[Ultimate Guide] How to Use Social Media to Find Research Participants

[Ultimate Guide] How to Use Social Media to Find Research Participants

Finding research participants can be the most frustrating and resource-intensive part of conducting qualitative market research.

Our market research company typically uses one of three methods for our clients:

Let’s be honest. Using social media to find research participants is not the first sampling method research firms think to utilize. Ugh. Dinosaurs.

However, from our experience, there are several instances where using Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to find qualified participants is better than using a panel vendor. 

Article Contents 📝

In this Ultimate Guide, our qualitative recruiting company shares the best practices and real-world examples of using paid Facebook ads to increase participation in market research.

In this article, we’ll cover topics such as:

Looking for a short synopsis of social media market research recruiting? Watch this 60-second video.


Why Using Facebook for Market Research is Better Than a Panel 

That’s right, our qualitative recruitment company will come right out and say it – using Facebook to source research participants is better than using members of a research panel. 

Drive Research specializes in qualitative and quantitative market research services and has relied on both Facebook and panel lists through our hunt to find research participants.

While using a research panel has its own advantages and disadvantages, it simply does not provide the same quality of participants or respondents. 

In turn, the data and feedback collected from an online panel company are not as accurate or as reliable if sourced through Facebook.

When comparing the two, our recruitment firm has found Facebook is more likely to attract real consumers of any target demographic.

No fake bots or professional survey takers – but real customers who use or are likely to use your product and service.

An easy way to put this into perspective is by using an example of real consumers vs. professional survey takers. 👇👇

Finding Research Participants on Facebook vs. a Panel

Example of Facebook Sample vs. Panel Sample

A car dealership conducts an online community survey about what buyers in their area feel are most important to them when buying a car. 

Is it gas mileage, safety, style, price, or other factors?

In this example, recruiting respondents through an online panel is equivalent to only having race car drivers complete the survey. 

Racecar drivers are way too knowledgeable about the topic and share nowhere near the same buying habits or behaviors as real consumers.

Similarly, research participants on a panel are experts at bypassing screener questions so that they are selected for the study.

Even worse, during the qualitative research, they know exactly how to act and what to say, even if it is not their honest opinion.

The better alternative!

If the car dealership sources online survey respondents through Facebook they are able to cast a much larger net.

They are able to see what is most important when buying a car for many different demographics of people.

With Facebook, researchers are able to attract all genders, all ages, and all incomes of people. 

This social media platform is also able to find respondents from different walks of life such as recent college grads, soccer moms, those who are retired, and so on.

These types of respondents are exactly who the car dealership should want to be talking to. They are closer to who is a legitimate consumer in their marketplace. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Participants found on Facebook will provide more honest feedback than professional market research participants. With more honest feedback brands can better market their products and services to varying customer personas.

Participants found on Facebook will provide more honest feedback than professional market research participants. With more honest feedback brands can better market their products and services to varying customer personas.


The Benefit to You: Find Real Consumers on Facebook – Not Professional Survey Takers

A common misconception in research is that it is better to recruit or target people who have participated in market research before. 

This is because people who have responded to an online survey or participated in a focus group before are “more experienced” and more likely to understand what is required of them.

However, by relying on and recruiting only those who have participated in research prior to a study, you are already skewing your data. 

It is better to recruit participants who most accurately represent the everyday consumer than the panel member who participates in 6 focus groups a year and completes 30 surveys a month. 

This is what our qualitative recruitment firm likes to call “professional survey takers” and online panel lists are full of them.

🤦🤦🤦

For example, some businesses turn to an online panel company to recruit focus group participants. 

However, members of an online panel have taken plenty of screening surveys to understand what answers qualify or disqualify them from being selected to join the group discussion.

Whereas with Facebook, recruiters are able to advertise to a much larger target audience who are not privy to what type of answers would lead them to be chosen for the focus group. 

Instead, Facebook users offer their real opinions and more honest answers because they are unaware of what the focus group will be about.

This leads businesses to find the exact audience they are hoping to target as they are as close to the everyday consumer as possible.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Just because panel members are “more experienced” in qualitative research participation does not mean they are the best fit for the role. It is far better to rely on feedback from everyday consumers.


