Reaching the Right Voters: Using Online Sample for Smarter Political Campaigns

With the 2024 presidential election looming, political campaigns and voters are gearing up for what could be the most highly anticipated showdown in recent memory. While there are few certainties at this point, one factor has become abundantly clear. In this highly competitive climate, voter data collection is undergoing a dramatic transformation as political campaigns employ increasingly sophisticated methods to understand the electorate.

Traditional methods, heavily reliant on phone calls and in-person surveys, are giving way to a new era of online sample collection that makes political market research faster, more cost-effective, and ultimately, more insightful.

The Limitations of Traditional Methods

For decades, political campaigns relied on phone surveys and doorstep polling to understand voter sentiment. While these methods can provide valuable data, they come with inherent limitations. Phone surveys struggle with low response rates. Increasing spam calls and robocalls makes people wary of unknown numbers, and some demographics, like younger voters, just aren’t interested.

In-person surveys, while offering a higher response rate and access to hard-to-reach audiences, are expensive and time-consuming. Achieving a statistically significant sample size across a large geographical area can be a logistical nightmare for campaigns with limited resources.

The Benefits of Online Samples

The 2020 pandemic accelerated consumers’ shift to digital, from e-commerce to streaming. The same can be said for political campaigns. By turning to online sample collection, political campaigns can partner with online survey platforms with access to vast pools of pre-recruited participants, streamlining data collection and potentially reaching demographics less accessible through traditional methods.

These platforms leverage a variety of methods to build their samples, including:

  • Online Recruitment: Individuals can sign up to become panelists and receive invitations to participate in surveys on various topics, including politics, often in exchange for incentives like points or rewards.
  • Social Media: Platforms can leverage targeted advertising on social media to recruit participants who meet specific demographic criteria.
  • Website Intercepts: Visitors to a campaign website can be invited to participate in a short survey before leaving the site.

The abundance of and accessibility to consumer data have made online sample popular among political campaigns, and its advantages have proven beneficial for candidates. During the 2018 U.S. midterm election, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign (AOC) leveraged online surveys to identify key issues for voters in her district and tailor her messaging accordingly. The campaign's data-driven approach is credited with helping AOC achieve a surprise victory over a well-funded incumbent.

More specifically, the advantages of online sample include:

  • Larger, more diverse samples: Online platforms offer access to millions of potential participants, allowing campaigns to gather data from a broader range of demographics and geographic locations. This ensures a more accurate representation of the electorate, leading to more informed campaign decisions.
  • Faster turnaround times: Online surveys can be deployed quickly and efficiently, with results available in a matter of days. Campaigns can adapt their messaging and strategies in real-time based on voter feedback.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Online sample collection is significantly more affordable than traditional methods. Campaigns can gather a wealth of data at a fraction of the cost of phone surveys or in-person polling.
  • Data quality: Many online platforms employ rigorous screening processes to ensure the quality of their data, including verifying participant identities and filtering out bots or fraudulent entries.
  • Detailed targeting: Online surveys allow for highly targeted questioning based on demographics, political affiliation, or past voting behavior to customize messaging to specific voter segments.
  • Advanced data analysis: Online survey platforms often provide built-in data analysis tools, allowing campaigns to identify trends and patterns within the data.

Addressing Concerns About Online Samples

While online samples offer numerous advantages, there are some potential drawbacks. One concern is the possibility of non-response bias. People who choose to participate in online surveys may not be representative of the entire population. 

However, reputable online survey platforms employ weighting techniques to adjust for this bias and ensure the sample reflects the demographics of the target population.

Another concern is the potential for online fraud. Bad actors may attempt to skew survey results by submitting fake responses. To mitigate this risk, online survey platforms can utilize various security measures, such as CAPTCHAs and IP address verification.

Campaigns must ensure they are partnering with reputable survey platforms with robust data security measures. Additionally, participants must be fully informed about how their data will be used and must have the option to opt out of surveys.

The Future of Political Market Research

The use of online samples by political campaigns is not a trend but a fundamental shift in how information is gathered. As online platforms evolve and refine their methodologies, the data will become even more robust and actionable, empowering campaigns to develop targeted messaging that builds stronger connections with voters, potentially leading to more votes.  

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The Impact of Online Sample on Cultural Marketing in the U.S.

The modern consumer has evolved. Today, they're not simply passive buyers but active cultural participants who engage with brands that resonate with their values, identities, and lived experiences. This shift has driven the rise of cultural marketing, a nuanced approach that seeks to connect with consumers through their cultural lens.

