18 Nov

Paid Online Surveys – How They Work And How You Can Make Money

taking paid online surveys on a laptopThe concept of paid surveys isn’t anything new even if you’re hearing about it here for the first time. In this article, we will explain in depth exactly how paid online surveys work and how you can make money by taking them.

Companies have been doing market research by collecting consumer opinions for a long time now in order to find out the wants and needs of their potential and existing customers. Many companies spend lots of money conducting online research to gain a better understanding of what their customer’s desire the most.

From the business perspective, spending money on discovering what's in high demand in their selected market improves sales and ultimately yields greater profit. This is the driving idea behind paid online surveys. Because businesses are willing to pay for polls to be conducted, taking paid surveys can be a legitimate way to make some extra cash online.

These paid surveys are a win-win situation for both the target market and the companies providing them. The companies get valuable market research from studying their target audience, and the participants get paid for their efforts, either in cash, gift cards, freebies, discounts or other rewards.

If you want to get started with taking surveys or are interested in what goes on behind the scenes to getting you your paycheck, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will tell you all you need to know about the reasons companies value your opinion, how paid online surveys work, how you can earn more by doing surveys, and how to avoid getting scammed by fake websites.

Why Big Companies Need Your Input

Companies choose to spend on market research because it provides them hard data upon which they can rely to make important decisions. This data can come in the form of numbers or as subjective opinions about a product or service. For example, “How many shoes do the average working professionals buy each year?” or “What kind of shoes do working professionals like to wear to work?”

paid survey site data

Once the data has been collected, it is analyzed to find out consumer behavior and other buying trends that can help the company make informed decisions on how to formulate, design, and market their own products. At the end of the day, every company wants to sell products that people want to buy and receiving genuine consumer feedback helps them to analyze their shortcomings and improve their existing lineup of goods.

There are two basic stages of conducting market research – one is primary and the other secondary. But oddly enough, the secondary part comes first as it uses existing resources to dig up information regarding the product types a company wants to sell and the current market demand for that product. These existing resources can be anything: magazine articles, newspapers, government statistics, social media patterns, the opinion of industry experts, etc.

After a company has successfully gathered all existing market research available, then it’s time to move on to the primary portion. Primary research offers data that a company may generate through interviews, focus groups, and paid online surveys. As we discussed earlier, the primary research collected is either quantitative or qualitative – numerical or opinionated.

Qualitative research focuses on getting in-depth to finding out answers to particular concerns through specific survey questions. Quantitative research, on the other hand, takes the vast amount of data collected through more general survey questions and organizes it into statistics. These statistics are useful when it comes to identifying the ongoing trend, market conditions, and buying habits of the consumer and future buying habits.

These paid online surveys are conducted over the Internet through email, social media platforms, or especially via certain websites that offer some incentive to the participants.

Survey site participants are generically called the survey panel in this context, and in terms of statistics, a larger and more targeted survey panel is set to yield more accurate results. If companies know that their target customer demographic is unmarried men between the ages of 30 and 50, they’d want to survey as many men in that demographic as possible. This is why users will occasionally be rejected from a survey after filling out a qualification poll. Through this method, companies can get an accurate assessment of what their target customer thinks about a certain product.

There are lots of ways in which companies can find survey panels. Paid online surveys administered online are just one of them but this method is the most popular because it's cheaper and faster than other modes. Research has shown that email has a greater incidence rate than other methods, meaning people are more likely to respond to survey emails than they are to phone calls or post mail. This is why many survey sites maintain a mailing list for survey invitations.

How Survey Websites Work

surveys act as market research

The function of survey websites is to act as a middle-man between companies who want feedback and consumers willing to give it (in exchange for rewards, of course). Companies from around the world, from the U.S. to Australia, approach the admins of these websites to arrange deals. These companies pay the survey sites to administer and promote their surveys. In turn, the survey site pays it's users a cut for participating and providing feedback. Some of the most popular survey taking websites include MySurvey, Swagbucks, and Vindale Research. To see more, check out our complete list of the Top 10 Legit Paid Survey Sites!

These sites usually offer their panel a pre-set amount (anywhere from $.50 to $5) which is credited to the account upon completion of the survey. The user's profits are either rolled out on a scheduled basis, usually biweekly or monthly, or in some cases, after the panel member has accrued a certain balance, say $25. Of course, PayPal is one of the most popular ways of getting paid online. Some sites also mail checks or offer gift card codes.

Customer feedback has always been an inseparable part of product development, and some of the biggest companies in the world have built their empire by listening to their target audience and giving them what they want. Through paid online surveys, the enterprises can hear from visitors who are considering buying their products, not just those who are already customers. Ultimately all of the insights gained can lead to better growth for the business.

Other Ways to Make Money on Survey Websites Besides Paid Online Surveys

Most survey sites offer lots of ways to make money other than survey taking! The most popular websites maintain their following not only by offering various types of incentives but also by providing plenty of different and engaging ways for members to earn money. The purpose of these offers is to turn you into a loyal and active member of their community.

