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Paid online surveys — how to make money from surveys and usability testing?

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By entering phrases into a search engine such as — taking surveys, paid surveys, paid surveys online, and filling surveys work — you can easily find research companies that offer the opportunity to make money by taking surveys.

Most often, paid surveys concern marketing research in which respondents are asked to express their needs and preferences and share their experiences.

In most cases, paid online surveys involve studying the attitudes and preferences of consumers.

Filling out surveys online and making money by taking surveys has become so popular that a potential respondent who would like to earn some extra cash will have plenty of options to choose from. There are at least a dozen of renowned research companies in the market.

However, the question of how to make money by taking online surveys can also be answered differently.

Filling out surveys or participating in consumer research is one of many options to make money online.

There is a very attractive alternative — User Testing/Usability Testing.

Participation in usability testing or user experience research of websites or mobile applications is becoming increasingly popular and accessible.

Primarily because of dedicated software that allows people to become respondents, create an account on a research platform, and take part in usability testing.

What is the difference between making money through paid surveys and participating in usability testing?

Is the payment for filling out surveys as attractive as the compensation offered for usability testing?

What does taking surveys look like? What does participating in usability testing/user testing involve?

If you're interested in making money or taking part in usability testing, this article is a perfect guide.

We cordially invite you to read on!

We Audit. We Research. We Design.

What does filling out surveys involve?

A short answer reads — it's very simple.

The path to starting an additional job begins by finding a credible and renowned research company that looks for respondents.

Surveys, opinion research, and marketing research are often performed; hence it's easy to find an additional income source within them.

Did You Know...

Leading research companies offer potential respondents the possibility of registration in the survey panel (access to paid surveys) and provide more or less regular participation in research.

Depending on the profile of a research company, and its scope of research services, it's necessary to provide various information during the creation of the respondent's profile.

It's mandatory to provide basic demographic information. It's necessary because socio-demographic information is one of the most basic criteria according to which respondents are chosen for a given survey.

The frequency of participation in a study depends on the market demand for studying a given category of respondents (e.g., women aged 50+ living in cities exceeding 100 000 residents who have a high school or university education).

Paid surveys - enroll

A respondent can receive a few or, in extreme cases, dozens of invitations monthly.

Filling out a survey involves clicking on a link that should be delivered by e-mail or be available in the respondent's account.

Surveys vary in terms of length and the level of complexity. Participation in a study involves the need to spare a few or several minutes on average.

Did You Know...

The time needed to complete a survey is relatively short, translating into the amount of compensation, which on average doesn't exceed a few dollars for one survey.

We won't discuss whether the amount, in this case, means better "financial quality." We only want to signal that usability testing from the perspective of the respondent's earnings is a much more attractive alternative.

How to make money by taking online surveys?

The way to make money by completing paid surveys online is pretty simple. You need to have a computer (increasingly often, surveys can also be completed on mobile devices), access to the Internet, and an active account on a research platform.

The registration of a new user is straightforward and quick. The more professional the research company is, the more expanded and convenient forms of filling out surveys and calculating compensation it offers for its respondents.

Paid surveys - Enroll platform

Is every platform worth using? As in every industry, the market consists of various entities. So you need to be vigilant.

The credibility and trustworthiness of a research company can be checked by looking at its customer structure (their amount, rank, size), market experience, and the opinions and recommendations of customers expressed in the form of popular testimonials.

The opinions of the respondents themselves are also crucial.

A significant indicator of a research company's integrity is the transparency of offered wages.

What is the best place for completing surveys?

The above question should be combined with another: Is it even worth taking surveys? The answer to both is straightforward. The willingness to participate in research, the expected earnings, amount of available time are naturally very individual matters.

Did You Know...

If you treat paid online surveys as an additional job, an extra source of income, and you don't make your financial condition depend on it; then it's certainly worth looking for a research company that pays for completing surveys.

It's best to complete surveys on platforms of companies that, in a clear and specific way, describe the terms of cooperation.

Primarily you need to pay attention to the compensation model (in points, money), in what way, and how regularly it's delivered.

It's worth noting whether a given company offers an option to install a dedicated mobile application that significantly facilitates participation in research.

UserTesting platform

Completing paid surveys with mobile applications allows you to earn money, for example, during traveling, commuting, or waiting in line in various offices.

Thanks to an app, "idle time" can be productive and profitable.

What does the work with surveys involve?

As the name suggests, online paid surveys involve answering questions from questionnaires.

Often respondents are asked to choose a specific answer from available options.

Sometimes they need to answer open-ended questions. In such situations, they need to formulate it by themselves with a few sentences.

Paid online surveys can have many forms, and they concern one chosen subject. In such a case, they're called single-subject surveys.

