19 Jul 2018
3 Things to Consider Before Setting the Incentive Amount

Respondent receiving an incentive

Greenbook’s GRIT Consumer Participation in Research Report (CPR) from 2017 showed that third of all respondents take part in research to earn prizes. Unappealing incentives can lower participation interest rates. Additionally, they can cause people to drop out and cancel their participation.

Before you start recruiting for your next project, you should take a deeper look at your incentive rates. Ask yourself if you would take part in a research that offers a similar reward.

The rewards are not the only reason someone would apply to take part in market research. However, a great reward can be a perfect lead magnet.
Over the years, we have received a lot of feedback from our respondents about this subject. Thus, we have created a brief list of things you should consider before choosing your incentive amount.

1. Respondent type

Are you recruiting healthcare professionals, business professionals or consumers? What are their job titles? How much money do they make per hour?

The incentives for higher paying jobs need to be higher, or the respondents could see your research as a waste of their time. If possible, do a research at a dinner in a fine restaurant. Furthermore, you can offer other forms of non-monetary incentives, based on your target’s profile.

For example, business professionals value information, and you might have some information that would be more valuable to them than the incentive you are offering.

It pays off to get creative when thinking about incentives. Try offering something unusual that would surely draw someone’s attention.

2. Study length and methodology

A 5-minute online survey and a 30-minute in-depth interview should have different incentives.

You should take into consideration how much time the respondents will spend answering your question, and how in-depth they will be. Level of involvement is very important when deciding on an honorarium, therefore workshop studies often offer higher incentive amounts.

You may think that brief online questionnaires can offer a lower incentive, as they do not take up much of your respondent’s time. However, our experience has shown that even in these cases, the incentive needs to be as attractive as possible. Furthermore, the questions are usually in the form of radio buttons or checkmarks, making it easier for the user to complete the survey.

3. Location

If you are conducting research in a central location, you should consider extra costs such as train or bus tickets, petrol money, and even parking fees. These costs can get reimbursed separately, or you could bump up your incentive amount and cover the travel costs that way.

Take into consideration the time it would take someone to get to your venue. Let’s say your study lasts an hour, yet, it can take 30 minutes for someone to arrive to the venue. This means your respondent would spend 2 hours out of their day to participate in market research. Make sure you show them your appreciation.


In the end, the incentives do not have to be monetary. If you give it some thought and get creative, you can come up with original rewards which could bring you numerous leads. Also, you should not forget to ask your recruitment partner to share their opinion about your incentive amount. After all, recruitment agencies are in contact with respondents, and they can share first-hand feedback.

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