However, to truly comprehend this cultural lens, marketers must harness the power of market research to gather rich insights directly from consumers. Using online sample is among the most prevalent and efficient ways to gather these insights.

Cultural Marketing in the U.S.

America is a diverse nation, filled with many different cultures. This diversity presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers tasked with understanding how shared values, customs and beliefs shape people’s lives and influence consumer behavior. This cultural intelligence helps brands tailor their messaging, products, and services to resonate more deeply with specific audiences.

Benefits and Considerations for Online Sample

Online panels can help brands understand and target specific cultural groups. However, this market research tool isn’t without its challenges. Let’s look at the benefits first.


  • Accessibility and Cost-Effectiveness: Online samples are generally more accessible and cost-effective than traditional methods like face-to-face interviews or focus groups. This allows researchers to reach diverse cultural groups, even those geographically dispersed.
  • Targeted Insights: Researchers can design online surveys and tasks specifically tailored to understand the values, preferences, and behaviors of different cultural groups. This data can inform content creation, messaging, and distribution strategies.
  • Quantifiable Data: Online samples enable large-scale data collection, providing statistically significant results for better decision-making. This can be especially valuable for understanding niche or underrepresented cultural segments.
  • Participant Diversity: Online platforms offer access to a wider range of participants, potentially including individuals who might not otherwise participate in traditional research due to time constraints or social anxieties.

Challenges and Considerations:

  • Sampling Bias: Online samples are not immune to sampling bias. If not carefully designed, they may overrepresent certain demographics, leading to inaccurate conclusions about specific cultural groups.
  • Cultural Nuances: Online surveys and tasks might not capture the intricacies of cultural attitudes and behaviors. Researchers must be mindful of language, design, and context to avoid misinterpretation.
  • Digital Divide: Not all cultural groups have equal access to the internet or digital literacy. This can lead to the underrepresentation of certain populations in online samples.
  • Ethical Concerns: Data privacy and participant anonymity are crucial considerations. Researchers need to ensure transparency and ethical data collection practices.

Overall, online sample is a valuable tool for cultural marketing when conducted by experienced market research agencies familiar with online samples’ benefits and limitations so data collection can be implemented with sensitivity and cultural awareness.

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La Importancia de la Investigación de Mercado Multicultural en el Mercado Global

La demografía de Estados Unidos está cambiando rápidamente, con una población que se dirige a convertirse en una mayoría multicultural. Pero la realidad es que, para muchas empresas, el crecimiento está más allá de las fronteras nacionales. Las marcas con sede en EE. UU. buscan cada vez más en otras regiones para atraer nuevos públicos. De manera similar, las marcas latinoamericanas, por ejemplo, buscan extender su alcance a otros grupos demográficos en EE. UU.

En muchos sentidos, la transformación digital resultante de la pandemia de COVID-19 permitió este cambio hacia una economía sin fronteras. Según McKinsey, la adopción digital se aceleró al menos tres años a medida que los consumidores se movieron a los canales en línea a un ritmo récord. Las empresas e industrias respondieron y se dieron cuenta de que el perfil de sus clientes había cambiado. Para comprender a estos nuevos consumidores, se volvió imperativo que las empresas investigaran no solo la diferencia en demografía sino también la diversidad cultural, que influye en las preferencias de los consumidores y puede variar según la geografía, etnia, raza, idioma, religión, etc.

¿Por qué la Investigación Multicultural?

Es importante recordar que lo que funciona en una región puede no funcionar en otra. Un símbolo con una connotación positiva en una cultura y que atrae a los consumidores podría ser ofensivo en otra y alejarlos. La investigación multicultural ayuda a las empresas a navegar por estos matices mediante la creación de espacios seguros para que las empresas comprendan las diferencias culturales entre las regiones y su influencia en las actitudes, comportamientos y preferencias de los consumidores hacia los bienes y servicios.

Entonces, recuerde, la investigación de mercado multicultural empodera a las empresas con:

  • Mejor comprensión de las necesidades y deseos de los clientes: Al comprender las diferencias culturales, las empresas pueden desarrollar productos y servicios más atractivos para un público más amplio o más localizados cuando sea necesario.
  • Mayor éxito en el lanzamiento de nuevos productos y servicios: La investigación de mercado multicultural puede ayudar a las empresas a identificar las oportunidades de mercado más prometedoras, reducir el riesgo de fracaso de nuevos productos y proteger la marca.
  • Mejores relaciones con los clientes: Al comprender las necesidades y deseos de los clientes de diferentes culturas, las empresas pueden construir relaciones más sólidas y duraderas.

