7 Steps to Better Sample Quality
Aaron Platshon, CEO TapResearch
In order to deliver the high-quality and timely insights that organizations need, there must be a way to access more respondents than traditional models. While there are people who join traditional research panels to earn compensation in exchange for their opinions, the vast majority of people have no interest in taking surveys. Reaching a greater percentage of the population in today’s digital, experience-driven economy requires a next-generation approach to engagement, incentives, and user experience.
To state the obvious, we’ve seen dramatic change in consumer behavior over the last few years, and the competition for customer time and attention is at an all-time high. In turn, the sample industry has also changed, becoming more responsive to what is good for respondents through dynamic pricing, sophisticated yield algorithms, and new technology for buying and selling access to respondents.
Sample buyers are trying to navigate this rapidly changing landscape, and we know that can be challenging. That’s why TapResearch is built to scale and reach hundreds of millions of respondents per day. We’ve worked hard to make research smarter, faster, and more efficient for the world’s top-tier researchers and market leaders. Needless to say, we’ve learned a few things along the way. Here’s our advice for successfully navigating today’s experience-driven economy:
#1 Limit Survey Length
The number of respondents willing to participate in long surveys is diminishing. Respondents have a growing number of activities online that are constantly fighting for their attention. In order to get quality responses from a representative audience, researchers must be diligent in limiting average survey length.
Our advice: Only include questions that are needed to yield the required segmentation and capture the most relevant insights.
#2 Rethink Questionnaire Design
The best surveys are those that consider the interests and motivations of their respondents. Put yourself in their shoes—if you think you’d lose interest halfway through taking a survey, then it’s likely your respondents will too. Use this approach to inform your design to keep respondents engaged throughout the survey.
Our advice: Consider a people-first approach to questionnaire design and you'll get better, higher-quality data.
#3 Ensure Mobile Compatibility
Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily. As mobile continues to be a fixture in our everyday lives, researchers should assume that mobile experiences are vital to successfully field studies.
Our advice: If you haven’t begun optimizing for mobile, now is the time.
#4 Stop Re-profiling
No one enjoys having to re-answer the same questions over and over again—even if those questions are easy ones, like your age or your marital status.
Our advice: Have your sample provider append or pass through the general demographic data they already have on file. This will reduce redundancy and inspire more completed surveys.
#5 Ease Privacy Concerns
In today's world, respondents are increasingly aware of the risks that come with sharing their personal information. This makes it important to only ask for personal information when absolutely necessary.
Our advice: Provide participants with detail on how their data will be used, what safeguards you have in place to keep data safe and protected, and where they can reach you if they have concerns.
#6 Be Thoughtful About Time and Incentives
Think about the incentive models being used to reward your participants. Give thought to how these incentives could help attract the respondents you need. At TapResearch, we value our respondents’ time, whether they complete a survey or not. We provide incentives based on their time spent participating in surveys to add value to their experiences and keep them coming back for more.
Our advice: Consider the respondents time when implementing disqualifications and pricing CPIs.
#7 Collect Feedback
Don’t hesitate to ask respondents about their experience taking your survey. They’ll provide valuable insights into how you can improve survey design. You may be unaware of survey elements that are challenging for respondents and get in the way of collecting accurate, reliable data.
But it wouldn’t be fair to only ask researchers to be accountable for their user experiences. We should also require the same of all sample providers in the insights industry.
How can researchers hold their sample providers accountable?
#1 Require Transparency
Do you know where your sample is coming from? Reselling in the sample marketplace is rampant, and customers are often unaware that it is happening. To keep this from affecting the quality of your insights, ask your provider to confirm whether they’re using proprietary sourcing only, and to share if they’re bringing on other partners to support fielding efforts. Transparency is key.
#2 Push for Fair Compensation
Respondents deserve to be paid for the time they spend in your survey—even if they are unable to fully complete it (this is the philosophy that drives survey engagement at TapResearch). Without paying out for disqualified users, suppliers not only create an awful user experience, but they also encourage users to lie in order to qualify for more opportunities.
#3 Understand Incentives and Recruitment Methodology
Learn how your sample providers recruit, engage with, and incentivize participants in order to grasp where and how they fit in the larger ecosystem of the sample marketplace. This will help you to choose the right provider for your research.
As the insights landscape changes and demand for data surges, the research and insights industry faces a fork in the road—adapt or lose out. Amidst these changes, we must prioritize user experience in order to safeguard our sample supply for the future. As an industry, we must work together day by day, project by project, to reconcile the gap we have between supply and demand.
TapResearch is on a mission to power the next generation of insights with access to hundreds of millions of respondents, and doing that requires close partnership with our customers. We’d love to discuss your research design so that, together, we can deliver the types of respondent experiences that unlock a whole new world of supply. Contact us today to see what’s possible.