Online Consumer Research Panels Summary
Paid online market research panels or online consumer research panels involve pre-screened respondents who decided on cooperating in different research studies. If you have signed up to a company that hires people to take part in these consumer research panels, completing online surveys could only be one of the various projects they will invite you to join.
Aside from completing online surveys, panel members may also engage in online focus groups, interviews and in-home usage testing. Panel members perform what researchers ask them to do and in return, they will receive rewards such as cash, coupons and gift cards.
Researchers also refer to the panels as the audience. This audience partakes in different activities to test products/services/advertisements, provide product feedback, and improve business ideas and more. The selected panel members are representatives of the target group or general population.
Thus, a panel may have hundreds or thousands of members whose demographic or personal details match the research project requirements.
Goal of Online Consumer Research Panels
If companies pay for online surveys so they can collect information from participants that will help improve their products/services, they also allot budget for other activities involved in consumer research panels.
Businesses and companies each want to provide consumer satisfaction. Therefore, they need to understand the consumers and know their needs. Through consumer research panels, companies may gain first-hand knowledge about what these consumers’ representatives think or feel about the companies’ products and services. Through these collected details, companies could alter or improve their products and services to better serve the general consumers.
Companies may prefer online research panels than traditional survey methods for many reasons, such as time saving. Traditional surveys take time to complete, while online research panels allow researchers to collect information in real-time. The earlier a company gets hold of crucial information for its products/services development, the better.
If you get to take part in these panels, you could expect to provide your opinion to various types of companies. Individuals may use free market research tools, such as what the host of this video below talks about. However, bigger organizations that aim to improve their products and services invest a lot of money on online consumer research endeavors.
Other online jobs like virtual assistants or online bookkeepers have an age requirement of at least 18 years old (legal working age). Online consumer research companies may have a lower age requirement, depending on projects and studies. Thus, it is important to provide honest information when you create and update your profile so that the company will match you to suitable panelist opportunities. Look at Figure 1.
This is from FocusGroup. It is a list of studies that members may opt to engage in. A webcam interview about media and technology is open to panelists aged 22 to 54 years old. An online survey on Health and Wellness accepts 18 years old panelists.
Skills and Attributes
Other online jobs like tutoring or telemarketing require special skills and technical qualifications. Working as an online market research panelist is much easier. All you need is to provide accurate details about yourself in your up-to-date profile and you could qualify for research projects.
You need to practice honesty in providing answers to all questions they might ask you. You need to pay attention to every detail that the researchers might ask you to do. Remember that there is no correct or incorrect answer to inquiries because the purpose of research panels is to gather your honest opinions and insights about certain products and services.
There are certain research projects that have specific requirements, such as the health and wellness online survey from Figure 1. Aside from the age requirement, it also includes a specific health condition that the panelist should have (respiratory syncytial virus).
When you sign up to companies offering paid panelist opportunities, you will not worry that your educational attainment is not sufficient for your acceptance. You can sign up and join to any company that conducts these online market research panels or focus groups.
Each research project will have its specific set of requirements. The personal and demographic details you provide in your profile will help researchers determine your eligibility for the research.
This is an online career, so your basic tools are computer and internet. Some research companies allow panelists to use a mobile device. Others will require panelists to download a particular software or app.
How To Join
This online career calls for some web research skills. You can type the key phrase “online market research panels for money” on Google or other search engines, and you will have a list of companies to explore. However, you need to practice more of your research skills to filter which companies suit your expected payment or which companies accept potential panelists from your country of residence. You need to research which focus group companies are legitimate.
When signing up to any company, expect to undergo a screening process before you can take part in any study. It is possible that you will not qualify in all screenings since there are specific profiles and interests that companies look for in people that they will accept as panelists. You can join as many companies as you can to maximize your chances to qualify.
However, make sure you research well about a particular company before spending time and energy on it. This will help you avoid scam websites. Read every fine print and check out social media pages (if there is any), reviews and more.
Each company may have its specific sign up instructions, but expect to answer several questions like your demographics, household, employment and more. Companies will pick panelists based on the details you and other applicants provided during sign up and in the profile page.
Respondent.io is one of the consumer research companies you can join online. Like any other companies, you will register using a working email address and a phone number. The questions are easy to answer, but you need to first set up a PayPal account to finish your registration, as shown in Figure 2.
You can read reviews about Respondent
Only after creating an account can you see all available studies. You can apply to any study that you think is appropriate for you. Then, the researcher or study sponsor will review the responses and will send invitations to suitable respondents. The invitation will contain the time schedules for completing the study so choose one that suits you. You will get your payment through PayPal.
Meanwhile, other companies or websites will require applicants to take screeners tests, as shown in Figure 3.
The eligibility helps determine if an applicant’s experiences with particular products/services match the research that the company (FocusGroup.com in this example) is conducting.
Every study is different, so the payment is also different for each study. Some could pay on the lower range of about $30 while others offer higher payments of $150. There are also specific focus groups and research panels that can pay up to $400.
The amount of payment you will get depends on the time you spend on a study, which is 1-2 hours. Payments are in cash and often sent via PayPal or check. Others also offer gift cards and coupons. There are also some companies that pay with points, which you can redeem with a credit card. Before signing up or taking part in research panels, be sure to read well about what you will get for the time you spend.
Looking back to Figure 1, this list of available studies shows that a webcam interview on media and technology can pay $350. An online in-home video on food products offers $100. A product test and webcam interview can pay $250. You could get $100 for a telephone interview on pet ownership. A telephone interview for business professionals will let you get $250. An online survey on health and wellness for a specific group of people with respiratory syncytial virus can give $100.
From Figure 4, you could read that American Consumer Opinion lets its panelists earn points. One point is equivalent to one penny. You need to collect at least 1,000 points if you want to cash out via PayPal. There are 100 pennies in a dollar. Therefore, if you redeem a minimum of 1,000 points here at ACOP, this is only equivalent to $10.
You can work on your own schedule with these online gigs. It means you may take part or not in a focus group or panel when you get an invitation to join. However, keep in mind that research panels will probably have a time limit. There is a certain set date until when the study is available. Researchers may also set a certain quota on the number of respondents for a study so act fast when you receive an invitation.
Benefits / Bonus/ Increase/ Training Provided
Participation in online market research panels or research groups mainly gathers consumers’ insights and opinions about certain products and services. Unless a study is very technical, there is likely any training you need to do. You just have to answer questions honestly and engage in each activity earnestly. For studies that are too technical or specialized, the researcher or sponsor might provide the training.
These online consumer research panels are great online freelance or part time opportunities. You share your opinion and experiences about certain products and services then receive cash or other incentives. You do not need any special training or meet strict requirements to sign up. You could even increase your earning potentials by joining or signing up to more research companies. While you might think this is not a job that will give you full-time earnings, you could pursue other online jobs when there are no studies or panels that suit you.