Remember: Online Panel Lists are Limited to the Same People

If you were to do a quick Google search for, “Online panel company” you would find hundreds of thousands of companies to choose from. 

Google search for online panel company

 


The issue with using a generic online panel firm is businesses are limited as to who they can collect feedback from.

Many people sign up for several online panels because they are promised incentives every time they take a survey.

In fact, some panel members use this as their full-time job! Again these are the professional survey takers businesses should not be interested in speaking with.

With Facebook, recruiters are not limited to a smaller pool of potential respondents or participants.

As of 2021, Facebook is home to 2.8 billion active users with 6 new profiles being created every second. 

This means your potential Facebook research audience is growing exponentially – nowhere near the growth of online research panels.

With Facebook, research recruitment firms like Drive Research are also assured they are speaking with legitimate people. 

How are we so confident? Well, they are clearly active on social media if they saw an ad to take participate in a research study. 

Panel lists on the other hand can include bots that people set up to automatically complete a survey for them just to earn the offered cash or gift card incentive.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Over 63% of the U.S. population has a Facebook account. This social media platform provides brands with greater access to research participants than any online panel ever could.

Over 63% of the U.S. population has a Facebook account. This social media platform provides brands with greater access to research participants than any online panel ever could.


Myth Busted: Finding Participants Through a Panel Does Not Result in Better Show Rates

Some qualitative recruitment firms fear that using Facebook to source participants will result in a low show rate

They believe that because these people have not participated in a focus group, in-person interview, or other types of qualitative research before, then they will not trust it as a legitimate study and bail.

Our national qualitative recruitment firm can assure our clients this is not the case. 

Drive Research follows a thorough and trusted recruitment process in which participants are able to establish a relationship with our team.

In doing so, people feel comfortable joining us at our focus group facility or other study locations.

The recruitment process followed by Drive Research involves a series of communication touchpoints with participants including: 

  • A pre-screen online survey.
  • A phone call to re-screen participants and lay out what is expected of them.
  • A confirmation email, and a reminder text the day of the study.

This process proves to be successful in validating our market research firm is a legitimate business and not a scam.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Show rate is not impacted by where research firms source participants. Instead, a perfect show rate is achieved by how the qualitative recruitment team builds relationships with people before they participate in a study.

Show rate is not impacted by where research firms source participants. Instead, a perfect show rate is achieved by how the qualitative recruitment team builds relationships with people before they participate in a study.


When to Use Social Media to Recruit Research Participants

Using Facebook advertising to source a research sample is dependent on a number of factors.

This includes targeting criteria and project components such as:

  • What are the demographics of your ideal participant or respondent (age, gender, income, ethnicity, etc.)?
  • How many participants are needed for the research study?
  • What type of methodology are you using (focus groups, in-depth interviews, concept testing, etc.)?
  • Are you offering a reward or incentive?
  • Are there travel restrictions?

Each market research study is different. Therefore what project is a great fit for Facebook and what project is a great fit for a panel varies. 

For example, our market research company used Facebook advertising to find people who switched from Android to Apple, and vice-versa. 

The people who have done this among a panel of the general population are minuscule. Whereas, with Facebook, we were able to target people who accessed their account with both Android and iOS in the past 30-days. 

Targeting this audience assured our recruitment team that our ads were being placed in front of potentially qualified candidates for the research study.


Where Facebook is Not Fit for Finding Research Participants

In contrast, Facebook would not be a great fit for market research projects that are dependent on filling quotas unique to strict zip codes and ethnicities. 

Facebook has great targeting capabilities when it comes to age, gender, location, and education levels.

However, where they lack is the ability to target those that are of a specific ethnicity and markets with low population sizes.

💡 The Key Takeaway: The more strict your participant criteria are, the harder it will be to find qualified participants on Facebook -- or even a panel. Facebook is great for targeting specific ages, genders, and general locations but not small zip codes and ethnicities.

The more strict your participant criteria are, the harder it will be to find qualified participants on Facebook -- or even a panel. Facebook is great for targeting specific ages, genders, and general locations but not small zip codes and ethnicities.


Best Practices for Recruiting Qualified Participants on Facebook

Tip #1: Custom Audiences 🧒👩‍👧👴

With paid social media advertising you can make sure your exact audience is being served an ad promoting market research participation.

