or charitable donations. By enticing participants with the ability to continually earn points that can be redeemed for valuable rewards, you’ll be able to increase survey response rates and encourage continued participation. Points are also great for situations where you need to reward small actions to show your appreciation while limiting budget spend.

Use a Points-to-Rewards Program For:

  • In-house panels or insight communities, and eliminate the need to recruit new respondents for faster research execution.
  • Longitudinal studies which take place over an extended period of time and need to retain the same participants throughout the study.
  • Multi-part studies that need to retain the same participants through multiple parts. For example, a study that begins with an online survey, followed by product testing and a phone interview.
  • Gamification to build participant engagement, excitement and retention.

Points-based rewards programs can be significantly more cost-effective than direct rewards. The challenges with these programs are often the setup, the on-going management of awarding and tracking points, and providing members an easy way to redeem points for rewards. 

Managing Points-Based Rewards Programs 

Rybbon’s PointsJoy provides an all-inclusive, one-stop platform that takes the headache out of points rewards management. This hands-free approach to points-to-rewards incentives enables you to:

  • Award points from Qualtrics and other platforms.
  • Notify participants of their available rewards points.
  • Track points balances and points history in a central portal.
  • Automatically reward participants with digital rewards once a pre-set threshold is met.

Schedule a personalized demo to learn how Rybbon PointsJoy can help you build a great points-to-rewards program for your research panels and communities.

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Brenda Stoltz

MARKETING MANAGER, RYBBON

Brenda has over 20 years of experience building, selling and marketing products for F100 and start-ups.