When launching a new product or repositioning their brand, businesses often turn to market research to accurately gauge consumer opinion and buying behavior. And one of the most widely used methods research companies and marketing agencies employ in harnessing such consumer data is through consumer panels.
A consumer panel is a method of gathering ongoing data from pre-recruited and pre-screened respondents who agreed to participate in online surveys about various types of topics. It usually involves the participation of a wide range of households across all demographic groups who are chosen to represent the general population or a target group.
Online panels may be practical for many businesses because they are low-cost and provide fast results. However, this method has shortcomings that outweigh the benefits. Many consider it to produce less objective results.
Understanding the limitations of consumer panels will allow you to identify other market research alternatives that can drive high-quality data insights for your business.
Here are 3 things to consider when employing consumer panels in your research:
Online research panels encourage survey respondents to participate through gift cards, cash rewards, and more. As a result, participants may attempt to yield more incentives by participating in as many surveys as possible. This can become a hotbed for professional survey takers who see this as an easy way to make money.
Moreover, professional survey takers know their way around online surveys. They know how and what to answer to stay qualified, and can answer quickly without reading or giving the questions much thought. As they are more interested in receiving a reward than in providing honest answers, this may have an impact on the overall validity of the research.
Meanwhile, some participants become frustrated with their responses as a result of how complicated and challenging each question in the survey is. This can lead to fatigued data and failure in the overall survey results.
The vast majority of online respondents are recruited based on their declared qualifications. Some people, however, may misrepresent themselves by inflating information such as their income range or job role. This results in respondents answering surveys not intended for them, which compromises your data quality.
This makes it all the more necessary to verify how respondents are recruited. Because people with high incomes are less likely to take surveys to make money.
In other instances, login information from users can also be misused or sold to other parties, who could then use it to take surveys. Many panels use different third-party partners to collect respondents, leading to a lack of direct control and traceability over the sourcing.
Another problem when using online research panels is that participants might provide you with inaccurate feedback.
Some respondents are only there to respond with a random answer and earn some extra money. They are more likely to remember your research patterns if they are surveyed repeatedly. As a result, they respond in a trained rather than a natural manner, resulting in biased data collection.
In addition, duplicate data may occur when a respondent is a member of two or more panels. This is because those respondents are likely to receive the same survey from multiple panel providers. However, if they answer two or more of the same survey with different answers, it could mean that the data contradicts itself.
In any case, collecting data from the same individual repeatedly does not guarantee the accuracy of the research findings.
What are consumer panel alternatives?
Unlike panels where respondents are paid for each answer they provide, at Standard Insights, we ask the right questions to the right people and clean up the results to give you the most accurate information.
Specifically, we identify respondents from specific targeting options offered by advertising platforms and give them a chance to participate in a lucky draw and win gifts relevant to the desired profiles. This approach will incentivize respondents to answer our survey accurately and honestly.
When entering our surveys, respondents will be automatically cross-checked with our internal database to ensure that they have not partaken in any survey conducted in the past 6 months. Additionally, we also use our AI and other critical criteria, such as current localization (IP address), social media ID, and geofencing data, to validate the initial information provided by respondents.
Learn more about our methodology here.
In today’s digital era, using consumer panels is a common alternative when it comes to reaching out to consumers online. However, it is crucial to understand the limitations it has when obtaining market and customer insights. Standard Insights offers a methodology that caters to all company sizes to maximize survey results and obtain unique insights from the right respondents.
Learn more here!