Advertisers can select from targeting criteria such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geography
  • Interests
  • Other qualifying criteria

In doing so, researchers are able to best match those super niche target audiences or the general population.

It also helps assure market researchers are attracting real people, not robots.

✅ Actionable Tip: One thing to be wary of is being too broad or too targeted with your audience. It is best to consult a market research firm, like Drive Research, that often uses this approach to find its participants.


Tip #2: The Ad’s Landing Page = Survey 💭

Just because you’ve used the audience targeting filters, doesn’t mean those being served the ad is going to exactly fit your screening criteria.

You must take into account people sharing the post to their feed of followers, or tagging their friends to click on the ad as well.

In this case, your ad should encourage people to contact you or complete an online survey as a way of screening respondents.

Keep in mind, today’s generations don’t want to be bothered with nonsense and fluff.

If they click on the call to action, social media users want to be sent to a landing page delivering exactly what they had expected when deciding to click on the link in the first place.

For this reason, it’s important to cut right to the chase. Make sure your call to action link takes social media users right to the first question of your survey. 

Another option is to redirect Facebook's users to a survey’s intro page that describes more details of the study. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Always keep the respondent’s experience top of mind. For instance, if the ad’s call to action is “Take our survey” the URL should immediately redirect users to the beginning of the questionnaire. 

Always keep the respondent’s experience top of mind. For instance, if the ad’s call to action is “Take our survey” the URL should immediately redirect users to the beginning of the questionnaire.


Tip #3: Include the Screening Survey URL Twice 🌐

When creating a social media ad with the hope of recruiting research participants, you likely will have some type of call to action or landing page for your audience to click on and learn more about the study.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media platforms of your choice will require you to include some type of URL, whether it be your homepage or a recruitment screening survey.

Along with adding your required call-to-action link in the URL box, think about including it in the “text box” as well.

Adding the URL to multiple locations of the ad gives potential participants more opportunities to find the link and click off social media.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Include the link to the screener survey in both the ad text as well as the required URL section of a Facebook ad. 


Tip #4: Rely on Facebook Analytics 📊

Another important feature to utilize when promoting participation in a market research study on social media are the provided analytics.

Take advantage of the detailed reporting found on your social media platform of choice.

For example, Facebook provides advertising analytics such as:

  • Link clicks
  • Impressions
  • Frequency
  • Cost per link click
  • Reach

Understanding each of these analytics can help you better refine your message in order to gain survey responses or interest in the research study faster and more consistently.

No one understands this reporting tactic better than a market research firm specializing in social media surveys.

facebook reporting dashboard

Source: Quora


How Our Research Firm Recruits Participants on Social Media

Do not hesitate to reach out to a marketing research company to learn more about how they recruit participants, even if you are planning to conduct the actual study in-house.

Drive Research, for example, specializes in both qualitative and quantitative recruiting strategies to find our clients the most qualified research participants.

Better quality data relies on having the best possible research participant, which in turn allows your organization to address key business objectives with fact-based evidence.

With that being said, no two market research recruiting companies are the same.

In this section, I’ll describe the proven process Drive Research follows to recruit participants on social media.


Contact Our Qualitative Recruiting Firm 📧

First and foremost, brands must contact Drive Research via an online form, phone, email, or phone.

Tell our team a bit more about your needs so we can provide accurate recommendations and costs.

Helpful information to include when contacting a market research firm includes:

  • Type of research methodology (focus groups, in-depth interviews, phone surveys, etc.)
  • Goal number of participants
  • Target criteria (gender, age, geography, interests, etc.)

A member of our team will contact you shortly after receiving your request and detail the next steps.

Have a larger scope project you’d like pricing for? Use our market research RFP template to save hours of work. 

FREE RFP TEMPLATE - CALL TO ACTION


Review and Sign a Market Research Proposal ✍️

Oftentimes before our qualitative recruiting firm writes a market research proposal, we will schedule an introductory call to learn more about your organization and project request.

In other cases, especially with projects that have a shorter timeline, we can get the information we need in an email as well.

After these initial conversations, Drive Research will send a thorough proposal outlining our approach, timeline, and costs.

