14 Tips & Tricks for Paid Online Surveys

Maximize the amount you earn and the number of surveys you can be a part of by following these 14 survey tips and tricks!

14 Tips & Tricks for Paid Online Surveys

Disclaimer: This article may contain referral links.

Surveys can be a great way of earning a bit of extra cash to pay for smaller things like gifts, Netflix/Spotify subscriptions and games. They can even help out with your weekly groceries!

Completing online surveys is easy for the most part. All you need is either a mobile phone, tablet or computer and a willingness to share your opinion.

Granted, not all survey websites are created equal. While there are some great ones out there, there are also some that have... let’s say... a mixed reputation.

Now, I think it’s necessary to say that the idea of earning money from surveys while you sit on the couch drinking a coffee (or something else 😉 ) sounds awesome, but don’t expect a big payday.

In fact, don’t expect to earn anywhere near what employment will pay per hour. Instead, think of it as earning a bit of pocket money or “beer money” (or wine money! 😁).

But anyway, enough of the intro. If you’re jumping into the paid survey world, you’re going to need to equip yourself with some tips and tricks to get the most out of them. So without further ado, here are my top 14 survey-taking tips!

1. Join Multiple Survey Panels

If you want to maximize the amount you earn and maximize the number of surveys that you can be a part of, you’re going to need to join multiple survey panels.

Another advantage of being on several sites is that it gives you the option to be pickier. You can aim for the surveys that pay the most for your time rather than grabbing any that come your way.

If you’re stuck as to which survey websites are best to try out, here are some that you could try. All these are legitimate and have large memberships.

2. Be Honest

They say that honesty is the best policy, and it is... especially for survey panels. Your honesty can have a big impact.

Firstly, it assists with building your reputation. Some panels have a scoring system that works out how much they can trust you. One survey provider describes what their proprietary system does:

"to score and detect fraudulent behaviour among panellist through analysing data points, behaviour and patterns including speeding and straight-lining". - Cint

Secondly, answering honestly increases your likelihood of receiving more relevant and targeted surveys which you won’t get screened out of. This is as opposed to being blocked from surveys because the fraud system detected that you said you were 20 years old one time and 30 on the next survey.

Thirdly, entering false responses can have a significant impact on the accuracy of the survey results. Many dishonest answers can skew data, making it difficult for data analysts to draw meaningful conclusions from the results.

So really, honesty is a crucial part of online survey taking. If, however, a question is making you uncomfortable, that’s a different story - see the point on Consider Your Privacy below.

3. Do the Profile Surveys

This one is important. Usually, when you join a new survey panel, the first thing they ask you to do is to fill out and answer all the profile questions.

It’s very tempting to ignore them and jump straight into the surveys. However, I recommend you spend the time completing your profile as much as possible.

But why?

Because it affects what surveys you qualify for. Having a complete profile is essential for getting surveys that are tailored to your interests. They can then weed out the irrelevant ones which you may get rejected from.

This also means you have a higher chance of finishing most surveys sent to you rather than wasting time filling out half a survey that isn’t applicable to you, only to be disqualified before the end of it.

It may take some time to fill in your profile, but it’ll save you time in the long run.

4. Calculate the Time to Reward

If you’re aiming to maximize your earnings in the least amount of time, you must calculate how much you will be earning for the amount of time you’re putting into each survey.

Let’s look at an example of Swagbucks.

On SwagBucks, 100 SB is equal to $1.00 (We will ignore reward discounts). Therefore, a 15-minute survey that gives you 75 SB would be equal to $3 per hour.

SwagBucks Calculation
60 minutes ÷ 15 mins (survey time) = 4
4 × 75 (reward points) = 300
300 ÷ 100 (value of $1) = $3 p/hr

By calculating the hourly rate of a survey, you can work out which surveys pay you the most for your time.

Armed with this, you can go ahead and target the most rewarding surveys. You may discover some shorter ones actually pay better than the longer ones.

5. Be Quick!

Surveys have participant limits, so if you see a new one pop up and it has good pay, jump on it quickly!

This is especially the case with survey panels like Prolific which usually have small limits on the places available. They can be gone within an hour of the survey going live.

With this in mind, it’s also handy to set up notifications (if they have the feature). You’ll have much better chances of taking them before they expire.

6. Don't Cheat

You've seen that question for the 100th time.... you're sick of it and just want to hit anything a move on! 😡

Yep, it’s frustrating. But, as tempting as checking any box is, don’t do it.

Many survey panels are primed with checks and pattern detection algorithms designed to find people trying to cheat the system by entering nonsensical data.

I recently took on a study from a university that covered a sensitive issue. If people blindly went through that type of survey, it would affect the findings on an important issue.

Don't cheat surveys, you will get caught.

7. Refer a Friend

Many sites have a feature to refer your friends. Referrals are a quick and easy way to get bonus points or money for yourself and your friend!

