Choosing the right rewards for participants is a crucial part of ensuring audience participation in your market research efforts, but how is it done?

Consumer preferences vary according to their demographics and personal interests, so it can be nearly impossible to pick a physical gift that will appeal to everyone. Market researchers are increasingly turning to gift cards as a versatile reward for research participants.

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Here are some factors for you to consider when choosing the best reward for your market research campaign:

What is the age demographic of your gift card recipient?

Age plays an important factor when choosing any type of reward for a research participant. It’s especially true when selecting gift cards. Digital media and gaming brands like iTunes and Xbox are typically more popular with younger recipients.

Older recipients tend to prefer rewards from houseware, clothing and pharmaceutical retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and CVS. So, keep your recipient’s age in mind, because it will help you determine which brands will be better received.

Where is your recipient located?

Many retailers who offer gift cards restrict the use of those cards to a single country. That means it’s a good idea to group participants by country, and offer a selection of cards from that particular region as rewards.

Their location may influence their preferences, too: city-dwellers have access to a wide variety of retail shops, but participants in rural locations may prefer gift cards they can use online.

Even within the intended country for a single brand, though, there are differences in popularity depending on where the recipient resides. For example, Cabela's is a popular U.S. sporting goods chain on the east coast, but it has fewer physical stores on the West Coast, and not a single store in California. Consequently, participants on the West Coast may be less familiar with the brand, and therefore less likely to claim the reward.

Most retailers can accommodate customers all over the country by delivery, though recipients may be less likely to choose a brand if it is uncommon in their particular area. Including online retailers like Amazon in gift options is a great way to offer gifts in a broader range of locations.

Sending a gift card to a mobile phone?

Certain brands like Target require users to load their gift card on a smartphone before redeeming in-store. This mobile integrated feature can be attractive to Apple or Android users, who are more likely to be drawn to brands like iTunes and Google Play, while non-smartphone users prefer cards that can be redeemed without a mobile device.

How much should you pay a research participant?

Value can affect the choice of brand or product as well. Some brands, such as Starbucks, are very popular in the $5–10 value range; however, the more expensive a gift card becomes, the more likely consumers will opt for retailers whose products tend to come with a larger price tag, such as health, beauty, clothing and housewares.

Sometimes, recipients may want multiple choices. Our “Gift of Choice” feature allows senders to select more than one retail brand per gift.

Sign up for a free Giftbit account.

On top of providing recipients with more flexible rewards, these multiple options allow researchers to gain insight into which reward is the most popular, thereby determining which reward to offer in future marketing efforts.

How can you send and track the gift card rewards?

Delivery Method

Once you know who your target audience is and where you’ll find them, provide the rewards according to the communication method that best aligns with the participants’ needs. We offer the flexibility of generating rewards in an email or a gift link. Links can be included in a text message, direct message over social media, or even printed on paper.


It’s easy to keep track of what you’ve sent, too. Our Reports section provides senders with a CSV download of their account activity and gift history. Included in the results are details on which brands were claimed. A quick reorganization of the stats can tell researchers which brands are most popular with their participants, which can help shape future decisions.

Ready to reward your participants? Give Giftbit a try!

Learn more about Giftbit.