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User Interviews Review: We Earned $55 Per Hour Answering Market Research Questions

User Interviews Review Featured
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User Interviews is a research platform that pays members to participate in one-on-one interviews, focus groups and other types of research studies. It’s similar to paid survey sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie, but the studies take longer to complete and are more involved, often requiring a phone call or video chat. They’re also harder to qualify for. 

As a result, the pay rates are significantly higher. We tested User Interviews for two weeks, completing eight studies and earning $360 for 4 hours and 51 minutes of work. That amounts to a fantastic pay rate of $74 per hour. When factoring in the time it took to search for and apply to studies, that rate went down to a still great $55 per hour. 

In this User Interviews review, we’ll cover how the platform works, what it’s like participating in studies, and who stands the best chance of qualifying for studies.

You can also jump directly to the data on our earnings, as well as our final verdict on the platform.

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User Interviews offers outstanding pay rates and an easy-to-use platform, although not everyone will qualify for the absolute best-paying studies.

Pros:
  • We earned a net rate of $55 per hour.
  • Getting paid is smooth, fast and easy.
  • Applying for studies takes about 1 minute, so failing to qualify doesn't result in a huge waste of time.
Cons:
  • Studies are time-consuming and must be completed during normal business hours.
  • Our qualification rate was only 8%.
  • The most lucrative studies usually require specialized skills or a specific professional background.

User Interviews: The Basics

User Interviews was launched in 2015 after its co-founders, who were trying to gather data to test and validate other ideas they were developing, realized that it was difficult to find qualified research participants.

The company is very open about its background, leadership, staff and clientele, which is welcome in an industry that can be less than transparent. Their full staff roster is available to the public, and they list the likes of Amazon, Pinterest and Kaiser Permanente as research customers. 

Five Key Facts About User Interviews

  1. Basic qualifying information for each study is provided upfront. User Interviews does a good job supplying information about a study’s desired participants, which means you can quickly pass over studies that you won’t qualify for and focus your efforts elsewhere.
  2. Payments are issued as gift cards, not cash. All of the studies we participated in offered an Amazon gift card option. A few also offered Reward Link, which is a service that provides a number of retailers to choose from.
  3. The average pay per study is >$50. When collecting data for this review, we found that the payment range for studies on the site is between $10 and $350, with an average of $119 per study. However, the highest-paying studies are typically aimed at very specific audiences and are difficult to qualify for. Our average pay per study was $45.
  4. There is no cash-out minimum. The company says that participants receive their gift cards via email within 10 days of completing a study; we received ours within three days, on average.
  5. The average study duration is 66 minutes. During our testing period, the available studies ranged between 5 and 225 minutes and the ones we qualified for averaged 36 minutes in length. 

User Interviews Study Types

There are a few study types available on the platform. In our experience, one-on-one studies are by far the most common, with “unmoderated tasks” coming in second. We did see a few multi-day studies posted, and even participated in one focus group, but both were much less common.

  • One-on-one: These are online webcam, phone or in-person interviews between you and a researcher. You may be asked to provide your thoughts on a prototype, or to answer questions about a specific topic. During our testing, we reviewed a mobile app, two websites, and answered questions about our eating habits. All of these discussions occurred during normal work hours, which may be a problem if you have a full-time position with little flexibility.
  • Unmoderated tasks: These are tasks you can complete on your own time, as long as you complete them by a researcher-provided deadline. After you finish the task, you may need to complete a survey. During our testing, we reviewed an ad campaign, a mobile app and a website, and were required to answer survey questions for each.
  • Focus groups: You’ll meet with several other participants, through an online forum or an in-person session, to provide feedback in a group setting. We took part in an online focus group where everyone answered product packaging questions in real-time by anonymously typing responses.
  • Multi-day or “diary” studies: These are longer commitments where participants complete tasks or interviews over a series of days or weeks. While we were not chosen to participate, we were interviewed for a flooring study where we would have taken a survey at four critical points in the home flooring replacement process.

User Interviews Study Topics

The pay and time involved in each study differ significantly. However, the correlation between pay and the participant’s skill specialization is obvious. 

Below is a sample of some of the studies we saw at various pay rates, including their headlines. You can see that the highest paying studies require highly-specialized backgrounds that will exclude most potential participants. However, I wouldn’t mind chatting about my financial decisions in exchange for $60! In other words, even the “low-paying” studies pay pretty well.

  • High ($200+)
    • $325 for 60 minutes: Paid Financial Services Research Study.
    • $300 for 60 minutes: Paid Study for Neurologists Serving MS patients.
    • $250 for 120 minutes: Research With Identity and Access Management (IAM) Administrators.
  • Medium ($100 to $199)
    • $175 for 90 minutes: Washing Machine Study (Recent Purchasers).
    • $150 for 90 minutes: Have You Set up a DevSecOps CI/CD Pipeline Recently? Let’s Talk!
    • $130 for 60 minutes: Familiar With Customer Journey Analytics?
  • Low (Less Than $100)
    • $70 for 90 minutes: Love to Drive a Car? Exploring Options of Owning a Car.
    • $60 for 45 minutes: Let’s Talk About Financial Decisions.
    • $30 for 60 minutes: Are You a Creative Person?

