Online Sample: Going DIY? Ten Things to Consider
- Posted by Alex Brooks
- On March 9, 2022
I have stated in the past that going it alone and using DIY sampling platforms is my preferred approach to managing data collection. This includes both the programmatic exchanges as well as the DIY platforms provided by sample companies to access their own “proprietary supply.” These DIY platforms are great but they are not for everyone and every occasion. If you are thinking about going the DIY platform route, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
Is DIY A Good Fit For You?
Brookmark is a very hands-on full-service company and we have built our research practice to include DIY exchanges, DIY supplier direct and leveraging managed services from certain providers. When thinking about going DIY, consider the following:
- The learning curve. All the DIY platforms are somewhat different and you need to have more than a basic understanding to use them effectively. Unless you are using them every day, it can be difficult to become proficient with them. The good news is anyone can learn how to use these tools but you do need to invest time.
- Access to suppliers. You may not be getting access to all the suppliers in the marketplace. Some platforms only include their own panel assets while others give you access to hundreds of suppliers. And certain suppliers do not offer their panel via DIY platforms. In other words, you may not be getting access to some quality sources of sample (i.e., traffic) by using only DIY.
- The need to learn more than one platform. Given that sample supply can differ by platform and/or supplier, you will likely need to learn more than one platform to expand your reach. This of course falls back to point one and the learning curve issue.
- Identifying quality suppliers. It’s hard to determine the “quality” suppliers in the available population. DIY exchanges boast having access to hundreds of suppliers. While that may sound great, it is difficult to differentiate the quality suppliers from the others. The good news is the platforms do provide visibility in terms of which supplier is contributing traffic to your study. The bad news is you will need to monitor the traffic over several projects before you can make an informed decision on whether certain suppliers should be included or omitted from your sampling plan.
- Optimistic feasibility. Practical experience suggests feasibility seems to be overly optimistic on some DIY platforms. Unless it’s an easy 50% + incidence gen pop study, you should cut your feasibility expectations by one-third to be safe.
- Response dynamics. When managing respondent traffic, you need to understand which type(s) of respondents are most likely to respond first, last, rarely, etc. And then you need to adjust your traffic mix to account for this behavior. Otherwise, you may end up being backed into a corner needing to find mutually exclusive quotas that are very difficult to achieve.
- DIY sometimes feels like DIE. We’ve all been there — sample traffic comes to a screeching halt and you still need a few hundred completes and you feel like you have no more options. This brings to an earlier point where you will need to learn more than one platform to increase your traffic. Even then you still may end up having to reach out directly to a sample company to help close out your study.
- You will need to invest in technology to prevent duplication. Any time you are merging multiple independent sources (i.e., two different DIY platforms, DIY and direct to sample supplier, DIY and broker, DIY and broker and direct to sample supplier) you risk having duplicate responses in your survey (and yes you will have duplicates).
- You will need to invest in technology to prevent fraud. On any given day, you will find fraudulent traffic in your study. Recently we have seen as much as 10% of survey traffic being flagged as fraud. The good news is fraud and duplication are typically addressed with the same technology tools so you will not need to invest in two separate products.
- You will need to learn which projects are the best fit. Certain types of projects are not well suited for DIY platforms, particularly the exchanges. Low incidence, restricted geos and survey lengths of 30-minutes or more tend to be the types of studies that struggle. For these types of studies you might be better served going the managed services route.
About Brookmark Research:
Brookmark is a data driven consultancy focused on developing powerful marketing strategies to fuel the growth of our clients’ businesses. We leverage primary marketing research, 1st party, 3rd party and proprietary data sources along with proprietary tools and strategy frameworks to develop, test and evaluate marketing driven strategies that deliver exponential ROI. Whether you are an early-stage growth company or a Fortune 1000 company, we help successful companies accelerate, and stagnate companies invigorate growth.