Survey Routing: is it a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing?

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Survey Routing: is it a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing?

In the lexicon of market researchers, there are words that come in and out of favor for various reasons. A survey router is one of those terms that has enjoyed both sunshine and rain. A router at its basic level is technology that acts as a hub that respondents pass through to be directed to a survey they have a higher likelihood for which to qualify.

The top 2 benefits of routing are:

  • Respondent Experience and Satisfaction: Routing came about in an effort to help make the respondent experience By avoiding having a respondent screen out repeatedly, routing can make the transition to other likely options seamless. This can be a good thing for respondents who are fed up with taking surveys only to be screened out over and over again. Statistics claim routing respondents to surveys can increase their likelihood of completing a survey by 100-200%. That’s significant. Happy panelists make for happy panel owners who see higher response rates and spend less on replenishing their asset due to attrition.
  • Saving Money: Routing saves sample cost by avoiding sending unqualified respondents to your survey. Your project may be filled more quickly and your screen outs reduced which can reduce hosting charges

Keep in mind with great power comes great responsibility. Consider these key points when determining both when and how to use routing technology:

  • Incidence: In many ways, the net result of routed sample is like prescreening, so it becomes more difficult to gauge true incidence if sample is routed. You need to know what qualifiers are predetermined. If getting a true market read on overall incidence isn’t important, then routed sample becomes more acceptable.
  • Supply and Demand: the more attractive your survey is to suppliers, the better feasibility you will realize in field. Suppliers, both manual and API powered, want to monetize their sample as effectively as possible. So a survey with a higher conversion rate (very few respondents getting screened out after passing to the client survey), lower dropout rate, or higher CPI offered will get bumped up on the priority list for most suppliers.
  • Representativeness: Most routing technology creates a more open environment for suppliers to decide when to engage and when to avoid a particular survey. While there generally are controls in place to allow for inclusion and exclusion of certain suppliers, this management can take time, a lot of research, and ultimately expertise in knowing how to best optimize this environment for the perfect balance of cost, feasibility, and timing.
  • Data Quality: Screening questions still need to be designed properly and without bias in order to ensure the correct people are getting to the proper survey.

Our best advice to those looking to add routing to their sampling mix is to get a full understanding of how respondents are getting to your survey. If you don’t get transparency, ask questions surrounding how long respondents are in the router, what proportion are routed, how many surveys each are allowed to take, etc. We see a lot of good with routing, and some bad, but ultimately it is just a thing. In the right hands it is a powerful tool for cost effective and quality sample. You are in good hands with EMI.


The EMI Team