Panel Recruitment Providers
Market research providers with proprietary panels are dependent on a large pool of active respondents. Since research panels have a high percentage of attrition (respondents becoming inactive or unsubscribing), it’s necessary to continuously recruit fresh new respondents to make sure panels stay consistent in size and demographic coverage.
Recruitment to online consumer panels can be done through a range of different digital marketing methods such as lead generation, affiliate traffic, pay-per-click advertising, and influencer marketing. The best setup depends on the type of recruitment needed and to which degree the panel provider has an in-house team of digital marketing specialists. Many panel providers employ a team of professional media buyers who work with external networks and agencies to optimize the recruitment flow.
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Panel recruitment will also vary from country to country. While larger countries often have a range of panel recruitment specialists to choose from, smaller countries have fewer options. The recruitment cost will also vary, often reflected in the general cost level of the country. Panel providers need to pay significantly more to recruit respondents in expensive markets like Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland compared to markets such as the UK, Germany, and France.
Panel recruitment also depends on the competition and scarcity of the target group. For example, IT decision-makers are a group of highly sought-after B2B professionals that are difficult and expensive to recruit. General consumers without any requirements in terms of age or gender are much more cost-efficient to recruit in large volumes. The difference in cost per acquisition (CPA) can be significant depending on the availability. Mothers of babies are a target group that is hard to find and difficult to recruit, resulting in constant higher demand than the available supply of respondents, which again contributes to higher acquisition costs.
The recruitment cost depends on the type of recruitment conducted. Lead generation agencies and affiliate networks usually offer payment on a cost per acquisition basis (CPA) which means less risk for the recruitment provider in terms of return on investment. On the other hand, pay-per-click advertising comes at a higher risk in the short term since the number of leads signing up to join the panel will depend on the conversion rate. For this reason, many panel companies prefer a CPA-type of recruitment campaign since the outcome is more predictable in terms of how many leads you get for your budget.