Panel providers are very useful sources of targeted respondents for your online survey. They have a ready source of panelists, which are regularly maintained and managed so you don’t have to worry about fraudulent respondents.
However, not all panel providers are created equally. Each provider has its own proprietary panels, and most of them specialize in certain demographics and target niches. If you want to get the best insights for your study, you must partner with the panel provider that can deliver the right people to you.
Here are the ways how you can improve your online surveys with panel providers:
1. Study your panel provider optionsThere are many online providers available, and you must make sure that you choose the one that perfectly suits your research requirements. You should be able to check if the panels are of good quality and are not exhausted with too much survey invites. You can make an informed choice through online research and by asking around the market research industry. It is best to check reviews from other researchers, as well as projects that the panel providers have completed.
2. Have an in-depth discussion with the panel providersIt’s better to communicate with panel providers who have extensive knowledge of their panels and their research methodologies. You can gauge the level of success of your online survey better if you and your panel providers have a complete understanding of the extent of your study. Moreover, you can come up with modifications and contingencies if needed. Make sure that you are both on the same page about your study so that you’ll be able to identify possible improvements.
3. Integrate qualifying questions to your studyPanel providers have their own ways of maintaining the quality of their panels, but sometimes respondents and their circumstances change over time. You can take extra precaution by adding questions that can screen out respondents that don’t fit in your target demographics.
4. Insist on transparent dataAlways coordinate with your panel provider when it comes to the field statistics of your study. You should be aware of the number of sent invitations, the number of actual respondents, and the number of screenouts, among many other things. Again, it’s very important to be on the same page with your panel providers and being transparent with each other can improve the quality of your study results.
5. Look at both survey attempts and completionsYou should be able to take into account both respondents who have quit and completed your surveys, as well as those who have not qualified for your study. In this case, an incidence rate check is crucial to check if your panel provider has reached out to the right respondents and to reduce skewed results.
6. Coordinate with your panel provider for follow-up studiesYou must inform the panel provider ahead of time if you’re planning to conduct follow-up studies with the same panelists. Panel providers will be able to catch up with the same panelists, but they will need to inform the panelists about the plan and develop a system to identify and validate them properly.
Having the right panelists is one of the most crucial aspects of online surveys, right next to the survey design itself, because the quality of your market research study depends on your source of information. You will need to do your part in learning more about panel providers to get the perfect fit. One good way to study them is by checking their ESOMAR28, which is a document that profiles panel providers through 28 questions. Read more about them so you can learn how they manage their panels and ensure the quality of their data.
Online research panels have become one of the most important tools of the modern market researcher, and it can yield valuable insights and results if used properly. To know more about online research panels, especially in the Asian region, check out our Understanding Online Research Panels page.