About survey panels and the sense or nonsense of online surveys
August 9, 2017
To some people online surveys are the foundation of every marketing activity. To others, they are totally overrated because they do not deliver any usable results. Therefore, we are today taking a look at the point of online surveys. We are also providing a brief analysis of the pros and cons of online panels for surveys.
Reasons why online surveys are pointless:
1. Not representative
…anyways, only Internet users take part in online surveys. They are for the most part male, young and obviously very internet-savvy. This is not the desired target-group.
People register twice or use fake accounts and answer the questions several times. This distorts the results and renders them useless.
3. No regional limits
Anyone can access online surveys; this means that regional surveys are not possible.
4. Abandonment rate
People often abandon the survey before completion.
5. Anonymity distorts answers
The anonymity of the Internet makes people lose their inhibitions. They do not give realistic answers. This distorts the results.
6. Too complicated
Completing online survey questionnaires demands a certain amount of Internet knowledge. This effort is too demanding for many people – therefore they do not attempt it.
7. No time
At the end of the day many people do not want to take part in an online survey – it is simply too much hassle. An exception might be lonely singles.
Reasons why online surveys do make sense:
1. They are representative
While young men were the main Internet users in the 1990s, today things have changed. The World Wide Web has become part of mainstream society. Basically every social group and every age group is active on the Internet.
2. Excluding distortion
Double registrations can be avoided by means of IP-locks, participation keys, cookies and other similar methods. Technically savvy users can always create fake accounts, but they only make up a small proportion of the participants.
3. Regional limits
By means of IP-filters, location request or forks in the questions, residents can be selected specifically according to their areas. Alternatively, you can invite residents of the desired site only to take part in the survey.
4. Abandonment is due to the survey
Well-designed surveys with interesting questions and answers have very low abandonment rates. When participants abandon a survey this is often due to boring, complicated, long or redundant questions. Incomprehensible answer options also reduce the willingness to complete the survey.
5. Anonymity improves answers
With the anonymity of the Internet users do have less inhibitions when answering. However, as a rule the security of anonymity encourages honest answers because the controlling authority of the social environment has been omitted.
Modern online surveys are completed by a simple mouse click or with short answer texts. Every Internet user masters these techniques.
7. Rewarding the expenditure of time
It is true that at the end of a work day, the willingness to spend another 25 minutes completing a survey on the computer may be low. Therefore, surveys should not be too long. It is also helpful to show the user the time remaining until the end of the survey. Furthermore it is good to be able to interrupt the survey and continue at a later time. Consumers are most likely to take part in a survey if they are given a reward. The reward should correspond to the amount of time needed to complete the survey.
Online surveys are quickly conducted and can be created without much effort. In addition, thanks to the survey software, the evaluation is done within a very short time.
The costs of online surveys are low. You do not have to print questionnaires or commission a call center with the survey.
Do online surveys make sense?
Clearly yes – if they are properly tackled. The correct target group, a wisely-structured progression of questions as well as an adequate reward are essential in achieving usable results.
Consumers can register on survey panels to take part in surveys. They generally receive money, vouchers, discounts or similar as incentives. The online panels are often operated by established marketing research centers.
To obtain truly usable data about a product or a service, the survey panel ought to have a large number of registered users. This ensures that your desired target group is available in sufficient numbers.
Basically all the survey panel participants are registered there to earn additional money. They will therefore try to answer the questions as swiftly as possible to be effective.
In addition, the participants can pretend to have certain characteristics and preferences in order to remain in the survey. This can also lead to false results.
Some survey panels have a bad reputation among user communities; for instance because they do not pay, or only as of a high, unreachable sum. If you commission them with your survey, the results will be nearly worthless.
Good survey panels have large user pools from which you will definitely find your target group.
The survey panel operator is in charge of the technical realization of the survey.
The operator is in charge of data security and the necessary legal steps for an honest survey.
The onine panel operator can help you create the right questions and answers.
On request, the onlinen panel operator can evaluate the answers.
If you do not want to commission a survey panel, you can of course create your own survey. Most Content Management Systems (CMS) have suitable modules, which you can simply integrate into your website. Many service providers also offer an online survey software. You can then operate your surveys on a server that is entirely independent of your own website.
You will then of course have to deal with the advantages and disadvantages of online surveys mentioned earlier. Therefore, if you are planning an extensive survey, it is worthwhile to select a survey panel. It is generally more expensive, but both the work and effort involved for you are significantly lower.
An alternative to a traditional marketing research institute survey panel
www.clickworker.com offers a pool of approximately 4.5m international Internet users, so-called Clickworkers. Because they are subject to data checks during their registration process, you are sure to find real participants for your online surveys here. Fake accounts are practically excluded. Because of the size of the pool, you will quickly find many survey participants, and the online surveys can be completed promptly. You can also specifically define and question your target groups. It is also possible to provide each survey participant with an individual survey link. These survey projects are created in such a way as to ensure that each Clickworker sees and can complete the survey task only once. The implementation of the surveys through clickworker.com is easily scalable and offers clear costs and time advantages.
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