A custom online research panel, also known as a customer advisory panel or internet access panel is a group of pre-screened respondents who have a willingness to participate in surveys and customer feedback sessions. These members may be either direct customers of the business or potential customers or individuals who have the knowledge and the passion to participate in the panel study.

10 reasons to use a custom online research panel

Embracing a custom online research panel comes with several advantages to the researching organization. Especially when they are looking to make decisions primarily on customer feedback. Here are the top 10 reasons to adopt a customer advisory panel.

1. Sample better

Members of an online panel research answer profiling questions during recruitment. This qualifies them for research. You don’t have to spend too much time to find the respondents you need for your study. These panelists are pre-profiled. You’ll be able to reach thousands of respondents instantly, and provide appropriate incentives (if any) immediately after they take part in the survey. Fieldwork that used to take months to wrap up can be reduced to days, even hours due to the filters available in the sample.

2. Get a higher completion rate

The completion rate is the percentage of respondents who complete the survey out of the number of potential respondents contacted. Using panel surveys to collect responses for a study always get you a high incidence rate. Completion rates are high as respondents have opted-in to take part in the research. Also, depending on the incentives they receive, the respondents proactively take part in the survey. Another reason for them taking part in the study is their willingness to voice their opinions on the products they use.

3. Reduce costs

Using online questionnaires reduces your research costs to a great extent. You will save money on postage and you don’t have to allocate time and resources to enter the information into a database. Now with a ready to use online panel, only the right sample is targeted to gather data. The survey questions are deployed online. This helps to tap the right respondents within a very short period. Responses are processed automatically and the results are accessible at any time. These surveys can be monitored in real-time, cutting down costs to a great extent. These factors help bring down the costs considerably.

4. Save time

Willing research participants gain easy access through panels. Organizations can deploy the survey to thousands of respondents at the same time and expect simultaneous responses from the research panel members. A project using a panel takes a fraction of the time it would take to complete the same project using a different sample recruitment method. For example, an organization may post an online survey to Twitter, and other online mediums and may generate a ton of completes, but there is no guarantee that these respondents want to participate.

It is guaranteed by creating a panel that individuals will take part in the study without the need to run a second wave of the research study. Results and analysis can be delivered in a shorter time frame. This is done by eliminating recruiting time for telephone surveys and mailings of print surveys. Research projects can be completed quickly and findings can be analyzed on time. These factors allow organizations to react quickly to the findings.

5. Track studies on the go

The study is always deployed over an online platform. The objective of an online market research panel is to track data over time, form an ongoing measure, facilitate the identification of trends and comparisons, spikes and dips. In today’s fast-paced marketing environment, tracking is an essential component of managing your brand and maintaining a competitive advantage. Especially when you have to derive results on the go. With the continuous improvement in market research tools and methods, tracking a study live is now possible. Results are submitted immediately and allow for real-time reporting of results. Customer experience optimization and loyalty tracking can be conducted in real-time. This leads to a timely strategy forming and decision making.

6. Gather deep level insights

With a readily available set of screened respondents, the number of active participants increases. The panelists or respondents of a panel are open to and in most cases always willing to share their thoughts on the product or service. This is because the panelists join the panel intending to be active members of the studies. As compared to any other method of data collection, more valuable insights can be gathered within a custom online research panel. The panel providers always keep the respondents within a panel enthusiastic and active. This helps in gathering more responses.

7. Create a sense of convenience for respondents

It is very easy and convenient for respondents to complete surveys online. Participants of a custom online research panel can fill out questionnaires when they choose to and start and stop a survey at their leisure. You can send a link to the survey via email and set-up subsequent reminders through the online feedback management system. Respondents then have a variety of ways to access the questionnaire including mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, etc. This gives control over completing the survey to the individual, which can increase engagement and response rates. Also, you can send surveys across the globe and create questionnaires in a variety of languages.

8. Improve the nature of qualitative interviews

Focus groups/ qualitative interviews/ or in-depth interviews are based on a set of questions or discussion points. It is imperative to target the right persons to take part in the in-depth interview because they let you explore people’s opinions and attitudes. (e.g. what they feel about your products and services and what developments they would like to see). The respondents of the panel are asked open-ended questions. Here, they can freely express their thoughts. The data gathered is very accurate as these participants already know the product. It is important to target respondents through a custom online research panel for focus groups. This is the most convenient way of gathering true, accurate and timely data. These respondents have already agreed to participate in the various research tasks conducted by an organization.

9. Better organizational decision making

Accurate data findings help to make the right decisions. A custom online research panel is the closest you can get to understanding the wants of the customers. It is a good idea to keep your finger on the pulse of the customers. Panel members can openly highlight their pain points. Decision-makers of any organization rely on the data and the findings of the study. Decisions that need to be taken on the spot can be exercised well in time. Thanks to live-tracking and readily available data. Organizations achieve a quick turnaround time with a strong panel in place.

10. Support flexibility

Custom online research panels provide more flexibility in the design. Organizations can quickly develop a variety of customized questionnaires, tailored to the target audience. Creating and deploying surveys can be done at any time of day. This helps respondents complete surveys at their leisure. There is also great flexibility in terms of the questions that can be asked. Web-based surveys offer the use of visual aid materials, such as pictures, sounds, video, etc. A web-based system also allows for skip navigation whereby respondents can jump over questions where they do not have an opinion. This plays an important role in the satisfaction of the panel members.

To sum up, custom online research panels are a great option for individuals and organizations who want to conduct their research. They are less time consuming, cheaper, you get the results faster, and you can transfer and use the data in various applications to answer important questions. Various demographic attributes such as job title or function, job role, decision-making capability, knowledge, and experience, etc., categorize the participants. As a result, panel companies can segment their panelists according to customized research needs through a sampling of their current database.