Online survey panels have proliferated over the past few years – seems like everyone has an online panel (or at least an online community) to facilitate online marketing research sampling. Moreover, then there are the aggregators, who combine panels to mediate some of the more challenging aspects of panel sample representation to the general population. However, what about online panels? Can you get a good mobile research sample from an online panel?
It turns out, the line between online (desktop or laptop) and mobile (tablet or smartphone) is blurring. And throw in wearables (see our previous blog), and the line becomes even vaguer. Then add in communities through Facebook and LinkedIn and sponsored by different brands, products, and panel/sample companies, and you can see how online sample easily transitions to mobile marketing research.
There are several advantages to panels that carry over to mobile marketing research as well:
- Confirmed identity. Panel companies have a myriad of data on their members, which you can access to shorten your survey by eliminating those questions. Now, as with all online surveys, you will not get a guarantee that the person you think is taking your survey is actually taking your survey. So, they are not perfect, but in marketing research, what is?
- Better participation rates. Because panel members develop a relationship and maintain engagement with their panel companies (at least the well-run panel companies) or communities, they are more likely to participate in a survey from that source. And those improved participation rates translate into lower costs for the researcher.
- Better data quality. All reputable panel companies constantly work to eliminate poor respondents from their panel, as well as to constantly replace and refresh the panel with recruits. This means you probably will get better quality data than from other sample sources (or that you do not have to oversample to get the quality responses you need).
- Improved security. The lifeblood of any panel company is their relationship with the respondent, so they strictly guard the security of their personal. That means that you as the marketing researcher have an extra layer of protection – you never take possession of the data that could lead to identifying an individual respondent and compromising their privacy.
Ivana Taylor, publisher of DIYMarketers.com, adds this perspective on mobile marketing research, “Mobile gets you closer to the point of experience. When you reach out to a panel community via mobile device – you are getting their attention. They get a gentle email push reminder that there is a survey for which they are qualified. They check their email; they check their survey notice. You’re getting them where they are at the moment.” What allows for that sort of instant communication is the relationship between the panel company and the respondent.
Another benefit to online panels for mobile marketing research is that they are available worldwide. In fact, using smartphones for marketing research in developing countries finally gives us access where we did not have ubiquitous landline or internet access. Combine that with the speed of completion and that decreases the cost of global research substantially.
Online panel sample is a great resource for mobile marketing research surveys. While no sample source will be perfect, online panels deliver a solution that is uniquely beneficial to and cost-effective for mobile market research.