Online market research is a big industry. While major market surveys such as political polls tend to still mostly be done over the phone, corporations are using online surveys in a big way and it can be a great way to earn a little pocket money. I’ll cover some of the benefits and pitfalls, then you can decide for yourself if it’s something that’s worth your time.
Hierarchy of Optimisations
If you’re trying to optimise your financial life in order to attain financial independence, there are a number of large wins you can get that will boost you quickly along the path. Doing online surveys isn’t one of them. Reducing your housing, transport and food costs will yield far greater results. Once you’ve done those and are looking for more subtle ways to tinker with your income and outgoings in order to optimise further, that’s where online surveys come in.
So How Much Can I Make?
Just enough to make it worthwhile. Perhaps unsurprisingly, market research companies know their target audience well. They pay just enough to keep a sufficient number of people interested and not a cent more than that. This is not minimum wage work (at least in NZ). It’s maybe half that at best. But, if you do surveys regularly it can yield enough fruit to be a pretty handy side hustle. I’d say I probably earn in the range of $700-$1000 a year doing online surveys. Is it worth the amount of time it takes? Everyone has different demands on their time and only you can decide if it works out for you.
There are essentially two main currencies in the online survey world: vouchers and Paypal. Vouchers are often for common national chains such as Farmers and JB HiFi in NZ, as well as local online stores such as Mighty Ape. All survey companies pay in “points” which are deliberately valued so that it’s very hard to compare their value to points from other survey sites and also so that you feel like you’re earning a lot more than you are, i.e. often 100 to 120 points equate to one actual New Zealand Dollar.
What’s the Verdict?
The best thing about online surveys as a side hustle are that they don’t require any creativity. In fact creativity is actively discouraged as you should NOT lie on these things. This is genuine market research, not fun and games and you will be caught and booted out. So if you’ve always wanted some extra income but feel like you don’t have the imagination to start your own business or make and sell crafts etc. online surveys are an easy thing to do. You can choose how often you want to receive them on most sites, but they will also gradually stop sending them to you if you don’t answer them very often so there is a need to stay reasonably engaged. Sometimes you even get picked for a focus group and can make up to $70-$100 for an hour of your time.
Personally I sign up to as many as I can, but I have a high tolerance for these things that I’ve built up over the years. No doubt some people will find them absolutely not worthwhile so you’ll have to decide for yourself. If you do want to give them a crack, here are some sites that offer online surveys in NZ. Around half of these are referral links so if you do think this article is helpful I’d appreciate it if you used them to sign up:
SmileCity is a straight points for surveys website. It offers Paypal for cashout.
MyOpinions is another straight points for surveys website and sister site to SmileCity. It also offers Paypal for cashout.
Valued Opinions is another points for surveys site. No Paypal here.
Lifepoints is points for surveys and offers Paypal.
Fly Buys offer points for taking Colmar Brunton surveys, so if you’re not already part of Fly Buys it’s worth joining.
Purkle offers dollar amounts for surveys. No Paypal, vouchers only.
If you have an experience of online surveys that you’d like to share, positive or negative, please comment below.
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