Who are these participants and what motivates them?

Who are these participants and what motivates them?

An intrinsic motivation, affecting change and interest are the key motivators for people to participate in surveys. Only a small percentage participates because of a negative experience. It’s twice more likely participants have had a good experience! In both paid and unpaid surveys, there’s a slight positive bias: participants tend to have a slightly favorable attitude towards the company or product.

An online survey, like Task Analytics, requires (a lot of) participants. Who are these people and why do they want to fill out a survey? Do they have time to spare, are they really upset with a (recent) event or dissatisfied with the company or a product?

There have been studies conducted in both 2017 and 2018 to find out what motivates people to participate. The first survey, conducted in August 2017, asked participants if they had taken an unpaid survey and if so, to select the reason that best matched their motivation for participating. 325 responses were collected in the US. The second survey, conducted in November 2018, asked the same question to a paid panel of 525 participants in the US. Participants could select multiple reasons using a predefined set of options, including an “Other” option.


The most common reasons for participating selected by participants were:
  1. I like to express my opinion (42%);
  2. I want to change the way things are done (33%)
  3. I find the survey interesting (32%)
Only 13% reported having a problem (a negative experience). In contrast, more than twice as many reported a good experience (29%). Only 5% selected “Other,” suggesting that these reasons may sufficiently account for people’s motivation to take free surveys.
Figure: Paritcipants select the reason(s) that best matches their motivation for participating.

Positive bias

The study from November 2018 also assessed if there is a more positive than negative bias when taking unpaid surveys versus paid surveys. Participants were being asked the 7-point sentiment question (from 1 = Not at all favorable to 7 = Extremely favorable) toward the company/product they took a paid and/or unpaid survey for. Both paid and unpaid survey participants show a slight positive bias towards organizations, meaning they have a slightly favorable attitude towards the company or product for both paid and unpaid surveys.
However, the average sentiment was about 10% higher for paid survey participants: paid participants are more likely to be extremely favorable towards the company or product. The distribution for unpaid participants are also positively biased, but the distribution among the 7-point sentiment is more evenly spread.

More information on the studies can be found on the website of MeasuringU.
    • Related Articles

    • Add users to Task Analytics

      Everyone with access to Task Analytics can grant access to their colleagues. All you need is their email address. In the Task Analytics application, navigate to the survey you want them to access. Then in the top menu select "People" from the ...
    • Change the survey setup after collecting responses

      It really depends on what you change and how important it is for you to compare analysis in different time periods. Some rules of thumb: OK It's OK to move a task from one category to another, but to keep the responses make sure the task do not ...
    • How many respondents can I expect?

      The amount of respondents out of all visitors vary from site to site and from industry to industry. Public facing websites In our experience, the lowest rates we have seen is about 1 - 2 percent of the visitors usually for public facing websites. ...
    • The Action Workshop: the ongoing cycle of improvement

      We believe in continual improvement as a paradigm for developing your business. We suggest that the Action Workshop is the heartbeat in this ongoing cycle of improvement. Run Task Analytics, gather the right people, look at the numbers, build ...
    • Can I trust the numbers?

      Through our digital agency pedigree, we have learned a lot about how people act on surveys. When you are asking real people to answer questions there is always a risk for some kind of sampling bias. Thus, we have worked hard to design our invitation ...