So as you can see, there are opportunities for a wide range of backgrounds. However, we think most users will need to focus on the “low” end of the spectrum, which tends to include general studies that are open to a wide demographic set. These studies still pay well, but it’s important to go in clear-eyed about how much you’ll likely earn.

Our User Interviews Experience

We applied to 100 studies and successfully participated in eight over a two-week testing period. 

We only applied to those that seemed like a natural fit. In other words, we did not pretend to be neurologists, IT experts, or CEOs for testing purposes. 

100 studies is a lot, but the application process is short at less than a minute on average. Many of the applications request demographic details, like your age, location or total annual household income. However, the majority of the questions are focused on ensuring you meet the study criteria. 

For example, we participated in a study targeting parents with young children. During the application process, we were asked the following questions to ensure we were a good fit:

  1. How many children do you have? 
  2. Please list the ages of your children. 
  3. Do your children wear glasses? 
  4. When was your child’s last eye exam?

The platform worked well through the application process and we didn’t experience any technical issues. 

Two studies took a few minutes longer than the estimated time. Three were shorter, and three were right on the mark. All of the researchers we spoke to in our one-on-one interviews were friendly and professional. And most importantly, we received our gift cards as promised.

What It’s Like Participating In Studies

After you apply to a study, plan to monitor your email. If chosen to participate, you’ll receive a message with a subject line that states, “You’ve been approved to participate in…”.

We received these messages within a day of applying. If you receive one, open it quickly and follow the link to sign up for the study: the number of study participants is capped, and we qualified for two studies that filled up before we could pick a time slot.

While on that topic, we should prepare you for the onslaught of emails you’ll receive. You’ll get emails… 

  • After signing up, as User Interviews suggests studies for you. 
  • Every time you apply for a study. 
  • Whenever you’ve been accepted, scheduled or paid for a study.
  • When it’s the day of your study (to remind you to show up).
  • And at other various intervals. 

At the height of our testing, we received 24 emails in one day, which we view as somewhat extreme. Unfortunately, we were unable to selectively opt out of specific email types. 

Here’s an example of our inbox from a single day during our testing:

This is just a sample of the User Interviews emails we received.

This email bombardment is somewhat par for the course when it comes to paid survey and other get-paid-to platforms, and we recommend using a dedicated email address when signing up for these sites.

Aside from this onslaught of correspondence, participating in studies is a pleasant experience. You may get to try, or be asked your opinion about, products or services that aren’t yet on the market. (Don’t be surprised if you have to sign a nondisclosure agreement to participate.) 

You may find the one-on-one interviews to be a bit strange at first, but after a minute or two we got used to the idea of being recorded and settled in. For unmoderated tasks, all you need to do is follow the instructions you’re given and answer any questions by the deadline. 

Regardless of the study type, be prepared to be as honest as possible. We noticed that the researchers got especially excited when we highlighted how bad certain aspects of their prototypes were, so don’t be afraid to say you don’t like something! The point of these studies is to identify issues so they can be addressed before launch.

Who is Most Likely to Qualify?

Although we didn’t log every study we saw and categorize them all by profession, IT-related studies were the most common. However, there are a good number of general-audience studies available.

User Interviews sends you an email when they think you’ll fit a specific study based on your profile information and previous applications. These aren’t always relevant. For example, we received an invite to a study for mobile RPG players; this invite was not representative of any of the 100 studies we applied to, and was definitely not a good fit. In fact, we deleted all but one of the direct requests we received. 

In other words, the User Interviews invitation algorithm could use some work. To get the most out of the platform, be prepared to search through the available studies yourself on a regular basis.

As you’re searching, if you determine you aren’t a fit, we recommend you click on the eyeball with a line through it. This hides the study so you won’t see it every time you log in, greatly reducing the time it takes you to scroll through the available options.

User interviews study search screenshot.
You have the option to hide studies you aren’t interested in, which makes searching the platform easier.

User Interviews Earning Potential

During our first round of research, The Ways To Wealth’s editorial staff found 56 available studies. We collected data from all 56 of those studies to give you a general sense of the time commitment required, as well as the earnings you can expect. 

How long do studies take?

Total number of studies available:56
Average duration:65.94 minutes
Median duration:60 minutes
Shortest duration:5 minutes
Longest duration:225 minutes

How much do studies pay?

Average payout:$119.45
Median payout:$100
Lowest payout:$10
Highest payout:$350
Worst pay-per-hour:$37.50
Best pay-per-hour:$480

Our Actual User Interviews Earnings

Because the studies used for the estimates above were documented at a single point in time, what is available when you explore the platform will be different. 

Here’s how we fared during testing.

  • Total number of studies applied for: 100.
  • Testing period: 14 days.
  • Qualification rate: 8%.
  • Completion rate: 100%.
  • % paid at or above advertised rate: 100%.
  • Total earnings: $360.
  • Time participating in studies: 4 hours and 51 minutes.
  • Time applying for studies: 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • Earnings per hour: $74 per hour, or $55 per hour if you include the 1 hour and 40 minutes we spent applying for all 100 studies.

