Respondents are key in all market research and yet their motivations and incentives are rarely debated in relation to the efforts and (sometimes) struggles they have to go through to help market researchers and consumer brands generate insights. However, getting the motivation right dramatically affects quality and reach. In this blog post I share why we changed our approach from building a panel to sampling dynamically.
A market research project can never be better than the respondents who provide their input. It’s that simple, yet complicated in real life: when we ask respondents to share a piece of their mind, it is upon us to motivate them to participate and provide high-quality answers.
When I co-founded Opeepl 9 years ago, my founding partners and I wanted to solve two issues within market research:
We saw these issues as a massive show-delayer in a market of increasing individuality and ever-more sub-segments. At the same time, the demand for insights and data was (and is) intensifying.
From the onset we focused on the respondents as we rationalized having happy respondents would result in good data quality.
As was the standard at the time, we set out to build our own panels. To achieve our goals, we paid respondents 13 ¢ per question, often giving each respondent 3.5 EUR for a 5 minute survey - unheard of at the time (and still today).
We also wanted to create a respondent community that gave more than just the incentives itself.
However, we realized that fixed panels had some significant challenges:
So, we had to reimagine how to motivate and engage with consumers to make them our survey respondents.
While trying to build panels that could help us sample fast and deliver high-quality insights - as was the burning platform Opeepl was founded on - we came to the conclusion that respondent sampling was in dire need of innovation.
We started thinking about how we could sample consumers without signing up to a panel and how we could motivate them to participate in surveys without offering monetary incentives or collecting points to exchange to a gift later on. Rather, we wanted a broad reach among normal consumers and our respondents to be instantly gratified.
The answer to that is now known as our Dynamic Sampling technology that we launched in 2017: by sampling through apps rewarding respondents with immediate “payment” in the form of access to premium content, extra features or block advertisements in exactly the app they are currently using, we sample faster and in more geographies than most panels can match.
Going mobile in our sampling, we (and our clients) leverage on the surge of smartphone and app usage across the globe, providing respondents a better survey experience by differentiating from panel incentivization in three ways:
First, the personalized incentives make sure the respondent is rewarded in a way they value in that exact moment, be it an upgrade, extra coins for a game or additional features in the app they are currently using when invited to participate in the survey.
Second, the reward is given the moment the respondent submits their answer. No waiting time for manual verifications, checks, etc. before getting what they have rightfully earned.
Last, but not least, we do not require consumers to sign up or give any personal information to participate. This is a cornerstone in attracting normal consumers to become survey respondents: in today's world few people want to sign up and give their personal information only to receive daily invites for long surveys earning low-value points that, if you complete a ton of surveys, might buy you a raincoat at the end of the year (also, there’s GDPR).
Our experiences with using both a traditional panel approach and now having implemented our Dynamic Sampling technology have taught us that going mobile and offering a hyper relevant incentive dramatically increases our sampling reach both geographically and demographically. By implementing automated quality assurance measures we avoid the pitfalls of programmatic sampling and thus our clients benefit from an easier access to audiences that are otherwise hard to reach and motivate to become survey respondents.