5 reasons you should care about sample quality

Posted by Luke O'Brien on November 19, 2014

“In our brave new mobile culture, the idea that a 30+ minute PC-based survey is going to be viable even three years from now is an increasingly absurd belief.” Greg Heist, GreenBook

Research providers must be willing to meet respondents in the most convenient place if they want them to engage in their spare time -– increasingly, on their smartphones with shorter surveys optimised across all devices. Such trends are simply ubiquitous in today’s digital landscape, and market research is no different. 

But brand expectations of research are becoming more advanced than that, making the issue of ensuring sample quality and obtaining meaningful insights something that can no longer be ignored. Research approaches must evolve to attract the real people who care about the products and services we are trying to shape and market.

So if the traditional survey is on the decline, where does this leave us? What is the experience we need to be cultivating to gather true and meaningful insights?


User generated data is exploding and we all recognise the power of volunteered responses to guide business strategy. Now we must consider how to obtain authentic answers via experiences that those consumers actually want to take part in. Ever-increasing budgetary pressures on both the client and the agency mean gathering the right data is more important than ever. And here’s why:


1. Not all data is good data. Nor is it real data.
A Google search for “get money via online surveys” returns more than 12 million results, including promises to reveal how to earn $200 a day or more. Getting through enough questions to earn this amount can only result in poor-quality responses that are inaccurate and often not reflective of actual intent.  Simply accepting data without thinking about where it’s coming from means researchers could be at a greater risk of making the wrong decision. The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” is too crucial to ignore when panel data is being used to inform multi-million-dollar outcomes.

2. Concerns over respondent quality are not new. But the ways you can tackle them are.
As far back as 2006, bigger brands began to question the integrity of online panel insights. Now, customer engagement solutions are more sophisticated, allowing us to filter out the actors and combine volunteered personal information with social and behavioural data to provide a real-life, real-time snapshot of each respondent.

3. Not all survey respondents want to be rewarded in the same way.
Were you one of 20 million people who viewed BuzzFeed’s What city should you actually live in? quiz? This viral content encouraged each user to invest time and thought into responding to a survey - simply to gain an insight into him or herself. In today’s digital climate, the currency of information is just as important as hard cash. To gather rich, insightful data it’s no longer enough to incentivise survey participation with points, vouchers and financial-based rewards alone. Giving feedback, building individual relationships with panelists and showing them their participation makes a difference is equally as valuable.

4. If you don’t care about who’s on your panel, why should they care about you?
If someone is only engaged in a one-time “I respond, you reward” interaction they have no reason to care about what happens to their information once they hit submit. It’s time to deliver a true value exchange both between both the client and participant.

5. Panel quality isn’t just about reaching the right people. It’s about reaching the right people. At the right time. In the right way.
Technology now enables us to know, not guess, what customers want - but it's our collective challenge to deliver world-class research experiences on a scale so that respondents will remain valuable way beyond the lifecycle of one survey.


At Pureprofile we see each respondent as a distinct individual, engaging them in an ongoing conversation, and linking their responses to their own unique and genuine profile. Participants need to know their opinions matter. Our longitudinal approach allows brands to follow respondents throughout their decision-making journeys to the point of purchase and beyond.

So how could you respond to this new consumer landscape? We encourage you to invest with your customers to create real, quality data over time. You’ll find this has a multitude of strategic benefits, most of which is high quality, valuable and genuine insights.

Topics: Thought Leadership, Market Research, Profile, Big data, Data Quality, Value Exchange

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