💡 The Key Takeaway: A market research proposal is a helpful document that outlines a project’s objectives, approach, timeline, and scope. It assures both parties start the research study on the same page.


Attend a Project Kick-Off Meeting 📅

Upon selecting Drive Research as your qualitative recruiting partner, our team will schedule a project kickoff meeting.

Here you will meet our recruitment manager (if you have not already). 

The purpose of this meeting is to identify your objectives, goals, and target audience. The discussions had in this meeting help shape recruitment strategies and communication with participants.

💡 The Key Takeaway: The discussions had in a qualitative recruiting kick-off meeting set the tone for the rest of the study. Clear objectives = better market research participants.

The discussions had in a qualitative recruiting kick-off meeting set the tone for the rest of the study. Clear objectives = better market research participants.


Design a Recruitment Screener ❓❓

A recruitment screener survey is a critical component of qualitative market research. It is an online survey used to qualify or disqualify people for research studies. 

Based on the parameters set in the kick-off meeting, our team designs a survey to filter through large samples of Facebook respondents to find participants that align with your goals.

For example, let’s say a local bank is hosting online focus groups with non-customers. Before being scheduled for the focus groups, people must complete a short survey. 

The recruitment screener survey may include questions such as:

  • Which of the following best describes your age group? 
  • Are you a current or former customer of [INSERT BANK NAME]?
  • Do you currently have an active checking or savings account?
  • What is your ZIP Code of residence?

The length and questions of a screener survey are dependent on how refined the participant criteria is. 

More quotas = more qualifying questions.

💡 The Key Takeaway: A recruitment screener is the most effective way to source research participants based on your targeting criteria. It provides recruiting teams with a list of highly qualified people to follow up with.


Program and Test the Screener Survey 🧪

After the screener survey is written and approved by your team, our recruitment manager begins programming the questionnaire into our online survey platform.

Additionally, various members of our team test the survey to assure it is working as intended.

The survey programming process can be a tedious task, but an important one nonetheless. Watch this short video to learn best practices for coding a survey.


Create the Facebook Ad 🎨

With the programmed survey finalized, our marketing coordinator begins creating the Facebook campaign.

We often host internal team meetings to discuss the audience, goal number of participants, incentive, and budget.

This insight helps our marketing coordinator create the most refined Facebook campaign so that we are advertising in front of the most qualified people. 

For example, a toy company is hosting in-home usage tests with parents of 3 to 5-year-olds in New York City. 

Our qualitative recruiting team will create a Facebook Ad Set that includes parameters such as:

  • Selecting the campaign objective (traffic, engagement, conversions, etc.).
  • Choosing where we want to drive traffic (website, app, etc.).
  • Identifying the daily budget.
  • Identifying the start and end date.
  • Setting the location to New York City.
  • Adding detailed demographics such as “Parents of 3 to 5-year-olds.”
  • Selecting optimization for ad delivery (link clicks, landing page views, impressions, etc.).

Lastly, it’s time to create the ad. Perhaps the most important step is including a link to the recruitment screener as the call-to-action of the ad. 

In doing so, your target audience is served the ad, they click the link to “learn more,” and within seconds start taking the screener survey to qualify for the qualitative research study.

example facebook ad campaign

Source: Social Media Examiner


⚠️ Something to Note ⚠️

Facebook is very particular with what ads they approve and what ads they disapprove of, especially for the purposes of market research.

From our years of experience, Drive Research knows what text and imagery to include that is both enticing for people to click on the link and deemed acceptable by Facebook.


Review and Optimize Facebook Campaigns 👀

Once the ad(s) are approved and in the field, Drive Research does not just set them and forget them.

Each day, our marketing coordinator monitors how well the Facebook Ads are performing and how many qualified completes it is producing. 

We monitor key analytics such as link clicks, frequency, and any positive or negative comments.

A combination of these efforts helps generate a long list of participants our team can source and schedule for your research study.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Just like a marketing or advertising campaign, using social media to find research participants requires attention to detail and optimization. Don’t just set it and forget it.


Conduct Follow-Up Phone Calls 📱

Of the people that are deemed qualified for the qualitative research study, our team conducts follow-up phone calls. 

In doing so, our team can ask any follow-up questions and assure respondents were truthful in their initial answers to the screening survey. 

