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In the context of market research, a panel (also known as a brand research panel) can be defined as a pre-recruited group of individuals who have agreed to provide feedback by partaking in online surveys, studies, in-depth interviews, focus groups, etc.
These participants are specifically chosen to help researchers gather information for market research purposes. They provide feedback that helps researchers identify the different strengths and weaknesses of a specific product, service, concept, brand, or message.
In today’s highly digitized age, most market research panel participants are registered and recruited through online channels. Participants are invited to join through a range of online channels including web ads, third-party app partners, and email lists. Participants are incentivized to be a part of the research panel using rewards such as vouchers, cash, gift cards, etc.
Once they click on the invite link, they’ll be redirected to a page where they can register to be a panel participant by completing an onboarding questionnaire that asks them for different data including demographic, psychographic, and behavioural data. This data is used to categorise participants into different distinguishable groups such as age, gender, location, and interests.
Let’s look at a few different instances where Market Research Panels are useful to employ:
As market research panels constitute pre-recruited participants, it is perfect for market research that needs to be conducted in a very short period of time.
There may be instances where it is too expensive for researchers to access participants who display all the characteristics of their target audience. A research panel is cost-effective in comparison to most other methods used to seek research participants.
When participants are registered into a research panel, they provide a lot of their information including demographic, geographic, behavioural, and household data. Hence, researchers can access very specific target audiences using panels.
There are two main types of market research panels, and they are:
A corporate panel, also known as a customer panel, consists of participants who typically purchase specific products or services, or share traits/behavioural habits.
Supplier panels consist of members from both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer) sectors and are typically larger than customer/company panels.
The following are a few key advantages of using a panel to conduct market research:
As panel participants are kept constant, and information is repeatedly gathered from the same individuals, it allows researchers to build deeper profiles on panel members. This not only enhances ongoing studies but can also be used to enhance future studies.
Putting together a sample group that is representative of your target population is time-consuming and expensive. Market research panels allow researchers to access data quicker, allowing them to analyse this data more efficiently.
Other methods of finding a representative sample group are often significantly more expensive than market research conducted through panels.
Participants in a panel have already agreed to provide feedback to a researcher/company. Hence, surveys conducted using research panels tend to have significantly higher participation rates.
Because of how cost-effective and efficient it is to conduct research through the use of panels, researchers can use their resources to conduct much more research. Conducting more research will allow them to make their study more comprehensive and credible, potentially increasing its validity in the process.
The following are some common users of market research panels:
Organizations often use panels to conduct longitudinal market research studies and to track customer satisfaction levels over time.
Panels are often used by university/college students while researching as panels simplify the process of acquiring a sample group that is representative of the target population in a cost-effective and timely manner.
Companies that specialise in market research usually conduct the recruitment for market research panels and use these panels to carry out market research on behalf of other organizations