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Panel Quality

Introduction

Our main principle is that the quality of online panels should meet the highest industry standards to ensure the credibility of the data that we collect. Panel quality and panelists' engagement are two key drivers of our success. Using the expertise of world's leading companies, we have developed our own quality standards for recruiting panelists, verifying their personal data, checking data consistency, stimulating respondents and maintaining the panels in perfect shape.

quality online panels in Russial

Recruiting Panel Members

OMI recruits panelists from more than 100 sources. We recruit from a wide variety of local web portals with general targeting: e-mail providers, search engines, weather, dating, and customer loyalty projects. OMI also recruits some groups of panelists offline. Doing this, we try to give every Internet user an equal opportunity to join the panel.

All OMI panelists undergo a double opt-in process. Panelists fill out an online registration form: name, email, postal address and profile registration survey. Immediately after filling out a registration form the panelists get confirmation e-mail with the link to activate their account.

OMI panel is used solely for online market research like quantitative and qualitative surveys and product tests. It is important that all panelists have agreed to participate in market research studies. Panelists are driven to take part in the surveys and express their opinion by curiosity and opportunity to influence business decisions and set the trends.

Personal Data Verification

There is a belief that, when registering, applicants tend to submit untrue information on their social and demographic status. We use the specific way to pay the incentives that allows verifying basic profiling information. If you pay to members’ cell-phone accounts or offer e-stores bonus certificates, multiple registrations are unavoidable. A good alternative is to pay by a mail money order. In this case a panelist gets incentives at the nearest post office only after showing his/her passport. This helps to guarantee one registration per person as well as accurate information about each member’s postal address and zip code (which will later be used for accurate geographical targeting).

In addition to the methods mentioned above, we perform selective verification of members’ information by phone. We also check for multiple memberships inside all our panels.

Validity Checks

OMI always validates the data provided by the panelists. Here are the basic procedures we use to ensure high data quality:

  • Automatic check of duplicate members who are automatically deleted from our panel
  • Unique links to the questionnaire or IP address control
  • Dynamic comparison of survey answers with panelists’ profiles
  • Evaluating panelists’ responses for data consistency, time it took to complete the survey compared to the average for the study, answers to open-ended questions, etc
  • System that allows catching and eliminating speedsters, "straight-liners", "zig-zaggers" and other types of fraudulent panelists
  • Special attention to the completes with too many ‘Don’t know’ answers or stereotypical/’flat’ responses
  • Techniques for checking completes for logical consistency and panelist’s attention/concentration on the different parts of questionnaire
  • Blacklisting and dynamic erasure of questionnaires with dubious validity

Engaging Respondents

Various ways of motivating people to participate in surveys are used in the world practice: from direct cash payments to prize lotteries or offering interesting content. Usually companies use mixed techniques. For our online consumer panels we use a system of points (a network currency redeemable into cash). Panel participants can control the points at their account on the personal web page accessible using unique login and password. Money earned by respondents can be channeled to charity by selecting one of the charities working with us. For B2B panels we also use a point system, but points can be redeemed for training, subscription to the professional journals, and conference participation. Prize lotteries are also conducted among panelists and additional points are given for filling in extra profile questionnaires.

As we learn from regularly held panelist satisfaction surveys, people are motivated mainly by moral stimuli – personal interest, desire to help the producers, and access to selected research results.

We also employ some techniques to foster a sense of community among our panelists such as:

  • Improving the appearance and design of the website, invitations and survey formats
  • Providing 24/7 panelist support
  • Regular newsletters
  • Conduct quarterly panelist satisfaction surveys

We believe that respondents are also motivated by interesting interactive questionnaires. We are using the latest Flash technologies in working out the tools that allow visual stimuli or, elements of games (like drag-and-drop or puzzle), click-tests and so on.

All these means help to guarantee that OMI panelists are very engaged and provide high quality responses. The likely response rate is usually above 50% and can run up to 75% depending on geography (Response Rate means number of invitations divided by number of complete, incomplete and screened out interviews).

Panel Management and Maintenance

As the past experience of many companies shows, it is much more difficult to maintain a panel than to create it. There are cases when a successful recruiting ended up in a complete failure of a panel because the owner company did not ensure the sufficient level of survey activity or was not able to organize a system of motivation for respondents.

To assess panel health a number of indicators is used, like the panel load (the volume of surveys per person per month), Response Rate, Completion Rate, Retention Rate and others.

Besides keeping statistical records, we continuously monitor the changes in e-mail addresses and profiles of our respondents. Every panelist has access to his/her profile questionnaire on his/her personal website page; in addition we request our panelists to update their profiles every 6 months. We also regularly clean the panel, removing inactive members and recruiting fresh ones.

Safety of Personal Information

OMI takes strict measures to ensure every aspect of panelists' information is kept secure. Member profile information is highly confidential and is used only by OMI key personnel.

Our panel website focuses on the privacy policy we are committed to. Personal data given by our members is used solely for the purposes of market research. We do not pass, rent or sell personal data to a third party. All surveys are evaluated anonymously. All of the data that we collect in our surveys report as aggregate information (not individual). Individual information is never published. All individual information provided is held strictly confidential.

OMI panelists do not receive any commercial emails or other spam. If a panelist no longer wishes to be a member of the project all his/her personal information is permanently removed from our database.

OMI complies with ESOMAR and CASRO standards for market research. As an independent Russian company, we comply with the rules and regulations set out by the Russian Data Protection Act "About personal data" as well as national laws of countries where we operate.

Summary

We believe that buyers of online data collection should ask panel providers only three basic questions:

  1. Could you show your panel portal? By seeing the portal one can know how respondents are recruited and motivated as well as how their personal data is protected.
  2. What is the Response Rate in your panel? This key indicator is influenced by many factors. First, high Response Rate is the evidence that panel is active and healthy; it shows that the panel is regularly cleaned and managed well. It also signifies that panelists are waiting for questionnaires and honestly fill them in.
  3. What is the Completion Rate of your panel? This indicator primarily shows whether the system of motivation for panelists is sound. If anyone knows that he/she will get money or some bonus for filling in questionnaires, he/she will continue the process to the end regardless of the fact that some questionnaires are quite long and elaborate. Given the lack of motivation, a respondent is likely to drop out. The indicator is crucial for the quality of data that is collected. If the Completion Rate is below 50%, the questions of representation and data validity are raised. The Completion Rate in our panels is seldom below 90%.

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