Percy & Company - Market Research - Internet

The majority of market research firms now use the Internet to collect consumer data. Thousands of respondents can be contacted instantly, including many demographics previously unavailable. While this may sound advantageous, online data is notoriously unreliable due to the inherent difficulty in verifying a respondent’s identity, personal information, location, or claimed demographics. Also, because of financial incentives offered to complete many online surveys, it is common for one individual to use multiple email addresses to respond to the survey several times.

A recent nationwide survey of market research professionals found a high degree of concern regarding the quality/integrity of consumer data currently being collected via the Internet. For these and other reasons, Percy & Company does not rely on online data collection as its primary source of information.

  • Online Surveys: These surveys are fast and efficient in collecting data. Survey participants are mailed codes that allow us to prevent disclosure of confidential participant information. Our CAHPS surveys are mailed to participants but are given the option of returning the mailed form or using a computer, tablet or smartphone to complete the survey. No participant information is ever placed on the internet.
  • Pop-Up Surveys: These can be effective for national or international firms looking to conduct brief surveys of anonymous individuals, but are not effective on a local or regional level.
  • Survey Panel Companies: Many research companies now outsource data collection to online survey panel companies. While this makes it easy for the research company, there are inherent drawbacks to this methodology. There is no way to verify a respondent’s identity, personal information, location, or claimed demographics, and the financial incentives offered to complete these surveys encourage their misuse.
  • Email: Due to the threat of online viruses and time constraints, most people simply delete emails from unknown sources. As a result, email surveys are notoriously ineffective. A long-time client Percy & Company recently hired an online research outlet to conduct an email survey. Of 80,000 emails sent around the world to insurance brokers, the client received less than 20 completed surveys.
  • Social Media: May be a viable alternative in the future but not currently.