Based on the phone conversation, research participants are scheduled and confirmed to join the study.

Furthermore, this step is helpful in building a rapport with potential participants. Some people may still be skeptical of the study being that they’ve only learned about it from a social media advertisement. 

Phone calls give people a chance to ask their own questions and are assured that the study is 100% legitimate.

💡 The Key Takeaway: In a world where everything is becoming automated, Drive Research takes the opposite approach with qualitative recruitment. We focus on building relationships with participants through a series of communication touchpoints.

In a world where everything is becoming automated, Drive Research takes the opposite approach with qualitative recruitment. We focus on building relationships with participants through a series of communication touchpoints.


Send Follow-Up Communication to Increase Show Rate 💬

When we reference “communication touchpoints” we aren’t messing around.

After participants are scheduled for the research study on the phone, they receive a confirmation email with more detailed information.

The following communication outreaches include:

  • A calendar invitation where research participants must confirm “Yes.”
  • A reminder phone call a few days before the study.
  • A reminder text the day of the qualitative research study.

The more times our team communicates with participants, the more trust is being built.

People feel bad bailing on participating at the last second after they’ve had so many conversations with our recruitment manager.

💡 The Key Takeaway: The single-recruiter approach builds a mini-relationship with each participant, leading to a better level of comfort with the process and an increased likelihood of show rates across the board.


Cost of Using Social Media Market Research to Find Participants

Unfortunately, it’s hard to give an accurate cost for qualitative recruiting on social media with little insight into project specifications.

I know this is not the answer you are looking for, but in short, it depends on various factors.

At Drive Research, we often equate this query to shopping for a car. You wouldn’t walk into a car dealership and say, “What’s the cost of a car?” without there being follow-up questions. 

For a better comparison, the cost structure is similar to working with a marketing agency to run Facebook ads for lead generation and brand awareness.

There are project costs such as:

  • Set-up and ad creative fee
  • Project management fee on top of the spend to manage the campaign
  • Distributing rewards with a small fulfillment fee

To get the most accurate project costs for using social media to find research participants, contact our team

In the meantime, here are a few factors that can impact the scope of qualitative recruiting. 


Cost Factor #1: Goal Number of Participants 🔢

In addition to participant demographics, the number of people you’d like to participate in market research can impact qualitative recruitment costs. 

For instance, it will take more time (and therefore more advertising dollars) to find 50 participants for 5 focus groups compared to 10 participants for two focus groups.

Additionally, with more people participating in a study, there is greater project management time to account for.

Again it takes more time to make follow-up calls with 50 people than it would be 10.

Another thing to consider with qualitative research is the need to over recruit.

Just because 150 people clicked on our Facebook ad does not mean they are all qualified participants.

In fact, it is highly unlikely that 150 people even answered the first question of the screener survey. 

From our experience, we know the exact ratio of people who click on a Facebook ad that ultimately converts into a scheduled participant.

For this reason, and many others, it is helpful to partner with a third party for this type of recruitment.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Market research firms typically offer costs per recruit. Therefore the more people you’d like to participate in market research, the higher the overall cost will be. 

Market research firms typically offer costs per recruit. Therefore the more people you’d like to participate in market research, the higher the overall cost will be.


Cost Factor #2: Type of Qualitative Research 🗨️

As it pertains to the Facebook audience, there are certain types of studies that are more enticing and attractive than others. 

For example, a soda brand conducting concept testing will have an easier time finding people on social media to participate.

In contrast, financial institutions hosting focus groups will have a harder time because people are uncomfortable talking about their finances (especially with strangers). 

It truly is a case-by-case scenario, but the type of qualitative research can certainly impact how much money it costs to recruit participants.

💡 The Key Takeaway: To garner the most attention on Facebook, the research study must be marketed as an exclusive and exciting opportunity. Some industries and methodologies have an easier time at accomplishing this than others.


Cost Factor #3: Incentives 💸

Believe it or not, incentives can make or break a qualitative recruitment project. It is often the sole reason people click on a Facebook Ad to learn more about the study. 

For instance, participating in a 90-minute focus group for $25 is far less enticing than receiving $150.

Our market research company is strong believers in higher rewards equaling less market research costs. The more a reward is, the more people interested in participating.

