Custom Online Research Panels: 4 Reasons to Choose Third-Party Panel Recruitment

Custom online research panels are an increasingly popular tool in the market research world. They are effective, practical, and worthwhile. 

Oftentimes companies will attempt to reinvent the wheel with new projects throughout the year; projects that are laborious and time-consuming. 

That’s where market research panels come in. They provide a pool of qualified individuals who can participate in research studies at a moment’s notice.

We know third-party panels can be confusing, especially for those who have not used them before. They are a hot trend in the realm of research right now, and with that popularity comes questions. 

In this article, our market research firm will share what a custom online research panel is, why it can be worth the investment, and a few examples of panel use. 

Interested in using a custom online research panel for a market research study? Drive Research can help with that too. Contact our team by emailing [email protected] or complete an online form.

Custom Online Research Panels: 4 Reasons to Choose Third-Party Panel Recruitment

What is a Custom Online Research Panel?

Simply put, a custom panel is a group of individuals who have expressed willingness to partake in research studies online on a periodic basis.

A custom online research panel is a group of individuals who have expressed willingness to partake in research studies online on a periodic basis. Learn more about the benefits and examples of how businesses can utilize third-party panel recruitment.

Panel members are typically recruited from a market research company's customer or membership list.

The panel itself usually has a good mix of B2B and B2C respondents to ensure that any necessary quotas can be met when fielding for a study.

The Size of Custom Online Research Panels

Panel sizes can vary dramatically, depending on the type of people you wish to recruit and the subject matter of the studies you wish to run.

For example, if you are creating a panel of individuals who shop online at least once a month, recruiting a large sample size for your panel shouldn’t be overly difficult.

But if you’re looking to recruit individuals who suffer from a type of rare disease that affects a small amount of the population, recruitment may not be as easy.

Building an Online Research Panel

Typically, a custom research panel is built in one of two ways.

  1. Market research firms recruit from a large general population sample.
  2. Market research firms invite specific individuals to join the panel who were previously participated in a research study.

When panel recruitment is underway, respondents will complete a profiling questionnaire.

This is where basic demographic and lifestyle information is collected from the soon-to-be panel member.

Having this information makes it easier for a market research company, like Drive Research, to identify who on their panel should be contacted for certain studies.

So, now you know the basics regarding custom online research panels. They seem pretty simple, so what’s all the fuss about?

Well, keep reading for some insight into the value custom panels can add to any business.

Recommended Reading: 8 Steps to Using an Online Market Research Panel 

Why You Should Invest in a Custom Panel

Custom online research panels are an invaluable tool that can provide insights to companies both big and small.

The reasons why businesses should invest in creating a custom panel are endless, but for the sake of time, we’ll limit it to just a few of the important ones here.

Reason to Invest #1. Research Flexibility

Having a custom panel makes utilizing different research methods a breeze.

Looking to run a simple online survey? Send invites to your panel members.

Are you trying to conduct in-depth interviews or focus groups? Recruit from your panel.

Looking for a few mystery shoppers to partake in a customer journey study? You guessed it, go to the panel!

Reason to Invest #2. Better Response Rates

With a custom panel, response rates are likely to be higher than if you randomly contacted individuals to participate in your study.

By joining the panel in the first place, panelists already indicated their willingness to participate and they’re already aware that they are going to be asked to partake in research studies.

Reason to Invest #3. Real-Time Data

Custom research panels allow for easy tracking studies.

By inviting a similar group of people for each survey, market research companies can easily compare waves of data to benchmarks that may have been set previously.

And, before launching the study, you can even set up a dashboard-style program that can provide you with the ability to see respondents’ data as it comes in. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Tips for a Client Dashboard

Reason to Invest #4. Save Time and Money

Saving on both time and money may sound too good to be true, but with custom panels, this kind of saving is easily within reach!

One of the most time-consuming pieces of the research process is the recruitment phase.

With a custom panel already built, you can eliminate the time otherwise spent on trying to identify and recruit willing participants. This allows for quicker turnaround times and a more efficient research process.

Not only will you save on time, but also costs!

The costs associated with recruiting individuals for research studies can add up quickly.

But with a panel at the ready, you can begin inviting pre-qualified individuals without having to pay anyone to contact them.

Examples of Online Research Panel Usage

Here are a few examples of how custom online research panels are used in market research today.

Example #1

A software/tech company building a panel of consumers to provide feedback on the design, rollout, and modification of a new product.

Panelists are invited to complete a short online questionnaire after reviewing initial product designs and after testing out the new product prototype.

Future modifications to the product can also be tested with quick questionnaires sent to panelists.

Example #2

A consumer packaged good company consulting a third party to build a panel of individuals who drink soda/pop beverages regularly.

As they develop potential new advertisements for a drink, they consult the panel via focus groups to understand how the new advertisement may be perceived once launched.

Example #3

A pharmaceutical company is launching a new over-the-counter medicine to combat seasonal allergies and creates a custom panel of both pharmacists and consumers to gauge perceptions of the product.

The company gets feedback from pharmacists and consumers alike, which helps to ensure that the product is marketed in the most efficient way possible.   

Recommended Reading: Benefits of Using a Third-Party Panel

Benefit From Custom Online Research Panels With Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in New York. Our firm has access to an in-house research panel with respondents of all ages, genders, income levels, ethnicities, and other demographics. 

Interested in working with Drive Research? We also offer end-to-end project management for qualitative and quantitative market research studies.

Learn more by contacting us through any of the four ways below!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Devan Grant

Devan's love for learning serves him well as a market research professional. With two years of both quantitative and qualitative research in the healthcare space under his belt, he knows what it takes to answer some of the toughest market research questions.

Learn more about Devan, here.

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