Ensuring Quality in the Recruitment Process

By Lisa Wilding-Brown

One of the most significant challenges in market research is ensuring that both quality and uniqueness in sample matches the specific needs of any given study. These challenges are only compounded due to the overlap of participants across multiple panels, and a lack of uniqueness for certain demographics.

Sourcing a difficult to reach audience starts at the very beginning — with recruitment. Most people recruit from the same online publishers, including loyalty sites with large populations of people that fit target demographics.panelsourcingdifficultaudiences.png

Diversification of the Sourcing Process

Innovate uses these same tools to some degree as they help to form a solid foundation for a given panel. At the same time, however, it’s important to diversify the sourcing process. This is done through exclusive relationships with specialty websites that don’t directly focus on delivering traffic. By shifting the focus from pure traffic generation to the quality of the people entering the recruitment process, the risk of frequently overactive respondents in multiple panels making up the bulk of any sample is reduced significantly.

At the same time, the medium matters just as much.

The internet simplified the sampling process so much that quality took a hit early and has been a concern in the industry for the better part of 20 years.

Large brands have implemented consistent best practices to avoid over-sampling from the same pools, but it can still be a challenge policing digital recruiting processes (whether to avoid fraud or other risks). It’s one of the reasons Innovate has such a robust quality assurance process — going out of our way to ensure every possible step is taken to protect the integrity of our panel.

Television Recruitment Widens the Potential Pool of Respondents

To address this uniqueness challenge, diverse recruiting is a must. Online recruitment sources tend to be over-saturated with thirty-something mothers and are underrepresented in key groups including young males, African Americans and Hispanics. Offline recruitment via television helps provide an access channel to these high demand, low supply segments.

By combining a mix of old and new media during the recruitment process, it’s possible to tap into demographics that are not as well represented online, while building a stronger pool of people who aren’t as likely to be active in other panels.

That’s not to say it’s easy to do this. This type of sourcing strategy is expensive. The cost of producing a high-quality TV commercial, then buying media on cable networks that target key demographics, requires significant investment. And with so many different difficult-to-reach audiences being targeted, a range of different networks may be necessary.

But the result is important.

While the average respondent in an online recruited panel belongs to multiple panels, TV recruits are far less likely to belong to other panels. This helps offset underrepresentation and diversify.

The quality issue is hugely important, but so too is the feasibility of the panel. Online-only panels frequently have difficulty meeting specific demands for hard to reach audiences. With less overlap and a greater pool of people to draw from, it’s easier to ensure feasibility for any given market research project.

Learn more about the processes we follow to recruit from difficult to reach audiences in our newest eBook, Panel Sourcing with Difficult Audiences:

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