By Richard Thornton

Panelist experience is an issue that is, and should continue to be, high on the agenda of MR players. The industry relies on sample supply, and with an increasing number of channels to turn consumers’ heads, retaining and engaging survey panel participants is an ongoing challenge.

As part of our commitment to this issue, we are carrying out regular surveys to deepen our understanding of what panelists want from their involvement in survey panels. Our investigation is covering everything from motivation and incentives to convenience and commonly used devices. It’s important for the industry to understand these motivating factors in order to best engage panelists, ensure a healthy supply mode for years to come, and be able to adapt the approach in accordance with demand. We hope our regular analysis across a variety of markets will help us to identify trends in panelist engagement and behavior, in turn providing insights that will be of value to the industry as a whole.

In our first survey on this topic, we polled 767 people across the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and Argentina. Some of the insights were surprising while others backed up our thoughts around certain topics. For instance, across the majority of markets, the biggest drivers of panel participation were rewards, echoing our belief of the importance of incentives. Panelists on the whole were satisfied with the level of rewards they have received, and they cited low rewards when asked what would make them stop participating in surveys. It’s an important point the whole industry should bear in mind.

However, while panelists are generally open to using an app to gain better access to their panel account, rewards information and more surveys, they would not be interested in sharing behavioral data via the app. It seems we still have a way to go to convince them to give up this data.   So perhaps a topic to survey in the future amongst our panel marketplace audience.

More surprisingly, we found that despite the rise in ownership and use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, desktop still seems by far the most popular way to partake in surveys.

We were pleased to discover that appetite for survey participation is high, with the US and the UK leading the way in motivation with 43 percent and 41 percent respectively stating they answer surveys several times a day, compared with Germany, France, Spain and Argentina, where the participation often lies between 17 and 19 percent. Email still proves to be a huge driver in survey participation, with most respondents in most countries preferring survey invites via email as the most convenient method. The next most popular way was access via an online research panel site.

Survey designers take note: panelists do not take favorably to surveys with long load times. As this proved to be a bugbear across the board, we’re keen to raise awareness of this topic in the quest to keep panelists engaged and retained.

We will continue to publish insights from these surveys on a regular basis and welcome any feedback anyone may have on the findings. As an industry we will achieve greater things working together than working in silos.

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