Harnessing Gift Card Incentives for Better Surveys

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Surveys help shape the decisions of businesses, nonprofits, academic institutions, and government agencies. Put simply, surveys make it easier to collect feedback, which then determines what products, services, or modifications users receive.

To the dismay of most decision-makers, people have become increasingly reluctant to volunteer their opinions or experiences through surveys. Increased concern over privacy, scams, illegal sale of personal information, and a declining culture of volunteerism are among the reasons cited as to why more people opt not to participate in surveys.

But even if you were to ignore such factors, you must recognize the intrusive nature of surveys. Requests for one usually pop up when you are online doing something. To set five minutes of your time or more in the name of a survey isn’t something for everyone. The growing culture of “what’s in it for me” is also believed to play a considerable role.

Incentives as a Way to Increase Participation

Research agencies, academia, and businesses have, as a result, sought new ways of encouraging netizens to participate in surveys. There are many approaches, of course, but one of the most effective is the use of gift cards.

A study conducted in 2017 found that offering incentives boosts response in longitudinal research projects. The research result stated that response rates shot up by a significant 30% when incentives were on the line. Not only that but offering them also pushed return surveys up by 18%. However, the research reported no notable differences in the completeness of the surveys in the two categories, giving the impression that incentives don’t quite influence whether a person will take part in a study to its completion or not.

That’s understandable, considering that most surveys give an idea beforehand of the number of questions and the approximate time it’d take to complete. Therefore, paid or not, the person would decide from the very onset and be psychologically prepared. However, on the other end of the spectrum, a research published on PLOS One found from a pool of whopping 109,648 participants that incentives do indeed increase participation.

The Use of Gift Card Incentives

Gift cards have become one of the most popular incentives in surveys. Multinational companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all, at one point or another, offered them to encourage their respective target populations to participate in surveys. Besides big organizations directly extending these convenient bonuses to their target respondents as incentives, a significant number also choose to work with research agencies.

There is no shortage of such agencies, many of which have different approaches to gift cards. Some use gift cards attached to specific products, services, or retail outlets. Some are redeemable for money, while others are limited to collection from predetermined locations. In short, there’s a whole myriad of gift cards out there that one can find.

Pawns.app, a renowned survey company, for example, has a free Shein gift card survey, which they’ve tailored to provide value for anyone who earns it. Pawns.app offers payouts through PayPal, Bitcoin, Amazon gift cards, Google Play gift cards, and more than 50 additional options, showing just how much these agencies are willing to go the extra mile to get user feedback. All these are to ensure that no one foregoes a survey for lack of a cashout option.

Pawns.app is just one of the many research companies that incentivize potential survey participants using gift cars. Other notable ones are Branded Surveys, Swagbucks, Ipsos iSay, and Inbox Dollars. Conducting surveys has big bucks. You can tell that by just how much these companies rake in revenue. For example, in 2023, Swagbucks posted a peak revenue of $7.9 million.

Gift Cards Work; Just Use Them Right

One of the setbacks some research agencies face is the use of gift cards, which tend to have extremely limited redemption options. It’s, however, important to point out that even if your gift cards appear to be valuable, their value diminishes if the recipient can’t effortlessly redeem them for goods, services, or cash.


There is no denying the efficacy of gift cards in pushing survey response rates higher. Even so, several other factors are likely to influence the magnitude of participation. The time required to complete a survey, its complexity, the sensitivity of the shared information, and the knowledge necessary to answer questions will definitely have a bearing on the number of participants.

Whatever the case, it goes without saying that gift cards can no longer be pushed to the periphery. They’ve snugly found a place among the leading survey incentives.

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