It’s as simple as that. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: While lowering the incentives you offer participants seems like an easy way to cut costs, it may still cost you in the long run when few people feel like the reward is worth their time and feedback.

While lowering the incentives you offer participants seems like an easy way to cut costs, it may still cost you in the long run when few people feel like the reward is worth their time and feedback.


Cost Factor #4: The Market Research Company 🏢

As you request pricing from different market research or panel companies, there will be a wide range of offers.

I’ll be very honest: Drive Research is not the cheapest qualitative recruiting company you’ll find. But, for good reason!

Our team understands the research is an extension of your brand, so we want the experience to reflect positively on your organization through our systematic process.

In many cases, cheap panel companies will over promise and under deliver. Sure the cost per recruit is $25, but I can assure you the quality of the participant will reflect that.

When conducting qualitative research, recruiting qualified participants is the most important part of the study.

Without obtaining quality feedback from your target audience, you are trusting data that is not reliable.

There are a few aspects of a qualitative research study where you can cut corners and reduce costs -- the qualitative recruiting process should not be one of them.

💡 The Key Takeaway: If the cost of qualitative recruiting seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Rely on a trusted market research firm that has experience with both qualitative recruiting and using social media to find participants. 

If the cost of qualitative recruiting seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Rely on a trusted market research firm that has experience with both qualitative recruiting and using social media to find participants.


Case Study #1: Delivering Qualified Focus Group Participants in One Week via Social Media Recruiting

Drive Research completed a focus group recruitment project for a renowned feminine hygiene product company. 

In under one week, the sponsor of the study partnered with our market research company to recruit women who met specific health conditions. 

Typically, our market research company recommends a two-week timeline when finding qualified participants for a focus group.

However, because our recruitment places an emphasis on digital outreach with our qualitative recruitment services, the short turnaround time was not much of a concern.  

This section will outline the challenges of the client, our recommended solution, and results delivered by Drive Research. 

The Challenge 🥊

A feminine hygiene product company was hosting paid focus groups in Florida.

The recruitment project targeted female participants with heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and bladder control issues. 

Upon contacting our team, the client was struggling to find qualified participants for the study.

Due to these specific participant criteria, the incidence rate to find qualified women was extremely low.

This was a tough audience to target nationally, let alone within driving distance to a specific focus group facility in the U.S.

With the focus groups scheduled in less than two weeks, the feminine hygiene product company contacted Drive Research in hopes that our team could find qualified research participants.

The Solution ✔️

There are a number of different options market researchers have to source research participants.

Most commonly, qualitative recruiting firms rely on their in-house panel or a third-party panel company. 

However, due to the low incidence rate of this project, our team knew sourcing all participants through a panel would not be possible.

For this reason, we opted to run paid social media ads on Facebook. They were targeted to women living in close proximity to the facility who had underlying health issues.

The Approach 🏃‍♂️

The renowned feminine hygiene product company had previously used a self-service vendor that was not able to fulfill the recruitment project. 

The team came to our focus group recruitment company needing more than 20 low incidence rate participants (i.e., highly targeted/difficult to reach) in less than a week.

The Drive Research qualitative recruitment process included 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Target participants via paid Facebook ads
  • Step 2: Have participants complete a short online screener
  • Step 3: Re-screen qualified participants by phone to confirm survey responses and ask additional questions
  • Step 4: Register the participant for the research
  • Step 5: Follow up through confirmation emails, reminder phone calls, and reminder texts leading up the designated date and time for the session

The Results 📈

Just how fast can Drive Research find qualified participants for qualitative research? 

Below is a timeline for the feminine hygiene product focus group recruitment project. 

Monday, December 9

Our market research recruitment company received an email from the renowned feminine hygiene product company project manager at 3 p.m. on Monday, December 9 seeking out our services. 

Within 10-minutes, Drive Research replied with more information regarding our recommendations for their specific project needs and requirements. 

From here, we had a proposal and agreement sent at 11 p.m. that day. 

Tuesday, December 10

The project was confirmed the following morning at 12:30 a.m. 

The Drive Research team had the screener programmed and tested on Tuesday morning.  

Meanwhile, other team members worked separately to create social advertisements in order to generate the interest of potential focus group participants. 