Keep in mind, though, that likely not all your friends will appreciate being referred. Whoops, wrong John! 🤦‍♂️

Be selective! Only invite those who you think would love to try your survey panel.

Read the conditions of any referral bonuses. Some advertise large sums like $20 per person. You may not receive that until they've completed a number of surveys themselves.

8. Consider your Privacy

Seriously. Keep this at the forefront of your mind. It’s not always “what brand do you like and why” questions.

Surveys can be very personal, even going into your medical history and other intimate details of your relationships and finances. If at any time you are uncomfortable with a question, leave the survey.

Be sure to read the Privacy Policy of the Survey Panel you are using and of the survey you are taking. Learn how your answers to questions will be used and how they will be shared and evaluated.

Check if the survey keeps you anonymous, if it doesn't, I personally would not recommend proceeding with that type of survey.

9. Use Idle Time Wisely

One obvious thing you need for surveys is time.

Higher rewards often mean longer surveys. Surveys take anywhere from 5 minutes to upwards of 25 minutes to complete (I’ve even seen some that take 1 hour!) So how can you maximize your time without taking too much of it away from other things?

The key is to look for opportunities at idle times. As an example, times you might be idle could be while:

  • Watching a movie/TV series.
  • On a work lunch break.
  • Taking the bus, train or Uber.
  • Winding down before bed.
  • Waiting for an appointment or to pick up the kids.
I personally like to take them when watching TV or streaming something. I can usually complete 2 or 3 surveys by the time I'm finished watching.

These are just some ideas. I’m sure you get the picture. If you do this, you won’t be taking away time from the necessary things to do surveys.

10. Use a Separate Email

Now, even though this is all the way down at tip 10, I highly recommend doing this because survey websites like to send you emails. These emails may notify you of new surveys you qualify for or just be pings to entice you back to the site.

Either way, if you join several websites, expect to be getting regular emails from them. That’s why I highly recommend creating an email address specifically for use with survey websites to keep them out of your main inbox.

Another good reason - If a survey panel becomes compromised and data is publicly leaked, your profile information won’t be linked to your personal email address. It also means you can check sites like haveibeenpwned to see if any sites have been compromised specifically.

11. Don't wait to get your first reward

If you're trying out a survey website for the first time, try redeeming your reward as soon as you can. Why?

The reason is some people can face issues redeeming their rewards. Their credits will be deducted and their reward... goes missing.

This can be an issue on legitimate Survey Panels.

Sometimes it's system errors, sometimes it's a user typo and sometimes it's an overzealous fraud bot. Regardless, it's best to test the redemption process before building up a big balance.

It's sad to see reviews where users have built up big balances after weeks or months of surveys only then to go through a very frustrating redemption process.

Plus, who doesn't like getting a quick reward? 😊

12. Disable Ad Blockers (If needed)

Ad Blockers (such as uBlock Origin) typically block advertisements, cookies and scripts that track you. It helps you have a little privacy and stop that one thing you Google'd from following you around on every site you visit thereafter 😒.

You might be thinking, but didn't you just say Consider your Privacy? Yep, I know... saying disable ad blockers sounds like a contradiction, but I'll explain.

As good as they are, they can conflict with surveys. Sometimes they can stop them from loading and prevent media from displaying. In the worst-case scenario, they can stop you from getting credited.

My advice is to try surveys with your blocker still enabled and see if they work, but if you're facing problems, temporarily disable it for the problematic survey. Some websites may show a warning when the blockers might cause problems. For example, PrizeRebel displays a warning stating "Ad blockers can stop you from receiving credit when you complete surveys or offers!".

So this is something to check if you're facing problems.

13. Turn off your VPN (If you use one)

If you’re not sure what a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is, you’re probably not running one. Essentially, VPNs are used to hide your location and, to a varying degree, your identity.

Using VPNs often causes issues completing surveys, as they will trigger fraud detection systems that check your “supposed” location against the information you enter into surveys, as one example.

Some survey panels keep track of VPN proxy networks and block you from their services upfront.

Best turn them off before completing a survey or else you run the risk of being flagged by the system and possibly banned for being in breach of terms.

14. Take Advantage of Offers and Tests

The last tip of this guide is to take advantage of any extra methods of earning the survey panel offers. Not all sites offer these things, but check for:

  • Video surveys
  • Interviews
  • Product testing & reviews
  • Offers to download games & apps
  • Scanning receipts
  • Watching videos
  • Quick polls
  • Cashback programs

Earlier, I also mentioned referring as another good way, so don't forget that one!

The more features you take advantage of, the more you could potentially earn.

I hope you've found these tips and tricks useful and hope they can help you get more rewards from completing surveys.

If you have some of your own tips for doing surveys, feel free to drop me an email and share your ideas! 😁