How a mixed methodology sample drives the best quality research
September 28, 2020
6 min read
We often talk about the mixed-recruitment and mixed-reward methodology we apply to our research sample because we believe it enhances the quality of the data each one of our clients gathers through our platform. Here we outline what's involved and why it creates such good quality survey responses.
So often it’s true that mixing things creates a result that’s better than the sum of its parts. Marketers know this well – you don’t blow your whole quarter’s budget on a single campaign, or limit yourself to a single social media channel. And taking a mixed approach to consumer panels is no different. A bigger, more diverse pool of respondents for your survey sample (sample = the group of respondents to your survey) is always a good thing. In fact, it optimises your research for the best data quality, read on to find out why.
At Attest we talk a lot about the mixed-recruitment and mixed-reward methodology we apply to our research sample. It’s because we’re proud of it. We believe it enhances the quality of the data each one of our clients gathers through our platform. And that’s our ultimate goal; we want our clients to collect consumer insights they can hang their hats (and biggest business decisions) on. To do that, they need to be sure that the sampling method we use reaches the consumers they care about, and that those respondents are incentivised to give honest answers that they can trust.
So what makes our sampling methodology such good quality, and better than the techniques other research tools use? In this article we break down our approach to sampling, and explain why the methodology itself, plus some extra checks we sprinkle on top, ensure the best data quality.
What is a mixed-methodology research sample?
The sample you reach through the Attest platform comes from our partnership with panel aggregators. Each panel aggregator has access to hundreds of communities of consumers, all around the world. And each of those panels chooses how to recruit new consumers and how to reward those that successfully complete surveys. This means that while one panel can focus on attracting males aged 18-24 with their recruitment method, another is busy recruiting and rewarding women aged 55-65 with theirs. Each panel has its own specialism based on what sort of consumer is attracted to the recruitment and rewards on offer; different people will be drawn to fan clubs than to loyalty schemes (just two of the many types of sources of panels!), and equally, different people will want to earn money rather than vouchers or loyalty points for completing surveys.
Our mixed-methodology means that when you launch a survey on Attest, people from multiple panels will respond (all of whom will match your targeted demographic profiles!). Mixed-methodology makes for a greater mix of consumers than you could access using a single panel.
What makes a mixed-methodology sample such great quality?
Using panel aggregators is far from the only way to reach consumers. Even when you look within the online consumer research space – and discount in-person and telephone research methods – there are loads of different methodologies. Lots of consumer insight providers in the market today have their own panel that they manage, and their clients tap into this panel through their platforms.
Growing and maintaining a panel takes considerable time, though, and clients who run regular research can soon fatigue a panel. A panel aggregator allows for a constant stream of fresh respondents by combining the recruitment efforts of hundreds of individual panels. This future-proofs your surveys; you know you can run trackers month after month without exhausting the sample.
Even if the single-source panel used by other research providers is big enough for the clients’ needs, the recruitment and reward methods they use will exclude certain consumers who aren’t attracted to those incentives. This means from day one the panel isn’t as diverse as a mixed-methodology approach, so it can’t properly represent the whole population, and the targeting available is instantly narrowed.
A mixed-methodology also means that, through Attest, you can use a single tool to reach diverse consumers all around the world, whatever demographic segments you’re looking to target. This means global teams like Microsoft, WorldRemit and Walgreens Boots Alliance have a centralised tool that they can use for their research in every market they’re in. Our panel-aggregators give us access to 100m consumers in 46 markets, and this is growing all the time, with 17 baked-in demographic filters for easy and accurate targeting and profiling.
One of the features we like most about Attest is that it can stretch across multiple geographies, as we increasingly locate brands in Europe, the US and South America.
Jamie Swango – Partner, The Craftory
How we’re optimising Attest’s mixed-methodology approach to set a new standard for data quality in online research
The very nature of a mixed-recruitment, mixed-incentive sample is already more diverse, more representative and less fatigued than a single panel. But there are a host of other ways we ensure data quality in every response, layered on top of the data quality checks run by both the sample provider and the panel aggregator. Three layers of quality assurance means three times the confidence in the data.
All Attest surveys are device agnostic, meaning the respondent experience (which we put front and centre here at Attest, because an engaged respondent is an honest one!) is just as good if they’re on their mobile, laptop or desktop. We’re aware, though, that more and more consumers conduct their everyday lives on their phones, so every new design we add is mobile-first, to make sure they work perfectly on even the smallest screens.
Our team of in-house research experts – the Attest centre of excellence (ACE) – also work with clients on a daily basis to design surveys that optimise for respondent engagement, because sourcing the sample is just half the job; then you need to encourage them to answer honestly.
There’s also no chance of duplication. Even though you can access respondents through multiple panels, each respondent can only access your survey once thanks to IP and unique respondent ID checks. These checks block respondents from answering on behalf of multiple panels, meaning each response you see in the results dashboard is always unique.
Our mixed-method of sampling means our respondent pool is constantly growing, refreshing and evolving. This keeps the quality of the data we gather high, and avoids any sample fatigue. We keep up with this growing sample with regular updates to the demographics you can reach through Attest, and a live number of respondents available to see in-platform.
If you’ve got any questions about our sampling technique, our data quality measures or getting started using Attest yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Get in touch to find out more!
Convinced that a mixed methodology sample is the best route to quality responses? Our team of research experts can help you get started reaching the consumers that matter most to your brand.
Beth was Attest's first Product Marketer, and spends all day every day chatting about our game-changing product to anyone who'll listen (and often those who aren't listening). She writes everything from product copy through to thought leadership, though her favourite thing to write is a witty tweet about Love Island.