8 Survey Incentive Ideas and How to Use Them

Survey Incentive Ideas That Work

#1 Monetary Survey Incentives

Non-Monetary Survey Incentives

#2 Sweepstakes

#3 Sample Products

#4 Donation to Charity

#5 Points-Based System

#6 E-books, Whitepapers, and Other Digital Resources

#7 Discount Coupons

#8 Partnerships

How Do I Incentivize A Survey?

  • Understand your audience. Offer incentives that are truly valuable to your audience. Only by providing the encouragement they need can you increase your response rates.
  • Choose a delivery method to give these incentives; it can work online or offline.
  • Also, timing is everything! When will you offer these rewards? Before or after survey completion?
  1. Promised incentives are when you provide incentives to those who complete the survey.
  2. Pre-paid incentives are when everyone who’s given the invite gets the survey incentive — irrespective of whether they complete the survey or not. Research has shown that paying a respondent before the survey leads to higher response rates.

How Do I Incentivize An Anonymous Survey?

Do I Need to Use a Survey Incentive?

Pros and Cons of Survey Incentives


  • Increase survey response rates: Response rates increase as the number of incentives increases (until a specific limit).
  • Increase responses to lengthy surveys: The longer a survey becomes, the more impatient the respondent gets. One way to ensure completion is to show a visible sign of progress like a completion tracker. In addition, an incentive after survey completion will motivate them to complete the survey.
  • Re-attempt participation: Some survey takers view the survey and then move on without attempting it for various reasons. A survey incentive will encourage these groups to reconsider and complete the survey.


  • Skewed representation: Try not to make your rewards too specific. For example, if you are surveying parents of young children and offer targeted rewards like discount coupons for baby food, you will encourage more responses from parents of newborns. This can skew your survey results.
  • Poor data quality: Survey incentives tend to attract respondents who are in it only for the prize. These respondents rush through the survey when what you need are thoughtful responses. As a result, it has the potential to hurt your data quality.
  • Budget-intensive: If an organization offers survey incentives for all their surveys, it could end up hurting their budget in the long run.

Factors to Keep in Mind

  • Additional Costs: When it comes to providing incentives, additional costs occur in time and money. These costs include getting and distributing these rewards. Determine the number of prizes you can hand out, and once it reaches the limit, stop the survey. In sweepstakes and lotteries, have a legal team on board to draft terms and conditions. Make sure to mention them clearly in your survey.
  • Mode of Delivery: The survey incentive should be easy to redeem for the respondent. In this regard, it is easy and convenient to send gift cards and coupons through email.
  • Target Audience: Primary market research is essential to ascertain your target audience. This is important to discover those incentives that are of value to the majority of your target audience. For example, research suggests that monetary incentives are the most effective. On the other hand, gift cards and discount coupons are also easy to distribute quickly.
  • Response Quality Checks: Some respondents may try to take your survey more than once to get more incentives. Ensure that your online survey software can detect duplicate responses or has a similar feature that restricts users from retaking them.
  • Automated Incentive Management: Avoid going old school by using Excel to manage and track rewards. Online survey platforms like SurveySparrow can integrate with Rybbon, a digital rewards platform. So for each survey you create, there is an option to automate the incentive management process.




SurveySparrow lets you turn surveys into conversations.

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SurveySparrow lets you turn surveys into conversations.

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