So, what are the different rewards and ways of earning on survey sites? Here are some of the most common:

Cashback shopping: Who doesn’t love getting cash back? It's a great incentive for shopping because it feels like you're being paid to do so. It's usually best to use the offers only when you were already intending to buy the product. If you love saving money at discount stores or at places that offer cash back, there are a lot of survey sites out there that will open a lot more offers to you. Survey sites can offer cash back because they're paid a portion of the profit for referring you.

This is commonly known as affiliate marketing, and it is definitely a very profitable win-win situation that benefits both the websites and the survey participant.

Referral program: Referral programs are a common aspect of thousands of websites as they are a great way to get new registered members. As you may already know, some of the biggest e-commerce giants as well as other companies offer rewards and bonuses to users for referring their website to their friends and family. All you have to do is subscribe to their referral program and share a link to your friends.

When they join the website through clicking that link, you’ll be rewarded either with a fixed sum or a percentage of your friend's earnings. Referrals are a great way to incentivize users to become more active members and to promote the site to others.

Searching the web: Some survey websites like Swagbucks offer rewards when you download and use their search engine. Essentially you're being paid for the ads you see when browsing the web. While this isn't usually the highest paying option, you can make some extra cash doing something you probably already spend hours on.

This does seem easy but you should be cautious about downloading software to your computer from any site. Make sure that it's not a scam before you do so.

Playing games online: if you like playing games, why not turn the hobby into a moneymaking activity? There are tons of websites out there that reward their loyal fan base with points when the complete a game or play for a certain amount of time. These points can then be exchanged for real money. Sites are able to do this by sharing the profit they make from ads as an incentive for users to visit the site.

This can be a lucrative way to add some extra bucks to your account even though the amount is generally quite meager. This method is usually not worth your time unless you genuinely enjoy playing games.

Watching video ads: Video ads certainly aren't uncommon in the online world. While generally they're a hassle getting in the way of the content you want to watch, many survey sites have turned them into a way for members to make money. It's pretty easy to make a tab, set a playlist of paid ads going, mute it, and carry on with browsing the internet or taking surveys.

This is pretty clever, and easy way for you make some cash during the time you spend watching cat videos or increase your profits during the time you spend taking paid surveys.

How to Spot a Scam

You can always rely on us to give honest survey site reviews as well as advice on which companies not to trust. That said, if you're interested in taking paid online surveys, it's important to know how to spot a scam for yourself.

Illegitimate companies and scammers have a simple objective. They're after your information in order to get your money. It's much more common for internet scammers to target hundreds of people for small sums rather than a single person for thousands. This is because demanding large sums for a product that is somewhat unclear is an obvious red flag to most.

When offered a grand promise for a seemingly small price, many more are likely to fall for it. Being human, the idea of paying very little for great return is incredibly enticing. This is the leading idea behind offers like “Earn $200 every day! Just $10 for access to our exclusive list of high paying surveys.”  When entering the arena of paid online surveys, it's important to be wary of any offer like this that seems too good to be true.

If you're uncertain whether a company is legit or not, you can do a quick online search on the site you're interested in for reviews, rating, or customer experiences. This information can be very informative when checking out a new site.

If you can't find any information on other sites or forums, there are some things about the website you can check for yourself. The first thing we recommend is to look for a privacy policy. Having one on the site that is easily accessible to users is a clear sign of credibility. It shows that the company is at least making some promises as to how your information will be used. Lacking a privacy policy is a clear red flag and often signifies a scam.

You can also check for an ‘about' or ‘contact' page. Scammers will usually omit these. And at the least, you'll be able to learn more about the company you're getting involved with.

Scammers use a diverse variety of methods to allure and dupe unsuspecting victims. Some ads and offers look so real that even the most seasoned internet veterans can be tricked. However, many scams target people new to the market who may be more susceptible to “get rich quick” schemes because they're unaware of what you can reasonably make taking surveys. It is incredibly uncommon to be offered more than $10 to complete a 20 minute survey. Not that one offering that or more is definitely a scam, it's just important to be cautious. While some experienced and well credited survey takers receive legitimate offers paying that pay big money, if you're new to survey taking you should definitely steer clear of anyone offering you hundreds to complete a survey.

Avoiding scams online is pretty easy once you’ve become familiar with how false ads work and have developed realistic expectation about how much money you can make for the time you spend. On the surface, making money taking paid online surveys may seem like a long shot, but it certainly is possible and many people enjoy the benefits of taking part in them. So don’t be afraid! If you want to try it, read some of our reviews and sign up for the ones that look interesting to you!


Companies use paid online surveys to gather legitimate data about the behavior of potential customers. Based on this, they can design, produce, and ultimately market their products more effectively. Because understanding the consumer is one of the most vital tasks of every industry, online market research is a valuable source of data that can aid in growing and developing businesses.

Paid survey sites exist to provide a wide demographic of consumers to act as a panel for many different companies who want to conduct online market. Consumers are enticed to take sign up and take these surveys by making a cut of the site's profit.

By regularly spending time taking and responding to paid online surveys, you can make a decent amount of money. It's important to read reviews and research sites before you register in order to avoid scams. Fortunately, we're here to help you with that.

Just keep in mind that anything that makes unrealistic promises for very little work have a very high chance of turning out to be scams. Stay away from these fake survey sites and register only on the legitimate ones that value your opinion and your position as a member of their survey panel.

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