— February 11, 2018
It’s not breaking news that the way we conduct market research is changing. The research industry is evolving with technological advances such as mobile phones, which allow you to conduct panel research and collect data easier and faster than the traditional landline surveys. But, one important thing to remember: the data is only as good as your panel.
WHAT IS PANEL RESEARCH? Panel research is a method for collecting data repeatedly, from a pre-recruited set of people. These individuals generally provide demographic, household and behavioral data, which can make conducting future studies easier. Technology, primarily the internet, has transformed panel research methodology by the ease of which we can access larger numbers of respondents. Panel research provides many advantages for companies including faster turnaround, higher participation rates, and cost savings. The quantitative data can provide companies with insights into pricing, effectiveness and sales projection of their products or brand.
WHY IS A RESEARCH PANEL IMPORTANT? Building a quality research panel is very important because your data depends on it. With a research panel, you are able to build rich profiles of your members, which will help to ensure that your reporting provides quality responses. If you are looking to launch a new mobile phone, you would want to target panelists who are interested in mobile phones and technology to yield more informed responses. Additionally, a well-managed panel of pre-recruited respondents allows for a faster response rate, as the participants have shown interest in participating in surveys by joining the panel.
HOW TO RECRUIT FOR A RESEARCH PANEL? We use many different channels to recruit members who will be active participants in our panel research. The one we’ve found most effective is via the internet, specifically email and social media. Once we’ve recruited a member, we have them fill out a short survey with profile information, which we use to create a better understanding of our target audience.
BUILD YOUR OWN RESEARCH PANEL OR “RENT” ONE? In cases where your customers are considered niche, it makes sense to invest the time into building out your own online panel of respondents. While it obviously takes more effort than using an outsourced panel provider (“renting”), the quality of the respondents is generally higher in self-recruited panels, and in the long term, the cost is cheaper than using external vendors for all your market research initiatives.