When a questionnaire contains questions regarding multiple subjects, then you deal with an omnibus survey.

It's also worth keeping in mind that...

Every professional survey should have a headline describing the research goal, scope, and subject of study. A study should also have a name.

UserTesting website

The headline should also contain information about anonymity, the company that performs the study, and for who the study is conducted.

The headline should also inform respondents how the survey should be filled out and how long it will take to complete.

What does participation in usability testing involve?

Roughly speaking, user experience research and usability testing of websites or mobile applications involves checking whether a given site or app is easy for users to use.

Usability testing focuses on discovering the reactions, emotions, assessments, and attitudes of digital product users.

Usability testing - userfeel platform

During it, respondents are often asked to perform simple tasks (e.g., finding a product in a design of an online store through an internal search engine).

Besides tasks, respondents are requested to fill out simple and quick surveys or provide verbal answers.

Did You Know...

User testing/usability testing, like surveys, is often conducted online.

Respondents who participate in it need to have a computer and access to the Internet. Usability testing lasts between a few to several dozen minutes.

Completing paid online surveys vs. Participation in usability testing — comparison

Let's start with what these types of research have in common.

Filling out online surveys and participating in usability testing involve specific individuals who are selected based on defined criteria.

Respondents who participate in surveys and usability testing need to be representatives of a target group. A target group is a group of people to whom a product or service is offered.

They need to have characteristics that are important for the commissioner of the research. For example, it can be a pet food manufacturer or an online store owner.

Often it's a collection of traits and conditions, thanks to which research results are more useful. It's very rare for random people to take part in surveys and usability testing.

Studying random people misses the point. Studying people who don't shop online or don't have pets makes sense only in very particular situations.

To a certain degree, a common denominator of these types of research is their goal.

Did You Know...

Surveys are sometimes used to improve products or services. User testing and usability testing are mainly used to improve and optimize a website, mobile application, or digital service.

Both types of research can be conducted online from any place with access to the Internet. Both types of research guarantee the anonymity of respondents.

Both offer compensation, but the amount of it is significantly different. We'll write bout the money in a moment.

In the case of both types of research (completing surveys and usability testing), specialized software can be used.

After registering, respondents have access to studies. They're invited to participate in them each time if their characteristics meet the adopted criteria.

Usabiity testing - userlytics platform

Research platforms are increasingly made available both in the desktop and mobile channels.

The last important common part worth mentioning is the increased focus of research tools on the needs of respondents.

More and more companies are offering software that makes completing surveys online more convenient.

The situation looks similar in the case of usability testing.

There are also apps on the market that allow you to set up accounts and take part in usability testing.

Thus on the Internet, you can make money by completing surveys and participating in user/usability testing.

Let's move on to the differences.

To conduct a survey, creating a questionnaire presented to users after clicking on a link in an e-mail or research platform is necessary.

User testing, usability testing usually requires creating a research environment (e.g., a prototype of a website) or it's performed on already working sites or mobile applications.

A survey usually takes between a few and a dozen minutes. Long surveys that last several dozen minutes are rare.

Completing surveys doesn't involve any tasks. Even the most profitable online surveys of renowned companies don't have them.

Although respondents are sometimes asked to familiarize themselves with visual, audio, or audio-visual materials, they don't have to perform specific tasks.

Usability testing doesn't only involve answering questions but also performing specific tasks.

In some studies, respondents have to comment on their actions aloud (so-called thinking aloud protocol) while completing a task.

Did You Know...

Usability testing is based on a specific scenario determining its course, stages, and elements. In the case of surveys, it's about structuring them and the logic behind the sequence of questions. Thus, the order in both types of research is not random but results from different logics, necessities, goals, and methodological assumptions.

Usability testing can be conducted in a moderated form (with the participation of a UX researcher who leads it) or without a moderator, facilitator.

In the second case, a respondent performs given actions on a research platform, and all instructions are presented in a written form.

Online surveys aren't conducted with interviewers or facilitators.

Participation in research is work. As everybody knows, work can be interesting or boring.

Usability testing is more interesting for most respondents because it doesn't only involve answering questions but also acting. There is more "going on" during them.

The time spent participating in usability testing for many people is not a "waste of time." Many respondents see usability testing as an exciting and inspiring activity that they will gladly repeat.

The results of surveys are most often processed using various types of software for calculations and statistical analysis.

In usability testing, methods and statistical tools aren't used or are used very rarely; they're not the essence of this research method.

The motivation for participating in a study also makes a difference. Naturally, the strongest one is financial motivation, but money it's not the only important thing in human life.

It's also motivating to know that participation in a study serves something. Usability testing gives a sense that participation in them is in the best interest of a respondent.

All the more so since there is a chance that the respondent will use a given website or mobile app in the future.

