Market Research Online Communities (MROCs) are a valuable source of insights for businesses that want to understand their customers, test new ideas, and improve their products and services. However, creating and maintaining a successful online market research community is not easy. It requires a lot of planning, management, and engagement from both the researchers and the participants. 

One of the key challenges of MROCs is how to incentivize and reward the participants for their time, effort, and feedback. Incentives and rewards are not only important for attracting and retaining participants, but also for motivating them to share honest, relevant, and quality insights. 

But what are the best ways to incentivize and reward participants in an online community? And why is it important to do so? In this blog post, we will explore some of the benefits and best practices of incentives and rewards in MROCs 

Benefits of Incentives and Rewards in Market Research Online Communities 

Incentives and rewards can have a positive impact on both the participants and the researchers in MROCs. Some of the benefits include: 

  • Increased participation & enhanced engagement: Incentives and rewards can encourage more people to join and stay in the community, as well as to participate more frequently and actively in the research activities. Incentives and rewards also can foster a sense of belonging, appreciation, and recognition among the participants, as well as a sense of fun, enjoyment, and challenge. 
  • Improved quality: Incentives and rewards can motivate the participants to provide more honest, detailed, and constructive feedback, as well as to follow the guidelines and rules of the community more willingly (because they are happy!). 
  • Higher satisfaction: Incentives and rewards can increase the satisfaction and loyalty of the participants, as well as their willingness to recommend the community to others. This promotes growth of the community. 

All of these benefits of incentives and rewards result in more diverse, rich, and actionable insights for the researchers, as well as more feedback loops and learning opportunities. 

Types of Incentives and Rewards in Market Research Online Communities 

When it comes to incentivizing and rewarding participants in Market Research Online Communities (MROCs), there is a wide array of options to consider. Selecting the right incentives and rewards is crucial, as they play a pivotal role in motivating participants and ensuring the success of your community. Below are some popular options to explore: 

  • Cash/ Gift Cards: Offering monetary rewards remains a classic and effective incentive. Cash incentives provide participants with flexibility and a tangible reward for their contributions. Providing gift cards to popular retailers or online platforms also gives participants the freedom to choose a reward that aligns with their preferences. 
  • Vouchers and Coupons: Discount vouchers or exclusive coupons for products or services can be enticing incentives, appealing to participants’ interests and needs. 
  • Free Products or Services: Offering complimentary access to products or services being researched can be a powerful motivator, especially for participants interested in experiencing new offerings. 
  • Donations to Charity: Some participants find fulfillment in knowing that their contributions result in a charitable donation. Consider giving participants the option to direct rewards toward a cause of their choice. 
  • Points and Badges: Implementing a points system or a badge system within the community adds an element of gamification, recognizing and rewarding participants for their ongoing engagement and achievements. 
  • Leaderboards: Introducing a leaderboard that showcases top contributors can stimulate healthy competition and recognition within the community. Taking a step further and issuing certificates or acknowledging participants publicly for their valuable contributions fosters a sense of achievement and pride. 
  • Access to Exclusive Content or Events: Granting exclusive access to premium content or events related to the community’s focus can be an attractive incentive for participants seeking unique experiences. 
  • Feedback Opportunities: Offering participants the chance to provide feedback on the community itself or influence its direction can be a rewarding experience, enhancing their sense of ownership. 

Remember, the effectiveness of incentives and rewards depends on understanding your audience and aligning them with the objectives of your community and research projects. Being transparent, flexible, and creative in your approach will contribute to the success of your incentive and reward system. 

Best Practices of Incentives and Rewards in Market Research Online Communities 

As we covered, incentives and rewards can take many forms. However, not all incentives and rewards are equally effective or suitable for every MROC. Therefore, it is important to follow some best practices when designing and implementing incentives and rewards in your community. Some of these best practices are: 

  • Align with the objectives: The incentives and rewards should be aligned with the objectives of the community and the research project. They should support the desired behaviors and outcomes of the participants and the researchers. 
  • Know your audience: The incentives and rewards should be tailored to the preferences, needs, motivations, values, and expectations of the target audience. They should be relevant, appealing, meaningful, and fair to the participants. 
  • Be transparent: The incentives and rewards should be clear, consistent, predictable, and easy to understand. They should be communicated upfront and throughout the community. They should also be delivered promptly and reliably. 
  • Be flexible: The incentives and rewards should be adaptable to different situations, contexts, segments, activities, levels of participation, etc. They should also be varied over time to avoid boredom or saturation. 
  • Be creative: The incentives and rewards should be innovative, original, surprising, or fun. They should also be aligned with the brand identity and values of the community sponsor. 
  • Measure and optimize: The incentives and rewards should be monitored and evaluated regularly. They should also be adjusted or improved based on feedback from the participants or data from the community. 

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Incentives and Rewards in Online Market Research Communities 

Measuring the effectiveness of incentives and rewards in online market research communities is crucial for understanding their impact. It can also help to identify areas for improvement or optimization. However, measuring the effectiveness of incentives and rewards is not a straightforward task. It requires a clear definition of what constitutes success or failure for each incentive or reward scheme. It also requires a selection of appropriate metrics or indicators that can capture both quantitative (e.g., participation rates) or qualitative (e.g., satisfaction levels) aspects. 

Some possible metrics or indicators that can be used to measure the effectiveness of incentives and rewards in MROCs are recruitment rate (the percentage of invited or targeted people who join the community), retention rate (the percentage of participants who stay in the community over time), participant rate (the percentage of participants who take part in each research activity), or engagement rate (the percentage of participants who interact with other members or content in the community). You can also look at quality and satisfaction scores, and the likelihood of participants recommending the community or incentives and rewards to others. 

FCX for Incentives and Rewards 

Fuel Cycle seamlessly integrates with Tremendous, our partner that streamlines the incentive and reward process in Fuel Cycle’s MROC offering.  

Tremendous provides easy and automated ways to streamline the process of distributing and tracking the rewards that you provide to your community members. As members earn points for participating in research, they can redeem them for payouts directly within the community! Tremendous allows you to incentivize your community members by offering payouts via gift card, prepaid card, charity, or cash.  

If you’re interested in seeing how this works, let us show you!  

Key Takeaway 

To summarize, incentives and rewards are essential for creating and maintaining successful online market research communities. They can increase participation, engagement, quality, satisfaction, and insights from the participants. However, they need to be carefully designed and implemented according to some best practices. By doing so, researchers can maximize the value of their online market research communities for both themselves and their participants.