How Paid Survey Sites Work?
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How Paid Survey Sites Work?

EPF October 27, 2014

Are you considering making money with paid surveys?  You’re not alone; it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that attracts thousands of new survey takers every month.   There are countless survey sites online each offering to pay their members for taking surveys on a variety of topics, but why? How can they afford to pay you for this information..?

It’s a lot simpler than you might think; it’s not because they are out to trick you, or scam you either.

The reason that survey sites are able to pay you for taking their surveys is because they get paid for your responses.  Large companies rely on the data gained from survey takers to improve their products and services for the future.  So they pay survey panels to conduct this research on their behalf.


What survey sites will ask you and why

  • Your address & contact information – So that they can send you prizes, checks and can tell advertisers that they have members in the right area they are looking to question.
  • Gender, date of birth, education, employment – These types of questions help the survey site to determine what demographics you fall under, for example if you work in a technology-based role then you will be more interested and more qualified to answer technology related surveys..
  • Your household – It’s important for survey panels to ask you the makeup of your household and who makes most of the purchasing decisions as companies want to know that the people giving their opinions are the types of people that would buy their products or services.

Let’s say that Microsoft are launching a new games console, they’ve got an idea of how it might look, and what it should do but that’s just their opinion.  What they really need is to find out what ordinary people think, whether they would buy it and what sort of features they would expect.

So companies pay survey panels for this information, they might say that they want to survey 100 people between the ages of 18-35 for example.  Or they might say that they want to survey those with young children because they are launching a new children’s toy for Christmas.   Whatever it is, don’t worry if you don’t get accepted this time, there are always plenty of more surveys that you can apply for.

Remember the more information you give a survey site about you, the more relevant surveys they can send you.  One way that we suggest to increase your chances of surveys you qualify for is by registering to more than one survey site.


When you might not qualify for a survey

When you go to respond to a survey invitation this is one of the reasons that you will likely be turned away, not because you “aren’t good enough” or because the survey site doesn’t want you.  But because the advertiser has a limited budget, they want to be sure that they are getting the right responses from the right people so you may sometimes find that after responding to a survey invitation you don’t get through!

Try not to let this discourage you, with surveys there are often bigger paying opportunities just around the corner, focus groups, product tests and so on…


When companies pay more

Depending on the market research needs and budget, companies might sometimes pay for more specific data or for different kinds of research information.  For example as well as ordinary surveys they might want people to:

  • Physically test their product. – This is where product testing comes in.
  • Take part in more intensive focus groups
  • Give their opinions on promotional videos


Why payments might take longer

You might be wondering why payments can take a little while to process with some survey panels, this is because the money has to be passed through two hands, first from the company paying the research, and then the survey panel to pay to you.  They might not be paid until all applicants have completed the survey and the results have been verified.


So there you have it, a short guide on how paid surveys work, hopefully you now understand them a little more and have a bit more confidence in deciding whether to start making money with them or not.

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