An online panel is a group of people who are repeatedly willing to take part in surveys and studies on the Internet. Using this panel, data can be continuously collected at specific intervals to do research in specific developments. This provides a means of determining differentiated causalities. Online panels are usually used for marketing research purposes.
Putting together a group that takes part in a survey, and the implementation of the interviews has become much easier in the digital age. Online panels offer several advantages
Online panels also make it easy to change the composition of the group at all times. This makes the results more reliable without damaging the representativeness of the group.
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Whether marketing research or sociological studies, the quality of survey results hinges on its representativeness. A study is representative (and as such informative) when it provides a statement about the group that is actually being explored, without any systematic errors.
Representativeness comes from the simple principle that the participating group, as a whole, corresponds with the cross section of the actual group being explored. For example: When it is known that 90 percent women and 10 percent men are interested in a certain product, then the online panel ought to be made up of 90 percent women and 10 percent men. The more characteristics are known about the actual group, the more accurate a test group can be modeled.
However, there are obstacles that can hinder the representativeness of a group:
Other problems that come from repeated interviews can also arise:
Companies can independently recruit participants by contacting them and, finally, select them based on certain criteria (active recruitment.) On the other hand, companies can also advertise the recruitment of participants on Internet platforms. In this case, participants can register themselves. This is known as passive recruitment. However, this type of recruitment frequently leads to false results. This is because self-selection can have a negative effect on the representativeness of a survey. The allover picture is distorted because, for instance, the number of people who are already interested in the topic are over-represented.
The incentives (for instance, the compensation) for participating in an online panel should not influence the results.
Crowdworker platforms are ideal for long-term surveys. For instance, clickworker – with a workforce of over one million people. This ensures an exact selection of the survey group, with any number of criteria. Additionally, clickworker provides its technical infrastructure for various types of surveys.
Using the crowd also reduces the self-selection problem. Because the selection of persons ensues from a very large group or is solely based on criteria that are defined by the decision-makers of the survey. The crowdworkers registered on an online portal are generally interested in taking part in online panels. This makes the results representative. Furthermore, the number of people earning an extra income with crowdworking is increasing.
Today, any and all marketing research methods are possible online. This makes them inexpensive, flexible and fast. Large and small companies, established companies and startups profit from current market data to examine the chances for success of their strategies. An online panel supplies any number of accurate data – for instance regarding the development of trends that distinguish a target group. The crowd provides many ways of acquiring representative data quickly and efficiently