Respondent marketplaces or “panel exchanges” automate the flow of respondents between market research buyers and providers. On one side, the providers supply the marketplace with fresh respondents ready to take surveys, and on the other hand, the buyers pay for the number of completed surveys fulfilled by the respondents. API connections between marketplace and supplier automate the whole process. Market research buyers will either use the marketplace on a DIY basis or have direct access from their platform, automatically tapping into the marketplace through a SaaS solution.
Key respondent marketplaces include:
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Marketplace suppliers range from traditional consumer panels to website communities and social media sites. Like Google Adwords enable publishers to monetize their traffic by showing ads, respondent marketplaces let online communities and survey sites earn money by having their users opt-in to paid survey opportunities. The provider is paid a percentage of the cost per interview (CPI) which is determined based on the incidence rate (IR) and length of interview (LOI). Scarce target groups and long surveys will yield a higher CPI, while easy to reach targets and short surveys will be priced at a lower CPI. Based on these factors, the pricing is set dynamically, which means research buyers might see the pricing fluctuate according to the real IR within the project.
The number of available respondents will also vary over time. Depending on the overall demand for a specific target group (e.g., Hispanics in the United States), the research buyer might see a higher or lower sample availability for their research project. If many buyers conduct market research studies looking for Hispanics in the US simultaneously, fieldwork time might take longer than anticipated. To some degree, marketplaces mitigate the risk of not meeting fieldwork timings by providing an updated feasibility check up-front to set the correct expectations before the fieldwork begins.
Clients of respondent marketplaces benefit from having cost-efficient access to market research audiences on tap without investing in proprietary first-party data assets. The automated platform also eliminates the need to have a project manager conduct the project’s fieldwork. Instead, the research buyer can launch the project through a DIY portal and monitor the fieldwork and the results in real-time through a dashboard. The whole process saves time for all parties, which means fieldwork can be done swiftly, supporting agile research methods when that is needed.