ESOMAR introduced an updated version of their Questions To Help Online Sample Buyers. We have been exploring the changes to this document, and what it means for researchers. In part 2 of our series, we will be continuing our deep dive into the changes, this time looking at the Sample Sources and Recruiting section.
This section is core to understanding the specifics of an organization’s type of sample available, and how they recruit their respondents. Overall, buyers can use this section to understand if a provider is providing its own proprietary sample, aggregating sources, or a combination of both.
Using the broad classification above, from what sources of online sample do you derive participants?
This question is similar to one in the previous ESOMAR 28 but is more broad to allow sample providers the opportunity to give a more detailed explanation of how they source their sample. Keep in mind, organizations could have different methods depending on the country or project type.
Which of these sources are proprietary or exclusive and what is the percent share of each in the total sample provided to a buyer?
This question will help a buyer understand if a provider owns the sample it provides or is sourcing it from other suppliers. It also provides a better understanding if the specific organization in question has any exclusive agreements, that way a buyer knows if the sample is exclusive to that organization.
What recruitment channels are you using for each of the sources you have described? Is the recruitment process ‘open to all’ or by invitation only? Are you using probabilistic methods? Are you using affiliate networks and referral programs and in what proportions? How does your use of these channels vary by geography?
This question is again similar to one in the previous ESOMAR 28, but this time rather than focusing on river sample, it puts the focus on the overall recruitment practices a sample provider may use. It also provides the buyer insight in the recruitment methodology to better understand the representation the panel can provide.
What form of validation do you use in recruitment to ensure that participants are real, unique, and are who they say they are?
This is a new question that can let buyers know the actions and processes a sample provider is taking to prevent fraud at the participant sign-up phase. Buyers should look for the extensive processes that the sample provider has implemented.
What brand (domain) and/or app are you using with proprietary sources?
This may sound like a strange question, but really what this question is getting at is the different ways a respondent gets to a survey. Buyers should be looking to see how easy or difficult it may be for respondents to access surveys, and if there are any barriers that could be faced based on the platform used. A great example would be if respondents could only access surveys through a mobile app, but the survey a buyer has is not built to be device agnostic.
Which model(s) do you offer to deliver sample? Managed service, self-service, or API integration?
This is a great new addition to the ESOMAR questionnaire. The sample industry has undergone major changes over the last decade, not only the explosion of new providers, but also the methods of which a buyer can access sample. Answers to this question will help buyers understand how they will be able to access sample from the supplier, and if that fits their unique needs. A bonus to this question is the addition of a glossary at the end of the document that gives a standard definition to all of these terms.
If offering intercepts, or providing access to more than one source, what level of transparency do you offer over the composition of your sample (sample sources, sample providers included in the blend). Do you let buyers control which sources of sample to include in their projects, and if so how? Do you have any integration mechanisms with third-party sources offered?
The first part of this question is the same as the previous version of the ESOMAR 28; what is different is the second half of this question regarding the buyer’s ability to control the sources of sample included in their projects. This is a big change since it, along with other questions, forces sample suppliers to be much more transparent with the sample sources they use. Buyers should be looking for organizations that allow them some control and/or input into the selection process of the sample sources used in their projects.
Of the sample sources you have available, how would you describe the suitability of each for different research applications? For example, Is there sample suitable for product testing or other recruit/recall situations where the buyer may need to go back again to the same sample? Is the sample suitable for shorter or longer questionnaires? For mobile-only or desktop only questionnaires? Is it suitable to recruit for communities? For online focus groups?
This is another brand-new question, and it has some major implications. First, it helps dissuade sample buyers of the myth that all sample is the same, and that it can work for any project. Different panels have different specialties, whether that is the targets they can provide, or the type of research their respondents should participate it. Buyers can use this question to help understand if the specific panel they are looking at can best fit their project and/or type of research they conduct.
Check back with us next week for the next blog where we will be looking at the Sampling and Project Management section and the changes that have happened.
Missed part 1 of this series? You can read it here.