Drive users to join your panel

We showcase the most common methods while evaluating the pros and cons of each of them

Things to keep in mind


There are two key factors that we recommend you apply to your recruitment process. Allow your members to be in control of their signing-up to the panel, and, more importantly, make sure the users are motivated and confident throughout the whole process.

This is achieved by:

  • Having a strong brand to which they can connect and identify with.
  • Highlighting the reason why they are signing up.
  • Highlighting the benefits of signing up, whether these are in the form of incentives, prizes, being able to contribute to the brand. For example, for audiences largely interested in rewards the messaging should focus on the incentive methods offered and on how rewards can be spent.

Pro Tip: A great way to incentivize people to join your panel is to show how you will use the information and data you collect from the surveys they will answer. Share articles or blog posts where this data is used and prove that your panelists’ opinions matter.

The wonders of the ‘Double Opt In’

Another important aspect of online panel recruitment is to allow people to ‘opt-in’; so basically to make sure that they want to become a panelist. Usually a single opt-in is enough but we recommend the ‘Double Opt in’ practice. A two-step process where a new member needs to enter their email and demographic data before signing up. After clicking on the registration button an email is sent where the new member is asked to click on a link to verify the details they just submitted. Only then they will be granted access to the panel.

Note: This procedure also guarantees that the email provided at sign-up really belongs to panelist and that they do have access to it.

Building a Panel Page

With this in mind, you are now ready to build your ‘Panel Page’ from which you will be linking to the Cint registration page. If you already have a website you can either create a new section on the menu or simply link to it from any page you see fit.

The registration page should include the ‘Cint Registration URL’ that is supposed to be embedded (Iframed) as part of your page. This URL will be provided by us.

The Panel page should include:

  • A description of the type of panel that your visitors are joining.
  • How will they will be compensated for taking the surveys. We have had panels that have just awarded prizes to maybe one or 2 panelists every so often, but we feel that rewarding all panelists even if it is a small amount yields better response rates.
  • A FAQ section. Please feel free to use the Cint FAQ’s and adapt them to your needs.
  • We also recommend having a ‘terms and conditions’ section so that your panelists are fully aware of your policies.
  • Contact Information: Who can they contact in case of queries?

Pro Tip: If your website is hosting multiple language versions we recommend you first ask your members to confirm which country they are signing up from and then redirect them to the correct registration page from there (in this case you will probably have one panel for each country). This will prevent having panelists that belong to the wrong panel and that are likely to receive surveys in languages they do not speak.


Direct email/newsletter send out

Sending an email to your members asking them to sign up for the panel is a simple and straight forward way of recruiting them. The best way is to use A/B testing to track your recruitment conversion and success rate with different messaging to see which is best.

Your message must quickly establish credibility and trust as people are often cautious when clicking on any sort of link.

Your message should be personalized, describe who you are, provide contact information and a link to your website.

On the tail of surveys

Using surveys to suggest signing up to your panel is also an option. But how to do this when you need a panel before you are able to send out surveys? Simple, if you happen to have an existing contact list (such as a membership list) you can use it to send them their first survey; after completing it you will give them the possibility to sign-up and join your panel.

At this point the to-be panelist will have two options:

  • The person is sent directly to the registration page. We recommend the link being a customised one that includes your webpage address (panelists will feel more confident clicking on a link they will recognize).
  • The registration happens through our ‘Integrated Panel Recruitment’ API. Panelists join from anywhere by simply populating an opt-in email address through the API. Our system then receives and validates the email address and only then starts collecting further data points through the ‘Cint Panelist Portal’ as panelists answer surveys.

Note: You will need to be familiar working with API’s to be able to use this the second method. Read more about it here.

Pop-Ups & Banners

Both are an option when driving traffic to the panel or registration page. You can host these on your website (for free) or pay for these to be placed on other web pages. A good way of capturing the attention of the visitors would be to ask for feedback or opinions on your product and services or say that you are offering incentives for this feedback.

Remember that by hosting these ads on your own website you are targeting people who already know you and are familiar with what you do.

If you have a niche panel you can also place these ads in specific parts of your website that are more likely to be seen by the people you are trying to reach.

Pro tip: Paid Banners and ads are nowhere as effective today as they were a few years ago and we have seen from the conversion rate that they fall short in attracting people to sign up for panels. This is particularly true for passive banners and we have found that pop-ups are a much more effective way of recruiting.

A good way of using pop-ups is by turning them into what we call an ‘Intercept Questionnaire’ from which you will ask people to take part in a survey right away and from there ask them to become a panelist either before starting or after completing it.

Social Media

When companies like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter round up over 1.5 billion users together it is only logical to think of these as recruitment sources. Most social media channels offer recruitment solutions although they do require some research on your side to find the demographics and audiences you are looking for.

Panel recruitment services

Panel Recruitment services specialize in the recruitment of new members for your panel. They usually recruit from general population down to more specific hard-to-find groups.

Telephone recruitment

Telephone Recruitment is one of the most costly and time consuming ways of doing it, but there is a benefit in having a panel recruited this way; the assurance that each and every panelist was spoken to and directly asked about joining.

If you choose to go this way make sure to request all of the relevant demographic data such as email address, year of birth and gender; data that will need to be imported into the system as soon as possible so that your panelists can receive their login details and begin taking surveys immediately. Leaving this for too long might result in your panelists forgetting that they ever joined.

A way to cut down these steps is to still contact them on the phone but to then direct them to your website and leave the sign-up process to them.

Note: In certain hard-to-reach and non-web savvy populations you might see a high dropout rate when using this technique.

Mailing lists

Buying or renting general opt-in email lists is another way of recruiting from the general population. The problem with these lists is that they have no affinity with your brand and are likely to not know anything about you. The conversion rate on email lists is always very low (around 1%) so we strongly recommend against it.