Editor’s note: Kristen Miles is director of insights at Branded Research, San Diego, Calif. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “Two-thirds of survey participants say they are primarily motivated by rewards.” 

As researchers, we are focused on gathering the insights our clients or stakeholders need to make important business decisions when designing and conducting research. Rarely do we consider the people responding to our surveys. Why are these individuals taking surveys? What do they think about the process and the questions they are asked? Do they talk about taking surveys with their friends and family? This prompted my interest in exploring these questions to better understand panelist experience. 

To start, my team was curious to learn more about why our users take surveys with us. Are they only focused on earning rewards? Or do they also care about voicing their opinions? Do they consider the companies who will ultimately use their insights? We conducted a poll on January 26, 2019, and 12,744 users responded. 

Not surprisingly, our research found that 63 percent of users take surveys for the rewards. About 21 percent of users take surveys as a way of voicing their opinions, 7 percent take surveys to help companies, 5 percent of users take surveys to fill free time and 4 percent take surveys to learn about market research. 

Older consumers are slightly more likely than younger consumers to say they take surveys for the rewards. About 66 percent of the Silent Generation (age 71+) and 65 percent of Baby Boomers (age 52-70) say they take surveys primarily for the rewards compared to 59 percent of Gen X (age 40-51) and 62 percent of Millennials (age 23-39). Gen X users are most likely to say they take surveys to have their voices heard at 25 percent, compared to 19 percent of Millennials, 23 percent of Baby Boomers and 22 percent of the Silent...