Obtaining data from a sample of panel members? Take this into account
When selecting the right panel partner in a world of transformation, research companies are placing major emphasis on programmatic capabilities and respondent experience.
In a world of markets experiencing massive disruption and evolution, collecting reliable and compelling data for deeper insights is paramount for brand success. Choosing your partner for sample delivered at the quality, speed, and scale you need nationally or across the globe is a key factor in gathering actionable data for a valuable return on research investments. Understanding the trends that influence quality, speed, and reliability will help you ensure your decision criteria are relevant to overcome today’s research challenges.
A Greater Respect for the Respondent
Respondent opinions and experiences are the drivers of strategic business decisions. Some suppliers, more than others, have invested in strategies that support the recognized need for a wide and diverse pool of research participants who trust the process and are engaged. Winning respondent trust is not easy, consumers are learning the value of their data and hold companies that deal in their privacy accountable. Panelists are entitled to know what will become of their personal data. Greater transparency between sample providers and participants has become a vital part of the equation.
The respondent experience also remains a principal focus for our industry. With a multitude of attention-grabbing entertainment platforms in the marketplace, considerable effort is required to keep panelists engaged. The most successful providers have been relentlessly pursuing innovative ways to shorten surveys and improve engagement to ensure respondents trust and enjoy the panel membership and the survey process. This includes guiding survey designers towards doing their part to create positive survey experiences that will drive trust with consumers. Given the range of online user behaviors, it is important to evaluate the user experience across major device formats.
Technology for an Enhanced Respondent Experience
Technology has spawned numerous segments among the general population based on how they want to engage with surveys. New solutions have allowed for more personalized experiences for a wide variety of respondents. It is a two-way street – both research companies and panel owners are adapting to the use of automation and machine intelligence to attract, manage, and retain respondents. Sample providers are upgrading their portals to ensure a seamless experience across devices (smartphones, tablets, desktops). It doesn’t end there. Everything from matching respondents with the most suitable surveys to incentive management is becoming automated. Leveraging technology for human-centric interaction and engagement will deliver an augmented respondent experience.
The Rise of Programmatic Sampling
The online sampling industry has made major strides in recent years. The most noteworthy has been the automation of project specifications and quota communication. Programmatic sampling is helping research providers not just run surveys faster, but also create client reports more easily, and reduce human error, all while minimizing sampling costs.
No one-panel owner can provide the sample needed to reach every type of global participant. To address this, large sample marketplaces have made programmatic buying and selling of sample mainstream, but as a responsible research buyer, you will wish to evaluate your panel partner’s capability to deliver sample seamlessly via APIs – the software intermediaries that allow multiple panel applications to talk to each other. With deeply profiled panel data shared via APIs, both sample buyers and sellers are aligned on the benefits for survey outcomes, minimizing answer bias, and reducing respondent drop-outs. Soon, the programmatic approach will also permeate other steps in the sample delivery value chain, including continuous profiling at deeper levels (emotional, psychographic, etc.), feasibility assessment, accessing hard-to-reach audiences, and incentive management.
Impact of COVID-19 on Sampling
The COVID-19 pandemic has put our lives on a new track. The most significant and irreversible change has been the accelerated shift to digital with adoption and increased use of online accounts and researching and buying more items online. There is an increased focus on health and wellbeing, and on financial health. There are changes in when an individual will want to take a survey and changes in their profile information, to topics, products, and services they will want to engage on and the channels they use to engage with us. Brands are already noticing the shift in their consumer sets, and at the same time, panel owners need to be continually engaging with panel members for profile updates and testing recruiting and engagement methods and channels.
Schlesinger Group recently polled 18,000 panel members across the nine countries – USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, China, and Brazil. 45% of respondents have been taking more surveys during the pandemic vs 13% who had less time for participating in surveys. 91% of respondents shared they are participating in the panel engagement activities such as contests, polls, and quizzes. Unexpectedly, the use of mobile devices for taking surveys had also increased for 37% of respondents, despite most people staying home.
Choosing a panel partner can be a daunting process. No matter the advancements in technology-driven sampling, it takes talented people who are deeply customer-centric to deliver consistent experiences and outcomes that take relationships beyond the transactional to form trusted partnerships. Getting the sample and data you need should be the minimum you should expect. Ask yourself what added value you seek, what you require that goes beyond a project success, what will help you grow, what allows you to sleep at night, and what proves your partner has an uncompromising commitment to getting you there. Your provider should have impressive and reassuring answers to your questions, which focus on panel quality and diversity, minimizing sample bias, recruitment, and verification capabilities, and the programmatic technology to manage quality and speed across multiple sources. An additional in-depth resource for your evaluation process is a sample provider’s answers to ESOMAR 28 Questions.
Author: Ted Pulsifer
Source: GreenBook Blog