The Importance of First Impressions in Panel Registration


Panel registration requires careful consideration of not only the people you want on the panel, with a keen eye for quality checks and fraud detection from the first interaction, but a strong emphasis on user experience. While it’s more important than ever before to screen and manage the recruitment process, building a strong relationship with panel members is equally important at several steps.

That’s why ensuring strong first impressions that will entice registrants to engage immediately, follow best practices, and become an active part of the panel are so important.

Drawing from a Strong Pool of Participants

Online recruitment has made it easier than ever to identify and pull together a large pool of panel participants, but there are side effects of having such a large and captive audience online. Panels built strictly through online recruitment methods tend to be over saturated with a set of demographics, and there ends up being ample overlap between panels as the same people signup for multiple websites.

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 Hispanic respondents. Through offline recruiting via television it’s possible to build a new 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.

Building an Ongoing Relationship

The strength of a panel lies in the ability of any given survey to activate people to act. Low response rates to survey invites, low completion rates in surveys, or lack of interest in incentives can create issues immediately. That’s why it’s so important to build a strong relationship with panel participants through:

  • Regular communication – sending new survey opportunities 1-2 times per week.
  • Ensuring quality checks and verification methods aren’t too burdensome, protecting data quality without inconveniencing users.
  • Working with survey programmers to build mobile and desktop optimized surveys that are easy to use.
  • Providing a clear, enticing incentive program that rewards participants for their time.
  • Following up and providing immediate response if there is a question or problem to keep panel members engaged.

Respect and appreciation for panel participants is just as important as the data they provide. By treating them well and ensuring they are well rewarded within industry expectations, they will reward us in turn with timely feedback on future surveys.

Issues You Can Avoid

There are several issues that can pop up when the effort isn’t taken to engage with and build a strong relationship with panel participants. Quality can drop sharply, with respondents getting impatient or bored – resulting in straight lining, dropping out of a survey completely, or not following up with future invites.

Survey participants who don’t feel rewarded for their time may not return for future surveys, or worse, may voice their displeasure on public forums like Facebook or Twitter that can depress future recruitment. These issues are avoidable, but often steps aren’t taken that could protect against negative feedback.

Getting the Most from Your Recruitment Methods

The right combination of good recruitment methods, careful attention to quality checks, and a good follow-up and incentive process for your panel members is so important to keeping a strong pool of people in place that you can rely on.

To learn more about some of the factors involved in maintaining quality, and how these can be addressed with pushing away or alienating users, download our eBook on Defining Quality in Sample: