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How to build a market research panel?

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Research serves as an important input of data in the decision-making processes of multiple organizations. Given this integral role of research and data collection, building a research panel becomes absolutely necessary for any organization looking to gather comprehensive market data to find answers to their research questions.

Not everyone has the aptitude and knowledge base to answer peculiar research questions. With advanced automation and a plethora of research tools to choose from, it has become an easy task for any organization to look for individuals with the capacity to provide them with accurate information that will fuel informed decisions.

In this blog, we’ll learn all the steps for building a research panel, the benefits of an online research panel, and more.

What is a Research Panel?

Research Panel is a group of well-suited people who aptly meet the criteria of eligibility to become a respondent for a particular research topic. The task of building such a panel of individuals is basically comprised of separating targeted respondents from the rest of the market and using them as research participants for nuanced market research.

The focus here is on quality and not quantity. Your panel of respondents must include specifically those individuals who can speak volumes and make a legitimate contribution to increasing your know-how about the market in the current scenario. 

Including a large number of irrelevant members as respondents, on the other hand, is a compromise that hinders research quality and has no value addition. This can make decisions based on such input have minimal to no impact and can even cause a downfall as a worst-case scenario.

The benefits of using a research panel

There are certain benefits that set apart panel research from any other research style. These benefits justify the use of a research panel to carry out effective and targeted data collection.

1. Highly reliable 

The use of a research panel makes the research data gathered using such a panel highly reliable and dependable. The people who provide such data have up-to-date information about the market. Such information can be used to make impactful decisions as well as the same information can be replicated as input for other relevant studies.

2. Valid information

Data collected through research panels are highly accurate. The inputs that are gathered provide a cohesive overview of the research subject, which makes the analysis actionable.

3. Quick data collection

Panel research provides organizations with the freedom to use a small sample to gather all the data they need. The rigorous selection and screening of the panel members make them highly representative of the actual target market. 

This eliminates the need for organizations to look for a large number of panelists. Moreover, the distribution and collection through online channels allow the collection of responses within hours.

4. Unbound research

With experts and professionals as panelists, organizations have the freedom to dive into technicalities to narrow the field of study. The use of jargon and field-specific terms can easily be done without causing ambiguity or confusion among the respondents. With this level of research, organizations are easily able to conduct nuanced research, identify pain points and come up with optimal solutions to complex problems.

5. Cost savings

Conducting research using a research panel is more pocket friendly than using any other sample of the population that might or might not provide you with the correct information. Organizations can choose to minimize sample size due to low sampling bias. 

Moreover, brand-related surveys use brand advocates as respondents who volunteer for research without any requirement of incentives or rewards. Their general interest levels in the brand and its products generate authentic data without any additional cost.

How to build an online research panel?

The process of building an online research panel is quite detailed and involves several steps. In order to build an effective research panel, all the steps must be followed carefully. 

Steps for building a research panel

  1. Defining your research objectives
  2. Recruiting participants
  3. Screening and qualifying participants
  4. Establishing communication channels
  5. Incentivizing participation
  6. Conducting research studies
  7. Analyzing and reporting data

Let’s deep dive into all the steps to build an online research panel:

Step 1: Define your research objectives

Before you begin building your panel, you need to define your research objectives. What kind of data do you want to collect? Who is your target audience? What research methods do you plan to use? This information will help you identify the characteristics and criteria you need for your panel.

Step 2: Recruit participants 

Recruiting panel participants is a meticulous activity. 

You can recruit participants for your panel through various channels, such as social media, online advertising, and email campaigns. 

Let’s review some of the most common channels of panel recruitment:

1. Email

This is one of the most common and effective channels of recruiting panel members. Emails generate a lot of commercial traffic, which can be contacted for creating panels. With automated email services, emailing potential panelists and enquiring for relevant information is easier than ever. It generates good leads as well as prompt replies that make it a highly efficient and viable option to be used as a panel recruitment channel.

2. Social media

The reach of social media has expanded far and wide. The worldwide user base of social media platforms such as Facebook, with over 2 billion users, and Twitter, with over 200 million users, is indicative of the kind of reach that can be generated using such platforms.

Organizations can engage with specific individuals using such platforms where the frequency of activity is very high. This makes these platforms highly reliable for generating quick responses. Maintaining an active social media presence and monitoring can go a long way in filtering users that show a designated behavior and in boosting the online brand image.

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

Explore all the survey question types possible on Voxco

3. SMS

Short messaging services are the most widely used facility. It is a great medium to catch user attention and lure them to be a part of research panels. Survey links and invites can easily be shared among a large mass of audience through SMS facilities. It does not ask for an online presence and can be shared with anyone owning a mobile device. Brief introductions about the company and the research can be given using the multi-language functions that are provided in survey software platforms. This enhances user understanding and reduces chances of confusion.

4. Website

Website traffic can be scrutinized and nudged to join research panels. Companies have a large amount of direct and indirect traffic that visits their websites to accomplish multiple objectives such as customer service, increasing awareness, registering complaints, or addressing queries. 

