What are Online Panels in Market Research?
Savannah Trotter • 30 Aug 2023
In the market research industry, online panels are one of the most popular ways to gather data.
And it’s easy to see why; they provide organizations with a quick and efficient way to engage directly with their target market.
But how exactly do online research panels work? Can the data be trusted? And how can you use panels in your research? Our guide below covers this and more:
What are Online Panels?
Online panels refer to a group of individuals who have agreed to participate in online research, like surveys and digital focus groups.
These panels are run by providers whose goal is to build extensive networks of diverse survey participants for brands and research agencies to work with for their studies.
Where do Respondents Come From and How are They Vetted?
Survey panelists are recruited by panel providers through ads, social media, word of mouth, referrals, and even mail campaigns.
The vetting process usually begins at the initial registration, where information is collected on the respondent's age, gender, occupation, income, consumer behaviors, and more.
In recent years, most panels have adopted digital fingerprinting technology. This creates a profile of each respondent based on metadata from their browsing history. Respondents who are flagged for being potentially fraudulent based on their fingerprints are not sent to surveys.
Additionally, many of these providers utilize third-party databases to track IP addresses associated with fraudulent activity in online surveys and use this data to further scrub respondents from their panels.
What are the Benefits of Using Panels?
Building customer lists and recruiting respondents on your own takes a lot of time and effort.
An online research panel gives you instant access to a large group of people who have already opted-in to participate in studies like yours. Which makes it incredibly quick and cost-effective to gather responses at scale.
You can also collect feedback from the same audience more than once. Having panelists take the same survey at different intervals is an easy way to track trends and changes over time. And because it’s the same pre-screened and qualified survey panel, you can be confident that the samples represent a like-for-like comparison.
SightX Audiences gives you direct access to over 100MM consumers worldwide.
Aside from working with only top-tier, vetted panel partners, we've added multiple extra layers of scrutiny to minimize the likelihood of low-quality responses. These include:
ReCAPTCHAs to screen out potential bots.
Optional attention-checking questions between the screening questions and survey.
The ability to track time-to-complete data and remove respondents with unrealistic completion times.
Automated data cleaning to scan for duplicate IP addresses or responses.
Automatic screen out of any respondent that uses the copy/paste function in open-ended questions.
You can access SightX Audiences in any project by creating a SightX Audiences campaign instead of a classic campaign.
Then you’ll simply define the audience you’re looking for using a standard set of profiling demographics, like age, gender, or income. From there, we’ll let you know how much your audience will cost and you're ready for launch!
When you set your campaign live, it will be instantly distributed to the audience you’re looking for. We’ll email you when your campaign has filled or alert you if there’s an issue that needs your attention.
Online Market Research with SightX
The SightX platform is the only tool you'll ever need for market research: a single, unified solution for consumer engagement, data collection, advanced analysis, and reporting. While powerful enough for insights teams at Fortune 500 companies, the user-friendly interface makes it simple for anyone to start, optimize, and scale their research.
Plus, with SightX's research team, you can gain access to the best thinking in the insights field. Our in-house experts will guide you through every step in the market research process, from survey scripting to analysis support, and everything in-between.
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