Research panel providers: A quick overview

4 min read

Research panel providers: A quick overview

An analysis of market research involves collecting information on people or businesses — a certain market or niche — and then analyzing it to determine what needs to be done to scale up.

Further, reports summarized from these market research projects help businesses make better decisions about the company’s strategy, operations, and potential clientele. In addition to understanding industry shifts, changing consumer needs, and legislation trends, businesses can strategically allocate their resources and efforts to reach their KPIs.

Market research is valuable in this regard. And one of the major reasons behind its success is the kind of research panels that are involved in.

While some businesses/ individuals prefer creating their own research panel, most of the ventures look toward research panel providers to gain access to customized insights and information.

So what are research panel providers?

The research panel providers basically collect and manage groups of people who might be interested in taking surveys and participating in studies or being involved in any kind of research. Most of the time, the collaboration is incentive-driven, where the companies maintain databases of participants signing up for different surveys. This is based on their demographic profile, interests, and other information.

How do they work?

Research panel providers are basically the medium between the businesses (researchers) who are seeking valuable insights into their target market and people (respondents) who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise to gain some benefits.

So every time a business/ client comes up with some market research solutions, these agencies help them with their ‘already existing’ database of participants.

Now depending on the industry — food, pharmaceutical, marketing, etc., location, age, preferences, etc., these panel providers maintain databases. Well, this is a huge yes!

It works wonders for businesses as they get quick access to a pool of individuals who are possibly ready to answer all of their questions. The answers they get from these people are highly informative and insightful.

Should you be considering their services?

As already mentioned above, research panel providers have access to a large number of audiences — possibly in hundreds of thousands. So, undoubtedly, they would offer you a much better segment of participants than the one you could already have.

But that is not it. Here are some other advantages that they could offer you.

Access to a large targeted audience

Well, this is important (and must be said again). So yes!

Panel providers maintain a database of thoroughly screened and profiled people, ensuring that they at least meet their client’s basic criteria.

Get faster results 

Research panel providers can help you get quicker survey results, especially if you are conducting them online. Depending on survey length and screening, you get these results quickly and in real-time, which is great when you need to make decisions in a fast-moving environment.

Allows research to be conducted on sensitive issues 

While working with panel providers, the possibility of reaching people who otherwise might not have been within your perimeter becomes easier. It becomes easy to interview/ survey those individuals who hold opinions on controversial or sensitive topics. A pre-warning screen could be added to obtain permission from individuals that would be interested in answering a survey that could be relevant to the mentioned subject or would be of sensitive nature.


If you are planning to conduct research for the short term, buying a sample panel would be highly recommended to you. Since there would be no maintenance or screening or other kinds of charges, you can pay a fixed amount of money to agencies to get your desired panel.

Get answers from experts

Most of the time, these respondents are the ones who have been answering surveys or being a part of research multiple times. Thus, this is not new to them, and they know what kind of information or answers researchers would be looking for.

This makes the overall work easier for businesses as this saves time, knowledge sharing, and too much back and forth.

Careful respondent curation

In addition to having a large selection of panelists available, panel providers enable you to curate a research panel that perfectly matches your research requirements. The random sampling method can provide you with access to a large pool of diverse respondents.

Limitations/ challenges of survey panels

Although working with panel providers would be one of the most preferred choices — let’s not forget that every coin has two faces, and we need to focus on both the pros and cons.

Here are some of the limitations you might face while buying a survey panel.

Dynamic cost

While the sample buying could be highly cost-effective for some, it could get a bit higher for some others.

Reason? Certain research projects demand customized and creamy curated panel segments, which involve more efforts, multiple screenings, and long survey duration and thus may demand more monetary compensation.

Data collection period

Since some of the research projects may demand very specific information — it may take some time to obtain the same. So if you are coming up with something that requires specific or niche information, you might have to keep some patience.

Hasty responses

It’s great to have an experienced panel for your research survey, but since some of them may have been doing it for a long time, you might come across responses that would seem like they were given in a hurry. Since it’s more like a profession for some individuals, they might not care to look into the core of your research purpose.

Fraud response rates

We have previously discussed how fraud responses can impact your research data and discussed some actions you can take to find and eliminate them.

But one of the major reasons behind getting these bogus responses is the kind of research panel that you have been working with. If the sample you are buying is large in number and not recently updated and screened, there is a high chance of getting irrelevant information.

So, are these panel providers trustworthy?

Looking at the above pros and cons, one may feel opinionated toward research panel providers. But be assured that conducting your research via them would be much more easier than carrying the entire weight on your own.

No doubt, you would have to take some precautions and do some research and screening before finalizing a panel provider. And this may take some time and sound daunting too. But the end results will definitely bring real worth.

Read our latest guide to unlock some real-life tips to improve your survey with research panel providers.

Quick summary

Collaborating with research panel providers is great as they have far many options for diverse research panels. But to avoid any breach or scam in data, it is recommended to do your background research before approaching one.

Doing your own research before investing or executing anything monetarily is essential.

To ensure authenticity, we screen our experts thoroughly and help ventures curate their own desired panel with leading industry professionals. Check us out to know more about how we are bringing innovation!

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