Online Panels – A Virtual Citizenship (Are they who they say)
Online panels are the most popular method of conducting market research and collecting crucial information directly from the customer. For this reason, many online panels attract consumers to register with them for completing online surveys. This is a virtual citizenship that these panels offer to consumers for expressing their views and opinions about various products and services in return of some rewards and benefits.
Online panels account for one of the largest source for samples with respect to market research studies. This market research study provides the clients with an exhaustive view pertaining to the attitude and behavior of consumers across a wide range of demographics and distribution channels. Online panel services help to bridge the gap between a certain section of consumers who are hard to reach through telephone surveys and the companies that are more than determined in understanding the attitude and perceptions of such hard to reach consumers.
Who Constitute an Online Panel?
Online Panel consists of a preselected batch of people who are not only interested but also willing to actively participate in surveys, focus groups, usability test groups including marketing research groups.
The members for online panel could be from a specific segment of audience, the current consumers, or prospective consumers or even any other segment of people whom the organization is keenly interested in researching.
How are Online Panelists Recruited?
Most companies generally prefer recruiting only such people who have an interest or experience in the niche, as they are the ones who are most likely to have opinions about the produce under scrutiny.
Many a times the recruitment of panelists is conducted through the proprietary website. However, in certain cases, companies also prefer appointing participant from other research panels by meeting them in person or by contacting them through email mail or by conducting a telephonic interview.
The panelists thus selected are required to give proof of their identification along with signing privacy clause and agreement to participate.
Difference Between a Participant and an Online Panelist
While a participant may be clueless as to the purpose of why he is sitting in a market research panel, an online panellist may be clearly aware as to what is to be expected in market research meeting, as he or she will be supplied with all the details and instructions.
Functions of an Online Panel
The online panel comprising of a range of cross section of population may be asked to maintain a diary, attend a meeting of the focus group, answer online questions, or fill survey forms and questionnaires.
Many times the online panel may even be asked to visit the houses of the prospective or current consumers to understand their buying habits. These panels may have to continue their research work for a limited period.
Participants & Panelists – Are they who they say?
The profile information of the panelists and participants is reviewed thoroughly by the recruiting company and accordingly segmented for the research assignments. It is critical for the company to verify this information and rely on it as it is not sure whether the information provided by the participant is true or not. Many a times, users register with fake details, name, age and occupation. Hence, it is very important for online panels to recruit people with due care.
Irrelevant or fake profiles could cause mismatch of assignments and non-completion of assignments. Hence, the recruiting company should constantly monitor the profile of an online research panelist and if found fake or constantly unresponsive for participation, they should be dropped immediately.
PanelEngage.com is a reputed online panel operated by iResearch Services to conduct surveys for market research needs. All the panelists and participants are verified thoroughly and the data is scrutinized for the most accurate insights.