Valuable market research isn’t free. At the end of the day, individuals are asked to take time out of their day, and in some cases take time from work or other obligations, to share their honest feedback for the benefit of your business. With that said, there needs to be an appropriate exchange of value. The incentive amount should reflect the value of time and insights contributed by the participants. Providing sufficient incentive amounts for market research participants will go a long way in encouraging show rates and collecting high-quality results.
How do you know if your incentive is too low or too high? Based on our extensive experience handling incentive payouts and recruiting for various study types, we have compiled the following guide on how to determine incentive amounts for market research participants.
Determine Your Target Audience
The type of individuals included in your target audience will greatly impact the incentive amount. Is your target audience compiled of shoppers of electronic devices? Or business executives in the tech industry? Incentives are exactly as the word is defined: a form of compensation that motivates action.
There is a larger population of general consumers than of business executives. Moreover, a higher incentive will be needed to incentivize smaller groups of individuals. If a low incentive is offered to business executives, they may decide the amount is not worth their time. After all, time is money – especially in the business world. When you miss out on qualified participants due to a low incentive, finding a replacement may prove difficult or not possible.
In-Person vs Remote Studies
Even with the conveniences of technology, in-person focus groups are still a very valuable method of market research that remains relevant. Respondents asked to attend an in-person focus group should receive an incentive high enough to justify transportation costs, group participation, and overall time.
This isn’t to say remote studies won’t require an equal or higher incentive at times – it all depends on your target audience, length of time required, homework or online assignments, topic, etc. Regardless of the study format, the incentive amount needs to be appropriate for all factors involved.
As mentioned above, determining an incentive amount is heavily dependent on several factors. Some studies require one-time attendance to a focus group or individual interview. Other study types include homework assignments or online diary entries over the course of a number of days.
In cases when more than one obligation is to be met, the incentive amount should be high enough to retain participation. Some participants will forfeit their commitment to the study partway through, knowing full well they will not receive all or any of the incentive. If multiple participants drop-out during the course of your study, the incentive amount may be the fault in the situation. Increasing the incentive amount may encourage completion of the study, providing your business more comprehensive results.
For frame of reference, general consumer study incentives typically range from $75 – $200 whereas studies involving professionals will range from $250 – $500. Shift your perspective to that of a study participant; would you accept the incentive amount decided for your study taking into account the requirements expected to participate? Furthermore, consult with your market research recruitment company regarding incentive amounts.
Incentive amounts for market research participants are a critical component to every qualitative market research project. Factoring incentives into your project budget should be a well-thought out process to ensure success. Market research cannot exist without participants; their contribution is invaluable. With this in mind, incentive amounts should reflect the value of their willingness to share their time, experiences, and opinion for the benefit of your business.
If you are ready to recruit for your qualitative market research project, our team at Focus Insite is available to discuss your project needs and provide assistance on the incentive amount for your study. Request a proposal with us today and discover the value of high-quality recruitment!
Written and Edited by Elizabeth Zuponcic