Fellow researchers, how often do you think about the experience of panelists when conducting a study? If you’re like much of the research community, not very often. According to research from GRIT, trust in results and panel quality are considered vital in executing successful market research studies, yet the experience of panelists and fair compensation are almost afterthoughts in the research community. However, a quality survey-taking experience for panelists and fair compensation are key components to producing the high-quality, trusted results highly valued in the market research community.

At Branded, we set out to conduct research into the nuances of our online panelists’ experiences. We surveyed a representative sample of 1,069 U.S. Branded community members in April 2017. We wanted to know what panelists are doing when they take surveys? What do they love about taking surveys? What frustrates them about the process?

The results of our research bring panelists to life and provide actionable insights for designing more compelling and engaging research. Here are our top 10 insights for providing a high-quality experience for survey panelists:

  • Think of Panelists as People: Panelists should not be viewed simply as data points. The personal experience of the panelist as a real person with a real life must be taken into account when conducting research.
  • Respect their Voices: Panelists genuinely care about voicing their opinions through the surveys they take. Research should be designed to respect the time and effort panelists put into voicing their opinions.
  • More Rewards, Faster Rewards: Panelists are motivated to take more surveys by receiving additional rewards and faster payouts. Ensuring fair and timely compensation is key to keeping panelists excited about survey-taking.
  • Keep it Short: Long survey length is the top survey-taking frustration for panelists, with approximately 40 percent citing lengthy surveys as their primary pain point. Conducting shorter, streamlined surveys reduces survey-taking barriers for panelists.
  • Pay Attention to Time of Day: Panelists have preferences about when they take surveys throughout the day. The evening is the most popular time of day to take surveys, followed by afternoon. It is important to be conscious of time preferences when launching surveys.
  • Device Usage Matters: At Branded, we find many surveys aren’t optimized for mobile, driving survey-takers to their laptops and desktops. As a result, about 70 percent of panelists use laptops or desktop computers most often to take surveys. However, mobile represents a sizable and growing share of device usage with 1 in 5 panelists using their mobiles most often to take surveys. Among younger generations, the rate of mobile survey-taking is even higher. Almost 1 in 3 millennials use their mobiles most often to take surveys. Improving user experience on mobile is key for capturing millennial panelists.
  • Spread the Love: Three-quarters of panelists are members of multiple survey communities. Because of this, panelists are adapting to different survey-taking experiences with different providers. A simple and straightforward experience ensures panelists will be successful in taking surveys across communities.
  • Compelling Topics: Panelists are most engaged on surveys about shopping, restaurants, health, and lifestyle. On the other hand, panelists are least engaged on surveys about financial and automotive topics. While survey topics are predetermined based on the goals of the study, being aware of the survey topics that are most interesting to panelists helps with successful design.
  • More Capacity: The vast majority of panelists have the capacity to take more surveys. Only 2 percent of panelists indicate they don’t have enough time to take more surveys. And most panelists take surveys for at least 15 minutes at any one time, indicating they are likely taking multiple surveys when they dedicate time.
  • Capitalize on High Panelist Engagement Levels: The majority of panelists take surveys on a daily basis. This consistent interaction and engagement make our community members better survey-takers who provide meaningful insights and opinions.