Do Incentives Increase Survey Response Rates?

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It’s a question that many companies ask when they are looking for better insights in their research or feedback programs. Incentives are becoming increasingly popular as a way of boosting the number of people who respond to surveys. However, are incentives effective and efficient solutions? The answer, according to research, is a clear yes. In fact, evidence shows that offering an incentive of $10 results in 18% more returned surveys. It also increases the chances of a recipient returning their survey by as much as 30%. These statistics demonstrate that incentives certainly do increase survey response rates.

What Is the Typical Survey Response Rate?

There is no single figure to represent the typical survey response rate. Estimates typically range somewhere from 20% to 30%, but that can vary depending on many things, including:

  • The length of the survey. It’s common for longer surveys to go unfinished.
  • The types of questions asked. The more complex the questions, the less likely it is for the recipient to return the survey.
  • The invitation language. The more compelling the subject line and the more personal the email invitation, the more likely the recipient will respond.

READ MORE: The Average Survey Response Rate and How to Beat It

Why Is It So Important to Increase Survey Response Rates?

Anyone who has ever sent out a survey knows how hard it can be to get sufficient engagement. The statistics reveal how challenging it is just to get recipients to even read their emails, with an average open rate of just 18% for email campaigns. The average click-through rate is significantly lower at just 2.6%.

Even when recipients do click through to the survey, it’s not a given that they complete it. Abandon rates jump when a survey takes longer than seven or eight minutes to fill out.

But it’s important for researchers and marketers to make better response rates a priority. Without sufficient responses, your data may not show the entire picture accurately, meaning the insights you collect will be less reliable.

What Are Some Ways to Increase Response Rates?

There are a number of things you can do to boost survey response rates, many of which are simply survey best practices. These include:

  • Making surveys short and to the point.
  • Writing a compelling survey invitation email.
  • Making surveys interactive and fun.
  • Making surveys mobile-friendly.
  • Considering the demographics of the audience and tailoring the survey appropriately.

While all these things can help, they may not be enough on their own. When paired with offering incentives, though, they can be extremely effective.

How Can I Use Incentives Effectively to Increase My Survey Response Rate?

Clearly, using incentives can help to increase your survey response rate. But you need to understand how to use them effectively to maximize their benefits. Here are some top tips to make sure your survey incentives are successful:

  • Choose the right rewards for the demographic. The incentive must be appealing to the audience you are trying to reach. If it isn’t relevant or exciting to the survey invitees, the incentive won’t work.
  • Set the right value for your incentive. If the incentive isn’t enough to properly compensate respondents for their time and effort, it won’t do any good.
  • Consider offering incentives to only the first few respondents to create a sense of urgency. Giving the reward to the first 50 or 100 participants often makes survey invitees submit their responses faster in an effort to make the cut. This is also a great strategy if you have a limited incentives budget.
  • Choose rewards that are easy to claim. Using digital incentives are an ideal option for both you and your recipients, since they can be delivered instantly and for free. 
  • Implement an incentives management tool for a more streamlined process. A digital rewards management platform like BHN Rewards is an efficient way to manage incentives, automate distribution, and track the success of your program.

Find out more about how BHN Rewards’ incentives can boost your survey responses today.

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