Everyone’s heard cash is king. Who doesn’t want free money? Market research panel programs tend to choose cash-based rewards for their panelists for this very reason. However, if you want higher recruitment, engagement, and retention, cash-based incentives may not be your best choice.
Cash-based rewards programs require the panelist to complete a task, then the user is rewarded with a cash or cash equivalent reward, such as a visa prepaid card, check, or PayPal deposit. Between the costs of inventory, distribution, and fulfillment, cash-based rewards can be pricy. Checks cost admin time and effort, plastic prepaid cards are expensive, and virtual prepaid cards have admin costs and inventory to manage, despite their lower cost.
One strategy that consistently proves effective in lowering program costs and increasing engagement and retention is switching to a points-based incentive program with a mix of cash, prepaid debit cards, merchandise, and experiential rewards. A points-based, blended-incentive reward program offers points or reward value to the panelist that they can spend in a marketplace to select a variety of different rewards, specifically chosen to cater to your program’s demographics. Merchandise and other marketplace incentives typically have a lower cost than cash-based rewards. For example, with the right reward provider, a movie ticket with a perceived value of $10 might only cost your company $7, which can allow for consistent savings to your program over time. Panelists value of a $10 prepaid card and a $10 movie ticket are the same, but the average cost of the rewards redeemed are significantly different.
With a cash-based redemption program, the panelist must choose to redeem for a cash incentive every time. However, with a point’s based program, the panelist will often save their points to redeem an item of higher value. There is usually a cost to the company for processing or making a transaction, so by having the panelists save their points for higher value items, your market research company can save money on transaction costs. From a customer experience perspective, making one transaction to acquire one high-value reward is usually preferable to having to make multiple transactions for smaller rewards.
Points are better for both you and your panelists. Being able to “Bank” their points allows panelists to set goals to earn higher valued rewards, which increases engagement. You can also encourage panelists to complete points-earning tasks quicker by offering bonus points for completing tasks in a specific amount of time. Points-based programs consistently show higher savings to the company, better panelist engagement, recruitment, and retention. Our case study, “Cash Vs Blended Incentive Model: What Performs Better?”, shows savings of just over 20% for one of our client’s market research incentives programs after switching to a blended, points-based incentive program.
All Digital Rewards has spent years helping market research clients increase response rates while lowering attrition by providing the right incentive technology, such as our fully customized web-based solution, ResearchSTACK™, an extensive catalog of rewards, and a wide range of support services to help you build strong panel-member relationships. If you would like to learn more about how All Digital Rewards can support your next panel incentive program, call us now at 866-415-7703, or click on the button below to schedule a demo.