By 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the social advertisements and online recruitment screener were sent to fieldwork.

Less than 20 hours after the initial email from the sponsor of the study asking for help, our qualitative recruitment company was actively calling pre-screened participants in our system.

Friday, December 13

In total, Drive Research recruited 22 participants for the project, with a show rate of 95%. 

This was all completed in less than one week.


Project Highlights 📢

  • The qualitative recruitment project consisted of several small focus groups of 2 to 3 women lasting 90-minutes
  • Each focus group was conducted during day-time business hours
  • The reward for participating in the group discussion was $150. 
  • The $150 incentive was processed by our market research company.

Case Study #2: Social Media Recruiting Firm Recruits Power Tool Users for Ethnographic Study

The Challenge 🥊

When marketing or design businesses are tasked by their clients to include research into their projects, a qualitative recruiting market research company is often contacted. 

The outsourced team helps connect brands with the right participants for the study.

It is not uncommon for the study to be fully executed but have difficulty recruiting the targeted audience.

Once partnered with a third party, the marketing or design company leans on them to find high-quality participants to complete research tasks and attend in-person sessions, as needed. 

In doing so, the marketing or design company spends more time on the important client-facing aspects of the study.

This was certainly the case for a local product and packaging design company that partnered with our team in 2019. 


The Audience 🧰

The qualitative recruitment focused on the following criteria for the mobile ethnography and interview research project:

  • Adults aged 18+ who live in Central New York.
  • Must share some responsibility in shopping for outdoor power equipment.
  • Must have experience taking care of the lawn.
  • Must own a chainsaw and/or leaf blower.
  • Must have purchased outdoor power equipment from Lowe's or Home Depot.
  • Must have bought new outdoor power equipment within the last 5 years.
  • Must have a household income of at least $50k.

The Solution ✔️

Drive Research agreed to help the local product and packaging design company with finding target consumers in Central New York. 

A total of 12 participants were required to complete a 2-component qualitative study with missions via the mobile ethnography app, dscout, and an in-person interview at the client's local facility.

In order to participate in the study, participants were required to download the dscout app and register for an account. 

The dscout platform allows participants to record and share thoughts and behaviors via audio, video, photo, and text responses on a user-friendly app.

There is tremendous value in this approach for market researchers to obtain feedback in participants' own words and how it compares to their actions.


The Approach 🏃‍♂️

After the local product and packaging design company agreed to the proposal sent by Drive Research, our qualitative recruitment firm held a quick project kickoff meeting with the client.

After the kickoff meeting, Drive Research designed and programmed a survey screener that addressed the criteria referenced above.

The process of recruiting power tool users to participate in the qualitative study was two-fold. 

  1. Drive Research used paid randomized social media ads to those who lived in the target market and met the screening criteria. 
  2. Our qualitative recruitment firm also has built an in-house panel, which allows us to send email invites to those who matched the target criteria as well.

Both the paid social media advertisements and the email invitations sent recipients to the screener survey. 

The online survey removes any respondent who does not meet the criteria standards set by the product and packaging design company.

Those who did qualify from the pre-screen survey are screened again by phone to verify they meet the correct credentials with additional questions about the mobile ethnography study.

All qualified respondents were sent a series of communication touches from our team including:

  • Confirmation email
  • Signup email for the dscout mobile app 
  • Follow-up reminder phone calls
  • A text message the day of their in-person interview at the client's facility. 

Participants were reminded as needed to sign-up and complete their assigned missions through the dscout app before their scheduled interview.


The Results 📈

Drive Research recruited and qualified 17 participants to ensure 12 of those recruited would participate.

Our qualitative recruitment firm recommends recruiting more participants than necessary to compensate for last-minute cancellations.

Qualified participants of the mobile ethnography project received a $200 stipend upon completion of the dscout missions and in-person interviews.

The high stipend helped with earning full participation. People are more likely to participate in research if they are rewarded for their time and feedback.


Recruit Research Participants on Social Media with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team has the knowledge and tools to deliver high-quality research participants that match the toughest of criteria.

We follow a streamlined process for all qualitative recruitment projects including those that involve social media surveys.

Interested in learning more about recruiting services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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Qualitative Recruiting