How Much Do Online Surveys Pay? (Updated 2019)

There are many ways of making money online.  You can create a blog, teach someone a new skill,  or even by your opinions through an online survey. You may have heard people claim to earn tons of money through paid surveys. But is it really true?

So how much do online surveys pay and are they really worth your time?  In this post, we’ll look at the things you should consider when answering that question.  Let's get started!

With online surveys, there are a few factors that determine how much money you earn.  First is the number of survey panels you join. Then you have to consider how many surveys you will actually be eligible for.  And finally how much time you have to spend taking the actual surveys. 

It would be awesome if earning was as easy as just signing up for as many surveys as you can.  The reality though is that there are a lot of different factors that determine how many surveys you can complete. To help better understand that let's look at how online survey companies work, what's common among them, and if they are really worth your time or not.  

How Much Do Online Surveys Pay

Why do companies use online survey panels?

If you go back in time about a decade or two, surveys used to be conducted over the phone. But with everyone being digitally connected, surveys can now take place online using what’s called a survey panel.  

So what is a survey panel?  It’s a group of people who have signed up to participate in an online survey and provided details on their background that can help companies doing market research.

Companies love this because facilitating market research online is way more efficient than calling thousands of people over the phone.  The survey panel can be quickly engaged by to participate in a survey simply by sending an email and seeing who responds.

The market research companies who conduct these surveys depend upon having a broad group of survey panels that covers all types of demographics like age, gender, and location. How well you fit into the demographic profile they are looking for is actually one of the biggest factors in determining how much money a person can earn with an online survey

​How much do online surveys pay?

You’ve probably seen places online where they are claiming you can make big money with surveys. I saw one post claiming you can earn $4000+ a month just by taking surveys.  No way. Those types of promotions have been happening for so long, that even if it's true that people do earn from surveys, who would blame you for not trusting it.  

There are many legitimate market research companies that pay participants to take surveys. Usually, these are large agencies that manage the whole process of gathering a diverse survey panel, distributing surveys based on the target audience, and paying the survey takers once they are done.  These payments vary depending on the company, survey panel, and frequency. Here are a few examples of the rates provided by some of the well-known agencies.

  1. MySoapBox – $0.75 – $1.50 per survey
  2. Branded Survey – $3 per survey
  3. Pinecone Research – $3 per survey
  4. QuickThoughts – $0.50 - $3 per survey
  5. Consumer Opinion Institute – $1-$5 per survey

As you likely picked up on some survey companies provides a range of payouts that consider their own reputation, the clients need, and how specific the survey panel has to be.

It’s important to do your research because there are a lot of survey companies you can work with and it’s good to know a little about them before you get started.  

​How can you earn more?

First, you have to pick a few to register with.   Each one will then have you fill out a questionnaire that asks about things such as age, country, interests etc.  

Before you register, make sure you look at their FAQ’s, terms and condition, and any info they have about how they work, getting paid, etc.  This can help you determine if they are a company you want to be working with. There are some scam survey companies out there that are just looking for your personal information, so be careful.

Once you’ve signed up. give them a try for a few weeks. If you are not getting any offers for potential surveys, move to another website and try your luck there. Work this process until you have a solid foundation of survey panels you are part of.  Just be patient as this does take some time.

You may also get a lot of email request regarding survey offers which can overwhelm your inbox. In order to control the volume of requests and junk email, I’d recommend you create an email address specifically for survey companies, and cancel your membership from any company you stop working with.

How do demographics affect my earning?

Even with hard work and dedication, a big factor in determining how much you earn is your demographic profile. Companies are looking to conduct research on specific target audiences.  This could be something like teenagers in the southeast or a middle-aged female from Chicago.

During your initial sign up, you will be provided with a questionnaire that determines your specific profile information. The more information you provide, the better they can target you with eligible offers. so be as specific as possible.

That profile information is then collected by the company conducting the surveys. This is used by an automated system which identified eligible participants from a large pool of registered users. If you are not getting many survey offers, it might be because your demographics aren’t needed right now which is common.

​But wait...there is a catch!

As with most things in life, there are a few catches to taking online surveys you should be aware of.

A lot of time can be wasted

Even when you are getting good offers you will frequently feel like you are wasting time. With that in mind, you should never treat this as a  job. It’s more a great way to earn extra cash. So don’t be fooled by claims you will get rich overnight. That’s just marketing and hype. In reality, survey taking can be a long and involved process.   

It requires you to answer difficult questions which are checked against the intended target specification of the surveys. Often times one question can disqualify you making it hard to complete many surveys leaving you empty-handed.

According to skillcrush.com, it takes ten minutes to complete most surveys.  In some cases, you will earn a few dollars, which is great. Many times though you won’t earn anything and leave slightly annoyed. This is why it’s important to be clear on your own goals.

You won’t get paid instantly

Most survey agencies don’t pay you upfront.  It’s usually done once you’ve completed several surveys and built up a balance with them that meets their payout threshold.   It’s not uncommon to take a few months to reach the threshold, so it’s good to do some research to find that out before you start.

Again...surveys requires time

Almost every survey will show you the estimated time of completion, usually 20-25 minutes.  In reality, the time required to complete the survey is longer than that. Prov Tripi shared recent an experience with taking a recent survey from Jetblue.  According to her,  the survey conducted by JetBlue was meant to take 25 minutes but took closer to an hour.  That’s a big time investment for many people, so it’s something to keep in mind and is probably the biggest drawback in online survey work.

Are online surveys worth your time?

By now you have learned how much do online survey pays and some things you need to consider about your earning. The most important thing is to approach online surveys with open eyes.  Yes, you can make money, but not you won’t get rich.

They are great tools and worth a try but only if you are treating them as something fun to do on the side. If you’re interested in learning more check out our comprehensive guide to taking online surveys for money.

About the Author

Hello, I'm Ryan Rollins. I've been passionate about personal finance and entrepreneurship for as long as I can remember. After earning my Bachelors of Science in Business and Marketing, I soon found myself at my first software start-up. That experience led to me earning my MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville, and eventually to a career in the fintech industry focusing on educating consumers about the importance of being financially resilient. Learn more about me here, and you can also follow me on twitter @TMPF_Ryan and Linkedin.

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