Start Small with Gift Card Denominations:

How much should I reward?
What denomination is best to start with?

These are high-pressure questions for many incentive and reward program managers whose success hinges on employee or customer engagement. Here at Tango Card, we have data to help guide your denomination decisions—and the good news is that you can find success by starting out small.

Employee Rewards

When it comes to employee engagement programs, the amount that can be spent on rewards is typically determined by budget limitations. With gift cards, you don’t need a large budget to find success. In fact, our internal peer-to-peer recognition program only has a $10 reward limit—and it’s been a huge success. Our program is administered through an integration with TinyPulse, which enables our team members to instantly send digital gift cards to recognize a peer. The success of our program can be attributed to frequency, speed, and small denominations. See all our tips for creating a successful employee rewards program, that also includes the use of employee gift cards

Marketing & Research

For marketing and research programs, the denominations can start even smaller. If you’re hoping to launch a simple acquisition campaign or receive customer feedback through a survey, consider offering gift card incentives below $5. We’ve seen our clients drive success by leveraging $1–$3 gift card incentives. If you find that $1 is too low for your program, try $2 instead. You’ve built a dynamic campaign—your incentives should be dynamic too.

Choose Small Denominations Over Sweepstakes

Over the years, we’ve presented at a number of conferences. At these conferences, attendees often ask us to compare small, consistent denominations with larger sweepstakes awards. While small denominations and sweepstakes are both budget-friendly options, we strongly recommended using consistent, small-denomination e-gift cards. Offering your audience something very small to drive a specific behavior outperforms a sweepstakes that only allows a handful of people win. If you have a tracking study, panel, or program that requires repeated behavior, avoid sweepstakes if possible.

Why Small Denominations Are Successful

The growth of digital content has made small denominations successful in driving engagement. Companies like Amazon and Google Play, for example, have a solid product selection in the $1–$5 range. These small-dollar options—paired with the streamlined user experience that digital gift cards provide—create a winning combination.

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