Using targeted landing pages and website pop-ups, companies can effectively push this online audience to join research panels. This will also have the additional benefit of recruiting brand advocates and customers as panel members, thus increasing authenticity and minimizing the need for incentivizing.

Voxco panel members are recruited through different means from trusted institutions that provide verified people best suited for any research requirement.

You can also use panel management software to help you automate this process.

You can also use panel management software to help you automate this process.

Step 3: Screen and qualify participants

Once you have recruited potential participants, you need to screen and qualify them based on specific criteria. 

This step involves defining the criteria that each individual must meet in order to be qualified as a panel member for a particular study. This may include demographic information, interests, and behavior.

These criteria are then converted into a concise survey that is sent out to multiple databases of panelists. On the basis of their answers, a limited number of well-suited individuals get qualified as fit respondents.

It is imperative that all aspects are carefully deliberated over and covered to narrow down the eligibility criteria. This way, it will be easier to choose respondents who are more representative of the target population.

Step 4: Establish communication channels

You need to establish communication channels with your panel members to keep them engaged and informed. This can include email, social media, or online messaging platforms. 

Step 5: Incentivize participation

Offering incentives, such as cash rewards, gift cards, or other prizes, can help encourage panel members to participate in research studies.

Step 6: Conduct research studies

You can use various research methods, such as online surveys, focus groups, and product testing, to collect data from your panel members.

Step 7: Analyze and report data

Once you have collected data, you need to analyze it and report your findings. This can involve using analytics software and data visualization tools to identify patterns and trends.

Overall, building an online research panel requires careful planning and execution. By following these steps, you can build a high-quality panel that meets your research objectives and provides valuable insights into your target audience.

Online Surveys

Panel Management

Once you’ve selected your panel members, it is very important to keep them engaged. After building a research panel, you need to update it using a custom online research panel constantly. Panel management software is associated with the continuous creation and maintenance of panels. Customized profiling, continuous interactions, provision of timely incentives, and other activities all come under the purview of panel management.

Panelists, esp. customers, are interested in two-way interactions with the organizations. There is a need to come up with new and innovative practices to maintain panel members so that they don’t lose out their interest and the quality of research can be maintained.

FAQs

What is a research panel?

A research panel or custom online research panel is a group of dedicated respondents who agree to contribute their feedback and insights to a particular research. The members of research panels, also called panelists, are recruited by research firms via social media, websites, emails, etc. Most market research firms use research panels to gather accurate and reliable data for product development, social welfare, health infrastructure, etc.  

Research panelists are often given incentives such as cash rewards or gift cards to keep them invested in the process of research and boost active participation.

What are some common uses of research panels?

The most common use of online research panels is to gather accurate data for a study from a targeted group of customers that have been recruited based on various factors. This data ensures that the findings of the study are statistically significant and representative of the population they are studying.

Here are some of the common uses of a market research panel:

1. Gathering feedback on new products or services: Before launching any new product or service to the public, companies can use research panels to test their appeal. By doing so, they can get feedback on features, pricing, packaging, and other aspects of the product or service.

2. Understanding consumer behavior: Companies can also use research panels to better understand consumer behavior by collecting data on things like purchasing habits, brand preferences, and consumer attitudes. Then, they can use this information to build marketing strategies and accelerate product development.

3. Tracking trends: Another thing that research panels can help companies do is track trends in consumer behavior and changes in preferences over time. This can be valuable for companies that want to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing market conditions. 

4. Identifying market opportunities: Online consumer research panels can help companies identify new market opportunities by gathering information on consumer needs and preferences. This can help companies develop new products or services that meet unmet needs in the market.

5. Conducting competitive analysis: Another amazing use of research panels is analyzing the competition. Gathering information on competitors, including their products, marketing strategies, and customer base can help companies identify areas where they can differentiate themselves and gain a competitive advantage.

What is panel management software?

Panel management software is a type of software used by organizations to manage and maintain their research panels. It is designed to automate many of the tasks involved in panel management, such as participant recruitment, screening, communication, and data collection.

Also known as online consumer research panels, panel management software typically includes a range of features, such as:

1. Participant recruitment: Panel management software can help organizations recruit participants for their research panels through various channels, such as email campaigns, social media, and online advertising.

2. Screening and qualification: Panel management software can screen potential participants and assess their eligibility based on specific criteria, such as age, gender, location, and interests.

3. Communication: Panel management software can help organizations communicate with their participants through various channels, such as email, SMS, and social media. This can include sending notifications about new research opportunities, updates on study progress, and incentives.

4. Data collection: Panel management software can automate the process of data collection through various methods, such as online surveys, focus groups, and product testing.

5. Reporting and analytics: Panel management software can generate reports and analytics based on the data collected, helping organizations gain insights into their research panels and make informed decisions.

Panel management software can be used by a wide range of organizations, including market research firms, academic institutions, and government agencies. Automating many of the tasks involved in panel management can save organizations time and resources while ensuring that their research panels are well-managed and productive.

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