A recent blog from Lisa Wilding-Brown likened panels to “the polar icecaps of the industry.” It referenced grabbing an ice cold beverage for the read and this was spot on - I found the article refreshing.
Why? Because another panel leader bluntly and accurately outlined the key issue for panels today - that surveys are no longer fit for purpose. We know more than 50 percent of panellists are engaging via their mobile devices, yet they complete only 2 percent of studies on these devices. What’s more, there is nearly double the drop off rate compared to PC users.
If we know this why aren’t we, as an industry, listening to the “advice and evidence” that is clearly in front of us?
The article initially suggests panels are not dead; instead stating panels today are “deathbed sick.” This is where I disagree. Our panels are changing, but are not disappearing. The issue they face is in the surveys they are being asked to do. The buck stops with the broader industry, not solely panel owners and definitely not the panel itself.
What we must do is avoid condemning our current situation. Instead, we should seek to make surveys accessible, no matter the device. The future of online surveys will struggle - struggle to find feasibility and struggle for quality at a reasonable price. Online surveys will struggle, but won’t die.
Let’s leave the idea of death behind and concentrate on making it a better life for us all - simplify the process for researchers to reach the sample they require and trust the data they receive and make it easier for panellists to continue to share their thoughts with us. We can all make our lives a lot easier by listening to consumers (isn’t that what are industry does?) and meeting them on their devices, wherever and whenever.