Businesses have to use all the tools at their disposal to ensure customers are happy with the product and service they receive. Although online research and consumer panels have some shortcomings, the benefits generally outweigh the downsides. It is important to understand the drawbacks, so to help, we have put together this guide to help you to better determine whether consumer panels are the right tool for your needs…
How can a consumer panel help me?
Advantages of Consumer Panels
There are many advantages to performing online research with quality consumer panels:
- The cost of performing this type of research and gathering constructive feedback is very low.
- Research projects can be completed quickly allowing organisations to react swiftly to the findings.
- Response rates tend to be high as respondents have opted in to take part in the research.
- Consumer panels remain current and give a complete picture at all times.
- If there are changes in the brand or in the preferences of consumers, these changes can be researched and implemented very quickly.
- Consumer panels are able to report on more sensitive issues, including X-rated products, alcohol and cigarettes to name but a few.
- The data is incredibly specific, this means there is no danger of researching intentions rather than products.
- Lastly, consumer panels can provide a fantastic insight on sales activity and it allows companies, across different outlets, to compare their figures and effects on consumers.
Disadvantages of Consumer Panels
The main disadvantage of online research is that the data can only be used if analysed the right way:
- It is all too easy to end up in a situation where selection is biased, which would distort the evidence if participants don’t want to give honest feedback.
- Opinions from the panel may not be representative if there is a large number of early adopters or trend setters on the panel.
- Furthermore, if someone with no understanding of figures and numbers were to handle the data, it could also give distorted results.
- The outlay can be prohibitive to some organisations in terms of both time and money.
Clearly, using consumer panels for research can be very beneficial to organisations. However, it is essential that the person handling the data understands the goal of the research and is able to analyse the data, rather than languages. Naturally, when there are open questions within the online survey, the professional also has to be able to extrapolate the meaning from these answers.
If you have identified a need for research to improve your business you can choose to use consumer panels. You can select the audience criteria and amount of responses you need by using our Live Audience service. The process is very simple and can be set up from within your account.
Step-by-Step Guide for Using Consumer Panels:
- Login and create your survey/questionnaire
- Access the ‘Collect’ page of your survey in the top right corner
- Click on ‘Buy Responses’ at the bottom of the page
- An order form will open, allowing you to select your target audience criteria.
- When you have selected your panel, click on ‘Order Summary’.
- Check your order is correct, then click on ‘Place Order’.
- A confirmation message will appear to say that your order is complete.
- A new tracking link will have been created, containing an overview of your panel.
Price will be dependent on the number of responses you require, the targeting criteria you select and the length of your survey.
Contact our support team for help or with any enquiries about reaching a specific audience.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.