Here’s a rundown of the studies we completed:

Study TypeStudy TopicAdvertised TimeActual TimePayout
Unmoderated TaskAdvertising concepts for parents of school-aged kids.25 min.21 min.$25 Amazon gift card paid in three days.
1:1Identity manager user research study.30 min.30 min.Advertised a $30 Amazon gift card (but paid $40!) in six days.
Unmoderated taskProvide feedback on an interactive audiobook.30 min.25 min.$30 Amazon gift card or Reward Link paid the same day.
Focus GroupProvide feedback about your hair care routine.60 min.65 min.$25 Amazon gift card or Reward Link paid in four days.
1:1Provide feedback about your healthcare app usage.60 min.25 min.$45 Amazon gift card paid in one day.
1:1Provide feedback on your views about artificial intelligence.60 min.60 min.$150 Amazon gift card or Reward Link paid the same day.
1:1Review an online platform.45 min.45 min.$25 Amazon gift card paid in four days.
Unmoderated taskProvide feedback about a new app for your vehicle.15 min.20 min.$20 Amazon gift card paid in three days.

Getting Paid

All study payments are made through gift cards. Every study offered us an Amazon gift card option, and a few also offered Reward Link, which allows you to choose a gift card from a number of different retailers.

User Interviews - Getting Paid
Getting paid is smooth, easy and fast.

Within a few days of completing a study, you’ll receive an email with information on how to redeem your gift card. Ours arrived an average of three days after our studies were completed. Follow the instructions to be rerouted to Amazon or Reward Link to receive your incentive. 

We had no issues processing the gift cards. One of our studies even paid us $10 more than we were expecting! If you do have issues, click on the “My Studies” section of the site to see who to contact regarding payment concerns. Some of the incentives are paid by User Interviews while others are paid directly by the company running the study.

Our User Interviews payment history.
Our User Interviews payment history.

One important note to keep in mind, per User Interviews’ participant support page: the IRS requires total payments of $600 or more to be reported as taxable income. User Interviews will send you a 1099 if the payments they make on their clients’ behalf exceeds $600, but this won’t include payments issued by researchers. You’ll need to add those earnings back in when you prepare your taxes.

User Interviews FAQ

Is User Interviews legit?

Not only is User Interviews legit, it’s the highest-paying online market research platform we’ve tested. We completed eight studies and were paid promptly (ahead of schedule) for all of them. Plus, we appreciate that the company is unusually transparent about its leadership, staff and business practices. All of these factors should give you confidence that the platform is legitimate and safe.

Are there other sites similar to User Interviews? 

There are a few sites that are somewhat similar to User Interviews. Most of the existing research platforms are paid survey sites, like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie. These platforms usually pay rates of around $5 per hour to users who complete relatively short surveys. Some of these platforms, including Vindale Research, occasionally offer focus groups.

There are also a handful of interview/focus groups companies, including Campus Insights (students only), Find Focus Groups and Schlesinger Group.

And finally, there are numerous companies that offer product testing opportunities.

Why does User Interviews suggest that you connect your LinkedIn account?

By connecting your LinkedIn and/or Facebook accounts, you will likely increase your chances of being selected for studies. Not only will you seem more trustworthy by showing that you’re a real human, but researchers can also view your work experience on LinkedIn to see how closely your background aligns with their ideal tester.

Is User Interviews available to participants outside of the United States?

User Interviews recruits study participants from Canada, Australia, the UK, France, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. Researchers have the option to select participants from specific countries or allow any of the above to apply for their listings.

Does User Interviews offer a referral program?

Yes. Click on the “View referral opportunities” button at the bottom of the “Browse Studies” page. For every new participant that completes a study you sent, you will earn a $30 Amazon gift card. Unfortunately, if the person you refer already has an account, you will not receive a referral payment.

User Interviews Review: Final Verdict

User Interviews offers the best pay rates we’ve found among market research platforms that are open to the public. Signing up is fast, applying to studies is easy, and the platform was glitch-free from start to finish. The companies we dealt with had interesting topics and friendly researchers, and they all paid promptly.

What’s not to love? 

Our two minor critiques of the platform are the barrage of study-related emails and the limited applicability of the studies that User Interviews recommended for us. 

But aside from those two minor nitpicks, our experience with User Interviews was extremely positive. The $360 we earned wasn’t enough to pay the mortgage, but it was enough to help offset our online Christmas shopping. 

One open question is whether or not a user could maintain that pace of earnings. Given that we limited our test window to a two-week period, we’re not able to say how frequently new studies appear on the platform, or whether our qualification rate would go down over time, after picking all the low-hanging fruit. User Interviews states that they add around 2,000 studies per month, so this may not be a concern.

Even if that turned out to be true, we’d recommend the site for anyone looking for a solid way to make money whose daily schedule is flexible enough to accommodate daytime interviews and who shops online enough to put the gift cards to good use. 

Learn more at UserInterviews.com.

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Vanessa Zeigler is a freelance writer and editor focused on personal finance and time management. She has an MBA from Duke University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She writes about frugal-living techniques, side hustles, product testing, selling on Etsy and eBay, and using money-making apps. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Upwork and Etsy.

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