The Changing Survey Incentive Scene

Back in the day, including a dollar bill in the envelope with a paper survey was found to be an effective incentive to increase response rates. Research over the years has shown that this kind of prepaid incentive is the most effective monetary incentive you can use to increase response rates to a survey.


Who doesn't love finding a dollar bill in an envelope? Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

However, in the era of online surveys we find ourselves in now, slipping a dollar into the envelope is problematic at best. So the focus has been on testing and finding the optimal monetary or non-monetary reward for taking a survey. TripleScoop recently tested a variety of monetary and non-monetary incentives for surveys. The winning incentive, surprisingly, is non-monetary, but achieved 99% response rates in tests--significantly higher than any other form of incentive tested. What is this magic bullet incentive our testing revealed? A roll of toilet paper.


The new salt--currency wherever you may go. Photo by Claire Mueller on Unsplash.

To take a 10 minute survey, a roll of toilet paper exponentially outperformed incentives including $5 cash, $10 cash, a drawing for a Winnebago, and a Disney+ year-long subscription. Following the blind test, several that had responded to the survey with the roll of toilet paper incentive were interviewed to dig deeper into how this incentive motivated them. The insights are best illustrated in these verbatim quotes: “I feel the need--the need for toilet paper.” “You had me at toilet paper.” “Offer me a whole pack, and I will quit my job and just take surveys.” “A 40 minute survey would have been easier than navigating the brawling mob at the grocery store.”


Seriously, do not panic. Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

It probably goes without saying that this is totally an April Fool’s Day email. I just want to be clear on that. Hoping that a little fun helps distract from the stress and strain we are all experiencing.