So they can "make it" a little more friendly and suitable. To some extent, by taking part in usability testing, a respondent looks after themselves.

Surveys are rarely about direct benefits for a respondent. Often this type of research is pretty one-sided and serves the interests of the company that commissions it.

Surveys are a part of quantitative research, meaning that a respondent is just another entry in a database.

Usability testing, which is usually performed with qualitative methods, is much more individualized.

All the more so since to obtain reliable, credible, accurate, and useful results, only five respondents are necessary and not a few hundred or thousand people.

We left the best for the last. MONEY!

Making money with surveys vs. Making money with usability testing

If you have not encountered paid surveys before, you might not know that they don't bring a fortune.

The survey compensation ranges from a few to several dollars (depending on the length).

They take less time, but completing paid surveys doesn't provide financial satisfaction.

Usability testing - userlytics website

Compensation for usability testing can amount to a few hundred dollars. It's much more financially attractive.

Although usability testing requires more time (paid online surveys require less time), every minute spent on it is much more valuable in terms of money.

Where is it possible to make money with usability testing? Practical tips

Usability/user testing is becoming increasingly necessary, which not only large global brands are aware of, but also organizations with smaller potential and reach.

Did You Know...

Along with the growing demand for UX research, especially usability testing, specialized research platforms have appeared on the market. They offer research tools and teams of UX researchers.

They aim their offers at respondents who, by creating an account, have an opportunity to make money by testing web and mobile applications and digital services.

Swagbucks website

On the global market, over a dozen platforms can offer participation in usability testing even a few times a week for people who are fluent in English (C1 level minimum, C2 level is welcome).


One of the most renowned platforms offering additional earnings for usability testing is UserTesting. Adults with access to a computer and the Internet can become usability testers.

Cooperation with UserTesting involves performing specific tasks on an indicated website, mobile application, or prototypes.

Besides completing specific tasks, testers are also asked to share their reactions, assessments, opinions, and feelings aloud. Research conducted on this platform also involves in-depth interviews and surveys.


The UserLytics platform also operates on a very similar principle, which, in addition to being analogous to UserTesting, also offers respondents a high level of security.

Mainly in terms of the protection of personal data. UserLytics implemented the ISO 27001 standard on its website and ensured that its actions aligned with GDPR.


The Enroll platform encourages potential respondents to cooperate with a lovely slogan — Let's Make the Web a Better Place. Be heard… not part of the herd.

The wordplay clearly suggests that usability testing is not just about money but also more profound motivation.

To have the power to change, influence, be heard, and be treated individually — this is the essence of usability testing.

At least from the perspective of respondents' feelings. Hardly anyone wants to be "research fodder," part of the herd, the crowd.

It's definitely better to feel needed, important, separate, and heard. In the case of surveys, this sense of significance is unfortunately hardly experienced by respondents.

Examples of paid surveys


If you would like to become a tester, quit the job of filling out surveys...

If you want to learn more about cooperation and expectations placed on usability testers (and they're almost identical on every platform), then you need to look at the UserFeel platform. In its F.A.Q. section, you can find a detailed description of the process, requirements, and benefits.

  1. Companies offering paid surveys provide compensation that doesn't bring high financial satisfaction.
  2. The growing demand for usability testing of websites has resulted in the appearance of specialized research platforms that offer an opportunity to become a respondent.
  3. Usability testing provides higher compensation. Hence, it's better to register on a dedicated platform for usability testing.
  4. When comparing surveys and usability testing in terms of compensation, it must be said that taking part in usability testing is more profitable.
  5. Usability testing is a form of additional job.
  6. Usability testing, user testing ensure flexible working time, extra cash, and sometimes quick earnings, and it is more attractive in terms of gratification.
  7. Usability testing, roughly speaking, involves checking whether a given website or mobile application is easy to use for users.
  8. Respondents are asked to perform simple tasks. They have the necessary knowledge, participation in usability testing doesn't require experience, and the compensation is attractive.
  9. Usability testing for many respondents is much more interesting because there is more "going on."
  10. Participation in usability testing for many respondents is an exciting and inspiring experience that they eagerly repeat.
  11. Usability testing gives respondents a sense of significance and influence. They have a real impact on how websites or mobile applications will be designed, optimized, and developed.
  12. Moreover, usability testing is much more individualized and focused on getting to know the users.
  13. There are a lot of opportunities to make money on the Internet that also involve participating in usability testing.
  14. Many research platforms offer user/usability testing.
  15. Usually, usability testing is more financially attractive than surveys.
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Journal / Redaktor
Author: Radek
UX Writer and researcher by education + experience. Collects The Story's knowledge and shares it on the Journal.
Reviewer: Dymitr Romanowski

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