Panel Research: How an Online Panel Can Boost Your Market Research


Panel-based research is a fantastic way to gather data across various areas. Think of it as your reliable GPS in the ever-changing world of market research. Panel surveys are a goldmine for smart decision-makers, providing deep insights into a market landscape that’s constantly and rapidly evolving. With online panels, you can keep your finger on the pulse, analyze trends, and understand consumer behavior in a way that’s both efficient and insightful.

What is an Online Panel?

An online panel is a group of people who regularly participate in surveys and are usually incentivized to do so. These panelists are typically categorized based on demographic factors like age, gender, location, occupation, and personal interests to ensure the panel forms a representative sample for a specific subject. Repeatedly surveying the same group is especially valuable in market research, as it allows for efficient data collection and the ability to track trends over time.

What Types of Panels Are There?

Imagine walking into a room full of bright, motivated individuals. Each one has a story that could reveal the next big trend in your industry – you just need to choose the right person. It’s the same with selecting the right panel.

1. Online Access Panel: Quick Access to a Diverse Group

Online access panels are databases of pre-registered participants you can recruit for surveys as needed. They provide quick access to a broad and diverse group of respondents, allowing you to draw samples based on specific variables and tailor your survey to a particular group. The big advantage? They’re perfect for short-term studies and surveys where fast, flexible participant recruitment is essential.

2. Customer Panel: The Inner Circle of Your Brand

Ever wished you could read your customers’ minds? Customer panels make this possible – at least in part. These panels consist of existing customers who regularly provide feedback on products and services, giving you an open ear to your loyal followers. They’re ideal for companies seeking continuous feedback to improve products and services and boost customer satisfaction. Customer panels also play a crucial role in campaigns, from advertising studies to product reviews, offering an unfiltered view of what works, what doesn’t, and how your brand resonates with those who matter most.

3. Health Panel: The Pulse of the Healthcare System

In the complex world of healthcare, understanding the nuances can make all the difference. Healthcare panels connect you with healthcare professionals and patients, whose insights are crucial for evaluating groundbreaking medical devices or assessing treatment outcomes. This feedback provides a clear picture of the healthcare landscape from both provider and patient perspectives.

4. Academic Panel: The GPS for Your Research Questions

Academic panels, or research panels, are essential for academic research, allowing for quick, specific, and cost-effective data collection. These panels save time and money while increasing the quality of results, making them invaluable for investigations, experiments, and longitudinal studies.

When Does a Panel Survey Make Sense?

Think of the market as a complex labyrinth, with new challenges and opportunities around every corner. Panel surveys are your reliable guide, helping you explore various scenarios without having to navigate them blindly. They’re not just tools but strategic partners on your journey.

For an Insight into Long-Term Market Trends

Online panel surveys act like time-lapse recordings of market trends. Unlike individual surveys, they provide an overview of changing attitudes and experiences over time, offering benefits like cost efficiency, quick feedback, and diverse opinions. They help you see the big picture and capture the evolution of attitudes and preferences.

For Product Development

Imagine you’re developing the next big product. Before setting sail, you need a map of consumer mentality. Consumer panels provide this map, giving you feedback from potential users to design your product in line with market demands.

For Monitoring the Brand Status

Your brand is a living entity in the market ecosystem. Customer research panels act as a stethoscope, measuring the heartbeat of your brand based on customer perception and loyalty, ensuring it stays healthy and vibrant.

For B2B Market Insights

B2B panels streamline market research by enabling faster data collection and analysis. This approach is cost and time-efficient, providing insights into industry trends, decision-maker behavior, and the competitive landscape.

For Innovation in the Healthcare Sector

To stay ahead in healthcare, understanding both prescribers and patients is crucial. Medical market research panels offer this dual perspective, essential for evaluating new treatments or solutions in the healthcare sector.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Panel Surveys

Using panel surveys in market research brings both advantages and challenges.

Advantages of Panel Surveys

  1. Consistent Data Over Time: Panel surveys offer reliable tools for measuring market sentiment. They provide continuous data from the same participants, which helps in recognizing trends and retrieving historical data.
  2. In-Depth Insights: Online panel surveys delve into consumer opinions and behavior, offering deeper insights.
  3. Highly Targeted Feedback: Panel surveys enable targeted feedback from specific demographic groups or industries, ensuring relevant information. They also allow for forming subgroups for focused surveys.
  4. Higher Participation Rates: Panelists who actively choose to be part of a panel are generally more motivated, leading to higher participation rates.
  5. Cost-Efficient: Market research with an existing panel is usually more cost-effective than without one, as compiling a representative sample independently takes time and incurs costs.


Possible Disadvantages and Challenges

Panel Conditioning

Over time, participants may become too familiar with the survey process, potentially biasing their responses. Like actors predicting the script, this conditioning can affect the authenticity of their performance. To avoid this, vary the questions and design engaging questionnaires. Interactive, playful elements and avoiding frequent survey invitations can help.

Panel Mortality

Panel mortality refers to the loss of participants over time, which can distort the panel if the remaining members no longer reflect the original group’s diversity. Combat this by regularly motivating participants with incentives like vouchers or bonuses and recruiting new panellists to maintain the panel’s size and structure.

Limited Generalizability

Sometimes, what works for your panel may not reflect the entire market. Even a well-managed panel is still a sample, not the whole market opinion. A panel’s representativeness depends on recruitment methods and incentives. Systematic selection and composition of panelists are crucial for generalizing findings.

Conducting a Panel Survey

Conducting a panel survey requires careful preparation, clear goals, and flexibility. Generally, it involves five steps:

1. Panel Selection

First, put together your panel by selecting the right members. This involves identifying and recruiting individuals who represent your target audience. Think of it like casting the perfect actors for a film. You have two options:

1. Set Up Your Own Panel

With your own panel, you can tap into specific target groups and tailor the panel to your needs. However, it is time-consuming and cost-intensive.

2. Use Existing Panel

Using an external panel means less work for you. You can quickly collect feedback and customize your target group as needed. While there is a cost for using an external panel, it varies depending on the provider.

2. Draft Survey

Next, create the survey by formulating clear, unbiased questions that align with your research objectives. This is essentially your script for the story you want to tell.

3. Data Collection and Analysis

Collect your data, ensuring that responses are systematically recorded and analyzed. This phase is the heart of your journey, gathering insights and knowledge.

4. Maintaining the Commitment

Keep your panel engaged over time. Regular communication, respect for their time, and incentives can help maintain their motivation.

5. Dealing with Panel Mortality

Recruit new panel members as needed to counteract attrition, ensuring your panel remains representative and robust.

Special Features of a Panel Survey: Things to Consider

  1. Panel Effects: Monitor how repeated participation affects responses. Watch for biases and patterns over time.
  2. Panel Mortality: Regularly refresh your panel to maintain representativeness.
  3. Panel Development: Continuously evaluate and adjust your panel to meet your research objectives.


Use Panel Surveys for Your Success

Panel surveys offer deep insights into consumer behavior and market trends, providing the consistent, targeted feedback your organization needs. To stay ahead, delve into advanced panel management and survey design techniques. Keeping up with market changes ensures you remain competitive.

Tivian Can Help You

Our market research software offers a complete solution for recruiting, managing, integrating, and surveying your panelists. Ensure high data quality with our tools, which allow you to monitor response behavior and use the feedback for impactful measures.

Read also 6 key panel management challenges and how to overcome them.

Get to know our software or make an appointment with our panel experts to elevate your panel research. Contact us today!