How to Incentivize Survey Responses to Boost Response Rates?

Best Practices

How Incentivization can Boost the Survey Response Rate?

Mar 24, 2023

7 mins read

Manisha Khandelwal


If you have conducted surveys, you know how challenging it can be to get people to respond. 

You dedicate your time to creating the right questions, adding proper design, and sending out surveys. 

Then you wait…wait…and wait.

Don’t worry. You are not alone there. Many businesses have also gone through this phase once in their entire journey.  

So, what can you do to increase the survey response rate?


Yes, you can use incentivization to motivate people to take your survey.

According to BMC Medical Research Methodology, the probability of receiving completed or partially completed questionnaires can increase twice by using a monetary incentive in mailed surveys. The study further indicates that 50% of response rates boost because of incentives, without any follow-up reminders. 

But there are so many types of incentives. 

  • Which one should we choose? 
  • What’s the whole incentivization process?

Without further ado, let’s talk about incentivization in detail.

What is Survey Incentivization? 

Survey incentivization is a process of giving rewards to your customers for filling out the survey. 

You can incentivize them either before or after filling out the survey. This activity helps you to increase the participation rate of your customers. 

There are multiple types of incentives that you can offer. They are

  1. Monetary incentives 
  2. Non-monetary incentives 
  3. Hybrid incentives 

Now let us go through each category and understand them in-depth. Non-monetary incentives can be particularly effective, including items like custom shirts, mugs, or even stickers, which can serve as a tangible reminder of your brand.

Different types of incentives

1. Monetary incentives 

Monetary incentives are those incentives that are given in the form of cash to encourage customers to share their feedback over the surveys. 

Here’re the 3 types of monetary incentives that you can offer to your customers.

  • Give them CASH 

Cash rewards always make the customers happy, encouraging them to take the survey and boosting the survey response rate. 

For instance, this is how Capterra encourages its customers to share their reviews on the surveys.

An example of how monetary incentives can help boost survey response rate

  • Give them surprise GIFTS CARD or exciting COUPONS  

You can offer your customers a gift card or a coupon to motivate them to complete the survey and visit your store again. 

An example of this incentive is Lenskart. It gives coupons to its customers after filling out the survey to ensure they come often. 

How Lenskart provided gift vouchers to increase the survey response rate

  • Do some CHARITABLE DONATIONS on your customers’ behalf

You can offer a donation on your customers’ behalf to either NGO or a charity foundation. This will not only boost your survey response rate but also enhance your reputation in the eyes of your customers. And it encourages you to keep doing good work. 

For instance, here’s how Tiger Graph boosts its survey response rate by using charity donations. This strategy tempted customers to respond honestly on G2 and get their incentives donated. 

An example of how TigerGraph boosted their survey response rate

2. Non-monetary incentives

Non-monetary incentives are those incentives that are given in other forms rather than cash, such as subscriptions, loyalty points, product samples, etc. 

Here are the three types of non-monetary incentives to keep your customers engaged with the business and generate a high survey response rate. 

  • Offer PRODUCT sample

If you’re thinking of launching a new product in the market but are unsure about customers’ likes and dislikes, then this incentive is perfect for you. 

With this incentive, you can offer a sample of your new product and test their responses to it. This is the best approach for product testing. 

This helps you know your customers’ reactions to it before actually launching the product on a massive level. And not just that, it helps you create an interest in them so that you can sell to them on a bigger level.

Here’s an example of PinchMe where they are testing their product to get honest feedback. 

How pinchme gave out free samples to get feedback about their product

  • A chance to EARN loyalty points 

Invite your customers to your loyalty programs and give them loyalty points when they successfully fill out the survey. 

This approach influences your customers to be a part of your loyalty program and simultaneously boosts your survey response rate. 

Here’s an example of how Google rewards its customers by giving them points to improve its products and services. 

How Google Opinion Rewards give users credit to improve their survey responses

  • Go for the FREEMIUM approach

Offer your customers a free trial of your product or service for a few days. 

If your customers continue liking your product or service, they can subscribe or pay for it to use it longer.

Once the trial is over, conduct a survey to gauge your product’s performance. 

This kind of incentivization shows your customers what kind of product they are buying, how useful it can be for them, and what can they achieve with it. It is one of the most common ways of gauging your product’s performance and gathering customer feedback on it. 

An apt example of this incentive is YouTube offering a free trial of a premium subscription for 3 months.  

An example of Youtube offering Freemium incentivisation.png

These were the two categories of incentives in-depth. But how about those who want to take a hybrid approach to incentivize their customers? 

Here comes the third category of incentives.

3. Hybrid incentives

With hybrid incentives, you can either give a monetary or non-monetary incentive or can use a mixture of both. 

Following are the types of hybrid incentives. 

  • SWEEPSTAKES: A chance to win 

You can now make an online buzz of your brand with sweepstakes. 

In this incentive, only a few customers will get the prize instead of all.

But make sure the gift should hold enough value to create a buzz around. It will not only boost your survey response rate but will also spread your brand’s awareness. 

Note: You must have a legal team to create terms and conditions. 

For instance, Walmart measures customer experience by offering its 750 survey respondents $100 gift cards, and lucky 5 winners will get a $1000 gift card to fill out a 10-minute survey. 

How Walmart used a hybrid incentive model to improve their response rate

  • GIVEAWAY alert

One of the trendiest incentives is a giveaway alert. You can give coupons to a selected number of customers, and the first customer will get a cash prize. This is how the giveaway alert incentive works. 

A beauty brand Sigma Beauty offered a definite giveaway to respondents in exchange for their honest feedback on their experience as customers.

An example on how to use giveaway incentive with your survey

Do’s and don’ts to follow while incentivizing your customers to boost the survey response rate

Here are the do’s and don’ts to keep in mind while incentivizing your customers to boost your survey response rate. 

Let’s talk about do’s first. 


  • Offer small incentives: 

You can use small incentives for all customers instead of one big incentive. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), monetary incentives are popularly used to increase response rates.

  • Must have an easy platform to redeem incentives: 

Ensure having an easy platform for customers to redeem their incentives. 


  • Avoid sending incentives automatically: 

Use a survey platform that can integrate reward platforms to distribute the incentivization and surveys effectively. 

Now that you’re loaded with all the crucial information regarding incentivization. It’s time to wrap up.

To wrap up… 

Incentivization can boost survey response rates if done correctly. 

Because whenever you offer something FREE or give away a surprise gift, people get motivated and excited. Similarly, when you incentivize your customers to get your surveys filled, your customers become delighted to participate.

Lower response rates and inaccurate data won’t help you to drive your business. So, use a strong customer feedback platform to create a short survey, ask relevant questions, add incentives, and ta-da- your survey is ready to boost your survey response rate and ensure your utmost precious customers feel valuable. 

At SurveySensum, we understand the importance of obtaining valuable customer insights. Our team of experts can help you design and implement surveys tailored to your business needs. And our advanced analytics can help you make sense of the feedback data.


Manisha Khandelwal

Senior Content Marketer at SurveySensum

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