By Kristin Luck

Virtual Incentives recently completed a study with Greenbook that took an in-depth look at participant engagement and the importance of recognizing their time and effort when they participate in research studies. The study, which was conducted in 15 countries and 8 languages among 6,208 consumers, found that incentives are a major driver towards study completion and satisfaction.

You should consider incentives as a vital part of the research process, not just an after-thought. After all, highly engaged participants deliver reliable and actionable data!

Here are five key points regarding incentives to consider when you are planning your next research study:

  1. Make it worthwhile

If the incentive you’re offering isn’t enough to inspire YOU to take your own survey, why would it inspire potential respondents? Make sure the trade you’re offering (incentive for their time and opinion) is meaningful and inspires the desired behavior. For example, if you give your participant options (plastic card or virtual redemption, brand name gift cards or Visa virtual rewards) that element of choice alone can make the process more worthwhile for them.

  1. Make it easy

Incentives should be easy to understand and redeem. Half of our study participants admitted that the design of a survey impacts their willingness to complete it, and too much complexity causes dropouts. The same applies to incentives. By integrating incentive technology seamlessly with your research process, offering a choice that fits the participant lifestyle, and taking advantage of user friendly interfaces, you are taking barriers away from the reward process for your participant.

  1. Make it relevant

Make sure the incentives you’re offering fits your research project and your participant. If you’re running a survey on baby diaper usage, chances are the participants aren’t going to want gift cards to Bass Pro Shop. Or if, say, you’re surveying millennials who typically use a Starbucks app to buy their coffee, a plastic gift card is likely not relevant to their mobile lifestyle.

  1. Make it instant

Nothing makes an incentive more impactful than instant delivery. This means instant gratification for your participant, which in turn leads to a higher level of engagement. And, as we explored in our recent study, better engagement garners higher response and completion rates. Don’t make your participants wait and wonder when the check or plastic card is going to arrive, especially when today’s technology allows you to reward immediately when the survey is complete, and on any device.

  1. Make it consistent

Deliver the same type of preferred reward repeatedly so participants know what to expect and are assured of a seamless, highly valued incentive process. When you integrate incentive technology seamlessly into your research process, you’ll be able to build expectation among your respondent base of a consistent, equitable exchange for their time and opinions, and improve your overall research practice.

In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with information, have short attention spans and harbor high expectations for every interaction in their lives (online and otherwise), we have an uphill battle as researchers to keep respondents engaged. Implementing incentives that resonate with respondents on multiple levels will drive more actionable data and better business decisions.

By Kristin Luck, Advisor, Virtual Incentives

Full study findings are available here.

Markets included: Australia (n=150), Brazil (n=250), Canada (n=686), Chile (n=250), Colombia (n=250), France (n=508), Germany, (n=502), Mexico (n=250), New Zealand (n=100), Philippines (n=150), Singapore (n=150), Spain (n=253), Thailand (n=201), UK (n=503), US (n=2,005). All participants had partaken in research in the last 12 months.

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