How do paid surveys work?

They say that opinions are not worth much because everybody has them. But did you know that many companies are eagerly waiting to hear what you think about their products and services?

Not only that, they will reward you with money, gift cards and other prizes to show how much they value your opinions.

Why do companies do this? They have figured out that online paid surveys are a cost-efficient way of learning about the spending and buying habits of a certain target audience. When you share your opinions, you help the company make wise marketing decisions. Your input also helps companies create products that people actually want instead of investing money in products that turn out to be total flops. Your valuable feedback also helps to improve goods and services that you already enjoy using.

Why Paid Surveys are a Good Idea

Companies like emailing survey invitations and posting their questions on internet survey sites because they are a fast and easy way to find out what you enjoy doing and what drives your shopping decisions. It does not cost the company much to create an online survey, and it is perhaps the quickest way for them to find out what you truly like and dislike about their products. Surveys help them understand how their products compare to other similar products on the market and why you might be loyal to one brand over another. Your input also helps companies decide how much to charge for their products or services.

Consumers like paid surveys because they are usually quick and easy to complete. You can fill out a paid survey whenever you have a few minutes of free time, as long as you have internet access through your phone, laptop or tablet. Although no one ever became wealthy from completing online surveys, it can be a good way to earn a bit of spending money for very little effort. Even though the immediate rewards for most paid surveys can seem small, they add up over time. In fact, it could be one of your ways to save money every day by taking just a few minutes daily to complete a survey. Some online survey companies offer other creative ways to earn money in your spare time and they are detailed below.

How to Become a Paid Survey Participant

If you are having a difficult time lowering your living costs, then you may be able to justify a five-dollar coffee for a five-dollar survey. You can easily become a paid survey taker today. Most websites that offer paid surveys follow the same basic registration steps.

You will need to provide your name, email address and other requested contact information. It is usually best to create a separate email account for surveys only, as participating tends to result in a lot of spam email. After receiving the reply email, provide the detailed information they need to learn more about you. This may include your sex, race, education level, employment information, mailing address and details about your family members. Be honest with your replies, as this is how the company decides which surveys to send you. For example, you do not want to be inundated with surveys about baby products if you do not have children of your own.

You will then receive emails with links to surveys that fit your demographic profile. You can choose which survey or surveys you wish to take and complete them to receive your reward. Reward systems vary greatly by company. Some companies will mail you a check for a designated amount after you complete a survey or pay you via PayPal. Other companies operate on a points system, where you earn points or dollar values per survey. Once you have a certain number of points, you can go to their online “store” and cash them in for real rewards. These include gift cards for restaurants, stores and gaming system currency. Some online survey companies have a sweepstakes-type of reward system, where participating enters you into a daily or weekly drawing for a big prize. In some cases, you may be able to donate your reward earnings to your favorite charity.

How much you should save using funds from paid surveys greatly depends on how many surveys you fo. To maximize your earning potential, sign up with more than one paid survey site. Not every site will have surveys that fit you on a daily basis. If you have accounts at several paid survey companies, then it can improve your chances of having access to at least one or two good surveys each day.


What types of surveys are available?

The types of surveys available can vary by site. Some websites only offer standard surveys, while others offer a variety of paid research opportunities. The types of surveys you will find include these common types:

  • Standard surveys are the traditional types of questionnaires that come to mind when you think of the term “paid survey.” You simply read a list of questions and click on a multiple-choice answer.
  • Daily surveys are offered on many paid survey websites and, as their name indicates, change daily. Many daily surveys are presented as simple, one-question polls.
  • Polls are an easy way to provide small bits of information in a matter of seconds. Many sites reward poll participation by entering you into a sweepstakes drawing.
  • Video surveys require you to watch movie trailers, news stories, commercials or other video footage, then answer a series of questions at the end.
  • Focus groups pay more than other survey opportunities but require a much bigger chunk of your time. They are often hosted by a moderator who adds you to a video conference with other paid survey participants. To participate in online focus groups, you must have a computer with a webcam and microphone or a video chat app on your phone.

Survey Topics

There are nearly unlimited topics for paid surveys. Because of the variety available, you can choose to participate in the ones that interest you most. However, topics may be limited to the survey taker such as topics regarding retirement by limited to those of a certain age. Most paid surveys represent products and services you encounter daily, such as food, fashion, entertainment, sports, current news, vehicles, travel destinations and more. You may find surveys asking for your feedback on the following kinds of businesses and actions:

  • Health care services
  • Customer satisfaction
  • New product design
  • Testing advertising campaigns
  • New logo feedback
  • New product label feedback
  • Nonprofit feedback
  • Testing new apps

Other Ways to Earn Rewards from Paid Survey Sites

The types of paid surveys listed above are not the only ways to earn money through paid survey websites. Some of the larger websites have expanded to offer creative ways to earn money through a few clicks of your mouse. Look online to find companies offering the following earning opportunities:


  • Games appear on some paid survey websites. Their reward values are low, but they can add up if you normally spend a lot of time playing games online anyway.
  • Shopping is an option for earning reward points on some online paid survey sites. You receive shopping rewards by clicking through to your favorite online retailers through links on the survey sites. You can also receive rewards for signing up for monthly subscription clubs, magazines or TV plans.
  • Product testing is offered by some survey companies. In some cases, you must purchase a product to receive the testing product free. In other cases, the product is mailed to you for free. Products available for testing include cosmetics, razors, cleaning products and snacks.
  • Web surfing can also result in reward accumulation if you use the survey company’s search feature. You can even set the survey company’s search page as your default browser as an easy way to add rewards points to your account.
  • Perform online tasks, such as brief data entry, checking ingredient lists or transcribing audio files. Each offers different payout amounts and only certain paid survey sites offer these tasks. However, they can be another way to add to overall your paid survey earnings while working from home on your own time.
  • Mystery shopping is another service offered by a few paid survey companies. With mystery shopping, you usually receive a meal or product for free (plus a small payment) in exchange for filling out a survey about your shopping or dining experience.


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