What is a Market Research Panel?

March 22, 2018

Wondering what market research panels are? Who uses market research panels? How much market research panels cost?


We've got you covered!


With the rise of digital research like online surveys, online in-depth interviews (IDIs), online focus groups, and more, research panels have been growing in popularity. Research panels offer the ability to reach specific populations easier and faster. It answers one of the most unknown factors in market research, "How do we reach this specific audience?" In many cases, how do we talk to non-customers?


Learn all about research panels below!



Here's everything you need to know about market research panels.



What is a market research panel?

A market research panel is a group of individuals who have previously committed to answering surveys and participating in market research. A market research company can reach out to the panel to obtain quick and quality feedback rather than trying to continually find a new audience. The general population produces a relatively low participation rate. Using a panel increases the speed and efficiency of obtaining feedback in market research.



Who uses market research panels?

Market research panels are used by market research companies and other organizations to reach individuals who are interested in participating in research. Typically, there is some set up involved to work with an online research panel vendor so those without a research background are not likely to seek out these market research panel vendors themselves.


Market research companies and professionals can also create custom research panels for clients. These panels can be made up of customers, non-customers, and various other types of stakeholders. In this instance, the market research company or professionals set up the panel, work to grow the panel, house the panel database, and pull sample for clients when needed.


Check out this recent project we used a market research panel for.



How are market research panels used?

The best time to use market research panels is when market research needs to be conducted very quickly (for example under 48 hours) or when it would be too expensive to seek research participants through other means. Again, the general population participation rate is low.


If fieldwork needs to be conducted quickly there are options other than using a market research panel, but using a market research panel nearly guarantees fieldwork will be conducted quickly and on-budget. 


Additionally, market research panels often have the ability to reach very specific audiences. For example, dentists living within a specific region between the ages of 35 and 55. Trying to find ways to reach a specific audience on your own like this can be more expensive than using a market research panel.



How much does using a market research panel cost?

The cost of using a market research panel all depends on the type of people you want to reach and the type of research. Typically, for a short 3 to 5 minute survey, a research panel can reach general consumers across the United States for roughly $2 to $8 per complete.


However, if you're trying to reach dentists living within a specific region between the ages of 35 to 55 and are conducting a 10 minute survey a research panel may charge upwards of $35 dollars (or more) per complete.


Since many market research panels use a point system to reward participants, they give more points or higher payouts for research that takes longer to complete. This is why keeping online surveys and other types of market research clear and concise is important not only for the participants but for clients as well. 



Who can join a market research panel?

Anyone can join a general market research panel, but there are some market research panels that are specific in who they invite. For example, there are B2B only market research panels and healthcare market research panels. Others are invite-only to ensure the randomness and quality of participants.



Are there drawbacks to using a market research panel?

As a market research analyst who has used a variety of sources to conduct fieldwork, I will say there are a few draw backs to using a market research panel. Mainly, there is always a sense of unknown about who the respondents actually are. Panels keep this hidden purposely so the firm using the sample cannot claim the respondents for their own market research projects. It's a rental.


Also, there tends to be higher rates of speeders, straight liners, and people who fail quality checks when using a market research panel. But, market research panel vendors are typically helpful when it comes to replacing cases where respondents fail quality checks.


Learn all about market research quality checks



How do you sign up for a market research panel?

Market research panel vendors use a variety of methods to recruit research participants. At Drive Research, we made signing up for our research panel quick and easy (and fun)! 


Sign up for the Drive Research panel in less than 2 minutes.


By signing up you will be invited to participate in future research opportunities. As a thank you for sharing your thoughts with us in many of these surveys, you will be given a chance to enter yourself into raffled off rewards, gift cards, and other types of prizes.


Interested in learning more? Learn more about the Drive Research panel.


Learn more from Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company serving Rochester, NY. Our team is located in Upstate New York but we also serve organizations across the United States. Do you have questions about market research?  Or, do you need a quote or proposal?


Contact us at info@driveresearch.comcall us at 315-303-2040, or message us through our website.