Market Research Panels

Modified on Fri, 03 May 2024 at 01:34 PM

SurveyClub members have the opportunity to join a number of different market research panels. Below we will tell you the difference between custom panels and national gen pop panels. We offer our members the opportunity to join custom panels and national gen pop panels. Below we discuss the difference between custom panels and national gen pop panels, research panel recruitment methods, panel member compensation, and panel maintenance. 

What is a customer research panel?

Market research panels are a great source of primary and secondary research as they may be owned and managed by the company conducting research or by a market research firm that provides secondary research services. The panel's objective is to collect pertinent information on the people that join the panel in an effort to send targeted surveys. Think about it, if you are a Mom with two kids, you are a more qualified respondent for a diapers survey than say, a 19 year old college kid.


People that join research panels are commonly referred to as panelists. Panelists may be customers or non-customers of a company, may meet specific demographic criteria, or may be a broad cross section of the population. As a panelist, the more information you provide the research panel, the more accurately they will be able to send you surveys that you will qualify for and will likely enjoy taking. Plus, the paid surveys that are sent out pay more when they are targeted to a harder to find portion of the population. While those seemingly random hobbies of yours may not seem important, it may be the reason you receive higher paying surveys!


As a member of research panels you will be rewarded for participating in research projects (surveys, focus groups, phone interviews, and even daily polls). Each panel is different, but the most common forms of compensation include cash, gift cards (think Amazon), pre-paid debit cards, cash sweepstakes, prize drawings (how about an iPad 2?), and charitable contributions. Research panels require sophisticated technology, responsive customer service, and good security policies. That is why SurveyClub takes pride in making sure that all of the research panels we recommend have lots of surveys, good rewards, a fun member experience, and real people that can help if you ever have any issues.

What is the difference between National (Gen Pop) panels and Custom Research Panels?


There are two main types of research panels that you will be introduced to as a SurveyClub member, National (Gen-Pop) and Custom Panels. Both have similarities, but it is important to highlight the differences because it will help you understand how to get the most out of your SurveyClub membership.


National, or general population (Gen-Pop) as they are often referred to, are market research panels that accept any and all members within a specific country. These panels do not put restrictions on who can join them because they have so many surveys that they need more and more people to give their opinions. These panels attempt to keep their panel as representative of the population in that country. This is referred to as ‘census-representative'. All that means is that the market research company does their best to keep the demographic breakdown of their panel as close to what the census reports. For example if in the United States males make up 48% of the population while females make up 52% the market research company does their best to make sure their male to female ratio matches. Most national panels require you to register, confirm your email address, and provide at least basic demographic information before they send you surveys. Each survey invitation will tell you how long the survey is and how much you will be rewarded if you complete the survey. Make sure that you continue taking surveys otherwise market research companies have been known to stop sending surveys after a period of member inactivity. As a good rule of thumb, the more active and more information you provide, the more paid (and higher paid) surveys you will receive.


Custom panels, on the other hand, are a unique opportunity for you. These panels are specific to a brand, company, or group of people and provide you the opportunity to interact on a more personal level with that company. With custom panels, not everyone that applies to join the panel will be accepted as they are looking for specific members and only allow a certain number of people to join. SurveyClub has provided its members the opportunity to join custom panels for companies like The Discovery Channel, Sprint, Comedy Central, and Crayola. These custom panels are referred to as either blind or branded. A blind custom panel will be based around a topic but not reveal exactly what company is doing the research. For example, you may be invited to join a custom panel that is all about jeans, but doesn't reveal which clothing company is conducting the research. This is done to ensure that the way you answer questions is not biased because you know who is reading your answers. Branded custom panels, though, do reveal what company is conducting the research and ask specific questions about their products, how you use them, and what you like and dislike. Once you are a member of the custom panel you will be invited to participate in surveys, forums, daily polls, and other community activities. One great part is that the surveys you receive are surveys for which you will always qualify. Most of the custom panels you are invited to will reward you for joining and participating in each activity with gift cards or sweepstakes entries and because these panels are more exclusive communities, your chances of winning are very high! SurveyClub members love the custom panels and the surveys they get to participate in so much that when they receive an invitation to join, they do it right away to make sure they get a spot before it fills up.


When you join SurveyClub, you'll get access to only the best national research panels that pay you for your opinion, have a fun, interactive member area, and have lots of surveys for you. Plus, as a member of SurveyClub you will be invited to join more custom survey panels than anywhere else!