Multiple studies have learned that Research Communities are far more useful for data collection than Access Panels. The intrinsic motivation and brand dedication of community members have proven to provide organizations with richer, more honest and complete information.
Besides being very price competitive in comparison to Access Panels that solely rely on incentives, we found that members of a Research Community are more outspoken, more engaged, take more time and enter more text in open ended questions.
Community members were significantly more likely to give outspoken responses on the five-point scale, such as very attractive, very interesting, would definitely buy. Or indeed, very unattractive, very uninteresting and definitely not buy. Access Panel members, on the other hand, were more likely to give less outspoken responses.
In other words, Community members are more explicit in expressing their opinions: they do not mince their words, even when it comes to a negative point of view. The opinions of Access Panel members are less pronounced in general and they are also more likely to opt for the neutral category. In future, Crowdtech therefore advises its clients not only to look at the Top 2 boxes, but also the Top 1 – or Bottom 1. It is there that the interesting insight and developments can really be found.
Community members are not only more outspoken, they are also more engaged. This is actually to be expected, since community members have signed up for the panel to share their ideas with the company. Both of the studies clearly confirm this. It is reflected most significantly in the size of the customer segments for one specific client.
The breakdown of the different segments demonstrates the essential difference between Access and Research Communities. In the Community, the Committed segment is almost three times the size of that in the Access Panel. However, it is the Bargain Hunters who are overrepresented in the Access Panel. Most Access Panels reward respondents for participating in surveys (undoubtedly a major incentive for Bargain Hunters), but [dedicated] Research Communities do not usually do this. In their case, participants are rewarded by being heard, contributing their ideas and being part of decision-making.
Take more time
The high level of commitment also manifests itself in a different way. Community members actually devote more time to responding to questions. For the first survey, the median completion time for the whole survey was 636 seconds; for access panel members, that figure was 628. For the second survey, this difference was even greater: 155 compared to 116 seconds for questions about the proposition.
Enter more text in open ended questions
Members of Research Communities not only take more time to answer the questions, they also enter longer responses for the open questions. For a question in the first survey, respondents were asked to explain why a particular offer appealed to them. Access Panel members responded on average using 9.2 words (52 characters), whereas members of the Community used on average 10.7 words (63 characters). In a subsequent question, this difference is seen even more clearly. The question was: Can you explain why you (definitely) would or (definitely) would not take up this offer? Access Panel members responded on average using 9.9 words (55 characters), but members of the Research Community used an average of 14.4 words (83 characters).
In other words: Communities are even better than was thought. Not only do we negate a posible argument that fans can be overrepresented and therefore resulting in a view of reality that is to optimistic. Research Communities also offer several other advantages. Besides being very price competitive in general they provide more outspoken and more committed respondents. Which also devote more time to the survey and provide more explanation. These are the most valuable characteristics for respondents for any marketing or communication specialist or market researcher.
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