How Do Online Survey Panels Work?
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How Do Online Survey Panels Work?

How Do Online Survey Panels Work?

Companies want to get an insight into their customers to improve their products and services and make better decisions. For this they turn to online market research companies for online surveys. Big companies have their own market research departments that conduct surveys but not all companies have this luxury so they go with market research companies that have their online survey panels. Let us find out what online survey panels are and how they work.

First of all, we should understand the entities involved in online surveys:

Panelists or respondents: They are the people who sign up on a survey website and take online surveys.

Online survey panel: As the name suggests, this panel consists of a large number of online survey takers. If you are a member of a community of survey takers, you are part of that online survey panel.

Market research company: an online survey panel is administered and supervised by a company, which is called the market research company. The survey panel itself could be a company or the panel may be working under a company.


Types of online survey panels

Typically, there are two types of online survey panels: custom survey panels and regular online survey panels.

Custom survey panels: they comprise a group of people with a certain interest, gender, or occupation for instance. These panels are branded to focus on a certain company or brand, or these panels can be more general and revolve around a certain group of people or topic.
Regular survey panels: these panels are usually large and may consist of millions of members belonging to different corners of the world.

How Do Online Survey Panels Work

Typically, an online survey panel represents the general population. In other words, if a panel, for instance, is available to the US residents only, it will represent the population of various cities and its demographic data projecting it on a macro scale.
On the other hand, if an online market research company employs its online survey panels to study a certain city or region, it will invite residents of that city to sign up on the survey site and take surveys.

Cashout Minimums
The survey takers or panelists get compensated for taking surveys. It’s not affordable for a market research company or a panel to pay small rewards to each panelist. Therefore, usually, they set a minimum account balance for making a withdrawal, which is $10 in most cases. The payments are made through PayPal or checks.

Sweepstakes and online surveys
Sweepstakes are a type of contest where prizes are awarded to the winners of the contest. This is a popular option for the participants of surveys, and the real cost of such prizes is usually the same or higher than the amount paid to each panelist for filling out a survey. Since this method of rewarding survey takers is simple, market research companies often prefer it.
Let us explain this method with an example. For a market research company, it is simpler to give away one prize of $2,000, two prizes of $1000 and 20 prizes of $100 for the winners of the contest. On the other hand, it may be a complicated and costly process to pay $1 to 3000 survey takers. That is the reason many companies prefer sweepstakes to other forms of rewards.

The takeaway

In short, online survey panels are all the rage these days and are a popular, method for businesses to find out what their clients and customers need and want. This way companies and businesses can make the right business decisions. You, the survey taker, can shape a product or service by taking surveys from the comfort of your home.