Denominations + Rewards: Start Small to Score Big


How much should I reward? What denomination do you recommend?

For incentive and reward program managers, these questions cause a fair amount of angst. The success of their programs hinge on employee or customer engagement.  Fortunately, we get these questions every day and have a fair amount of data to help guide denomination decisions. The TLDR answer is: START SMALL!

Let’s start with internal HR programs.  Like every department, budget limitations play a key factor in how much you can reward staff.  At Tango Card, we’ve had amazing success with our own internal peer-to-peer program using $5-10 digital gift cards. Through a Tango Card integration with TinyPulse, our staff instantly sends digital gift cards to immediately recognize a peer. The keys for our program are frequency, speed, and small denominations.  It’s been awesome.


For marketing and research programs, the dominations can start even smaller.  Running a simple acquisition or “do-this-get that” campaign or a quick customer satisfaction survey?  Try starting with an incentive below $5 but also be flexible. If $1 is underperforming, try $2! You’ve built a dynamic campaign, your incentive should be too.  We’ve had clients drive great results leveraging $1-$3 gift cards.

Presenting at the Qualtrics X4 Summit a couple weeks ago, many people asked me to compare small denominations vs. sweepstakes for their projects.  Both options are budget friendly, but I strongly recommended using small denomination digital gift cards. Offering your audience something very small to drive a specific behavior outperforms a sweepstakes where only a handful of people win. If you have a tracking study, panel, or any program that requires repeat behavior, avoid sweepstakes if possible.

Qualtrics X4 Summit

Small denominations successfully drive engagement because of the massive rise in digital content. Go on, iTunes Store, or the Google Play Store and check out the things you can buy for $1-$5. All those options paired with the streamlined user experience of digital gift cards and you have a winning combination.  Try going small!

If you have any questions about what kinds of rewards and incentives to send, check out our post on the power of choice here.

Written by Collin Manaois

Collin Manaois HeadshotCollin, our Global Director of Business Development, has worked in market research, gamification and incentives over the last 15 years – racking up the perfect amount of experience to help Tango Card remain the best partner for digital incentive fulfillment. As far as Collin’s character is concerned, it’s extremely rare to find a better father (of his two young kids), husband or drinking partner.

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