Panel Research: Why It Matters

People trust their own voices and experiences more than some analysts’ perceptions of the market. In the 20th century, focus groups and other forms of convenience sampling were used to obtain consumer feedback. However, with the rise of internet penetration in the 21st century, things have changed – people don’t just want to talk about a product or service anymore, they want to talk about it and share it with their friends on social media.

This is where informed consumer insight really shines – by delivering real opinions from real people on social media channels where their friends are also listening. The key for any market research professional is to conduct surveys in an engaging way so that consumers feel compelled to share their opinions and thoughts via social media channels.

What is panel research? 

Panel research is a method for repeatedly collecting data from a pre-recruited set of people. These individuals generally provide demographic, household, and behavioral data, making conducting future studies more accessible. Technology, primarily the internet, has transformed panel research methodology by allowing us to access more significant numbers of respondents. Panel research provides many advantages for companies including faster turnaround, higher participation rates, and cost savings. Quantitative data can provide companies with insights into pricing, effectiveness, and sales projection of their products or brand. 

Why is panel research important? 

Building a quality research panel is very important because your data depends on it. With a research panel, you can build rich profiles of your members, which will help ensure that your reporting provides quality responses. If you are looking to launch a new mobile phone, you would want to target panelists interested in mobile phones and technology to yield more informed answers. Additionally, a well-managed panel of pre-recruited respondents allows for a faster response rate, as the participants have shown interest in participating in surveys by joining the panel. 

How do you recruit an audience for a research panel? 

We use many different channels to recruit members who will be active participants in our panel research. We’ve found the most effective via email and social media via the internet. Once we’ve recruited a member, we have them fill out a short survey with profile information, which we use to understand our target audience better. 

Build your research panel or “rent” one? 

In cases where your customers are considered niche, it makes sense to invest the time into building out your own online panel of respondents. While it takes more effort than using an outsourced panel provider (“renting”), the quality of the respondents is generally higher in self-recruited panels. The cost is cheaper than using external vendors for all your market research initiatives in the long term. 

Select your respondents

Example of Panel research

Let’s take an example of panel research to understand how it is executed at an organizational level and how it helps derive meaningful insights.

In market research, the most commonly used panel is the consumer panel. Organizations use this panel type to understand buyer/customer psychology, personality, and purchasing habits that extend to the kind of product/service preference, features, and influence of cost factors. Typically used in qualitative market research studies, the panelists are usually localized and sourced from specific geographic regions and are rarely generalized. 

Let’s take a hypothetical instance where, say, Apple intends to understand the scope of improvement or feature enhancement compared to a competitor, say, Samsung. In this case, Apple can get effective consumer insights by conducting online community research on a sample of “smartphone customers who use Samsung products.” This way, Apple can gather actionable feedback on what it needs to do to attract Samsung users by potentially implementing the collected feedback. The success of such panel research is highly dependent on the quality of the sample with multiple determining factors such as concept and question understanding, honesty, and willingness to provide active feedback.

 

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What are the advantages of conducting panel research?

  • The research response rate is amplified as panel members have willingly signed up to participate in the research process. 
  • Different aspects of a particular subject can be discussed with panel members, unlike other research methods where a single topic needs to be addressed at a time. This makes panel research effective and less expensive. 
  • A panel consisting of a sizeable number of participants makes it easy for marketers to record behavioral changes across demographics due to the diversity of panel members. 
  • Capturing better details in panel research insights as panel members have a more sophisticated understanding of the research subject since they are profiled, screened, and validated during recruitment.
  • Qualitative market research methods such as focus groups, discussions, and online interviews can be far more effective if they’re conducted with a well-recruited panel.
  • Quantitative market research can be conducted to muster data and metrics-based inputs for survey research by sending out online surveys and online polls to a panel.

At QuestionPro, we understand the importance of panel research. We provide power to your research with an incredible sample consisting of 22 million panelists from over 32 countries with 300+ profile data points. We provide our customers with 360-degree survey solutions. We understand our customers and their needs and deliver the answers accordingly. 

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