Optimizing the experience for survey respondents is key for both our exchange and the industry

By 27 February, 2014Blog

By: Stefan Hök

Cint is an exchange for market research, and so we have both buyers and sellers active in the platform. Both are equally important with both being dependent on each other for a successful model.

There is one large difference between running an exchange in market research, and, for instance, one in the financial markets – and that is the perspective of the respondent. Just imagine how different stock markets would work if stocks had a say in how trading was executed.

Last year Cint took the decision to prioritize the respondent perspective with the simple rationale that happy respondents help Cint retain and attract the best panel partners, which in turn helps us to fulfill our clients’ demands.

So what does this mean? We want to be open, transparent, fair and respectful with regard to time and incentives for all respondents that engage on our platform. Survey respondents should of course be aware of incentive levels and study length before deciding to take the survey. Once the participant has accepted the invite, we minimize any time spent outside of the survey (such as pre-screeners) and maximize the likelihood of completing the survey. All this helps to provide a better respondent experience, which will hopefully increase the chances of that respondent continuing to engage with our clients’ surveys.

Cint Optimizer is a practical example on how we prioritize the respondent perspective. Cint Optimizer is an internal router meaning that we use all our knowledge about a certain respondent (usually gathered over many months or even years) to match them to a suitable survey, should the first survey not be suitable. If a respondent is screened-out from a survey, we want to offer a new survey opportunity as quickly as possible. When there are multiple surveys to choose from, we provide the survey that is a perfect match as the first option. If there are no perfect matches, we prioritize the surveys where we need to ask as few qualifying questions as possible, which minimizes respondent time spent outside the survey. Any surveys with high drop-out rates are being pushed down in priority and if they hit a certain threshold, the door is closed.

In all the respondent communication within Cint Optimizer we are transparent with any survey data that we have, what the incentives will be and are clear that respondents can skip any profiling question if they want to – and we will still try to match the respondent to a suitable study.

Isn’t this obvious you might ask? In our experience, we have learned that other routing systems prioritize everything but the respondent. Unnecessary questions are being asked over and over again, surveys with the highest CPI are prioritized, and so on.

Hand to heart, we are not perfect but we have taken a conscious decision to improve. There are many things to do around behavioral or contextual targeting for example. More and more of our clients are running web-cam studies, UI testing, etc. rather than traditional surveys, which puts new requirements on devices which must be considered when optimizing the respondent experience. Furthermore, we learn every day about the preferences of research participants in terms of study types, length of studies and when they like to spend their time on surveys.

Our goal is to use all this data, understand it and build systems that make the experience as good as possible for respondents. If Cint succeeds in all this, I am certain that our exchange will blossom. If all research companies succeed in this, I am confident that this industry will flourish!

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