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Maximizing response rate: Provide incentives
Agnieszka avatar
Written by Agnieszka
Updated over a week ago

Researchers use incentives to attract responses from niche audiences (for instance, if the target respondents are busy professionals who are unlikely to answer the survey otherwise), or if the survey topic is more sensitive. Rewards will work well, especially for encouraging lengthy survey responses and ensuring participants don't drop out midway.

While some people will take the survey without incentives, offering a bonus in return is the best way to maximize your survey participation. Additionally, it is a great way to thank your respondents for their time and effort.

Do incentives influence the responses?

Additionally, a review of several studies proved that incentives did not noticeably lower the data quality.

However, it's essential to be aware of the cons of offering incentives. Your data quality can be marginally affected due to survey bias. As a means to an end, the survey might receive less attention, or it might make participants feel more positive about your business and, as a result, submit biased answers.

Examples of surveys providing incentives

Without a doubt, cash incentives are the number one method to boost the response rate, but a reward can come in different forms.

Imagine a scenario where you offer a discount to your beauty salon. The customers who were happy with the service will be keen to fill out a survey and get a lower price next time, but you might miss out on the negative feedback your business could benefit from to improve. By making things transactional, you might attract some respondents interested in the prize and less in the research itself.

You can offer a discount code to the respondents, which they can find at the end of the survey:

Or ensure them that they'll receive a gift card shortly after filling out the questionnaire:


Researchers must weigh the draws and cons of incentivizing their survey research. They come at a price of higher budget spending and a slight risk of biased results but boost response rates significantly.

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