Cómo Realizar una Investigación Multicultural

Para realizar una investigación de mercado multicultural eficaz, es importante tener en cuenta los siguientes factores:

  • Elegir la metodología adecuada: Existen varias metodologías de investigación de mercado, cada una adaptable a las necesidades de la empresa que necesita la investigación. Las metodologías más comunes para la investigación de mercado intercultural incluyen encuestas, entrevistas, grupos focales y análisis de datos secundarios.
  • Desarrollar un cuestionario o guía de entrevista culturalmente sensible: El cuestionario o la guía de entrevista deben elaborarse para que sean fácilmente comprensibles para los participantes de diversas culturas. Igualmente importante es evitar cualquier sesgo cultural en la redacción de las preguntas de la encuesta.
  • Reclutar una muestra representativa: La muestra debe representar a la población a la que la empresa está tratando de llegar.

Contratar los servicios de una agencia de investigación de mercado con experiencia multicultural resulta beneficioso, especialmente cuando tales capacidades no están presentes dentro de la empresa.


La investigación intercultural es esencial para las empresas que buscan crecer fuera de sus mercados actuales, particularmente aquellas que buscan expandirse internacionalmente. Pero la expansión no viene sin riesgos, y participar en una investigación intercultural puede ayudar a mitigar ese riesgo y facilitar conexiones auténticas con los consumidores de esas regiones.

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The Importance of Cross-Cultural Market Research in the Global Market

The demographics of the U.S. are rapidly shifting, with the population on track to becoming a multicultural majority. But the reality is, for many companies, growth lies beyond national borders. U.S. based brands are increasingly looking to other regions to engage new audiences. Similarly, Latin American brands, for example, look to spread its reach to other demographics in the U.S.

In many ways, the digital transformation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic enabled this shift to a borderless economy. According to McKinsey, digital adoption accelerated by at least three years as consumers moved to online channels at a record pace. Companies and industries responded and came to realize that the profile of their customers had changed.

To understand these new consumers, it became imperative that companies did their research to understand not only the difference in demographics but also the cultural diversity, which influences consumer preferences and can vary depending on geography, ethnicity, race, language, religion, etc.

Why Cross-Cultural Research?

Remembering that what works in one region may not work in another is important. A symbol with a positive connotation in one culture and attracting consumers could be offensive in another and offed them. Cross-cultural research helps companies navigate these nuances by creating safe spaces for companies to understand the cultural differences between regions and their influence on consumers' attitudes, behaviors, and preferences toward goods and services.

So remember, cross-cultural market research empowers companies with:

  • Better understanding of customer needs and wants: By understanding cultural differences, businesses can develop products and services more appealing to a broader audience or more localized when necessary.
  • Greater success in launching new products and services: Cross-cultural market research can help companies identify the most promising market opportunities, reduce the risk of failure of new products and protect the brand.
  • Better customer relationships: By understanding the needs and wants of customers from different cultures, companies can build stronger and more lasting relationships.

How to Conduct Cross-Cultural Research

To conduct effective cross-cultural market research, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Choosing the right methodology: Several market research methodologies are available, each adaptable to the needs of the company in need of the research. The most common methodologies for cross-cultural market research include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and secondary data analysis.
  • Developing a culturally sensitive questionnaire or interview guide: The questionnaire or interview guide must be crafted to be easily understandable to participants from diverse cultures. Equally important is steering clear of any cultural bias in drafting survey questions.
  • Recruiting a representative sample: The sample should represent the population the company is trying to reach.

Engaging the services of an experienced cross-cultural market research agency proves beneficial, especially when such capabilities are not present within the company.


Cross-cultural research is essential for companies looking to grow outside their current markets, particularly those looking to expand internationally. But expansion doesn’t come without risks, and engaging in cross-cultural research can help mitigate that risk and facilitate authentic connections with the consumers in those regions.

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2024: A Year of Transformation in Online Panels and Market Research

Buckle up, researchers, because 2024 promises to be a thrilling year of evolution in the world of online panels and market research. From artificial intelligence to data security, these five key trends are poised to rewrite the rulebook.

1. AI & Big Data: Seeing the Future with Precision

Artificial intelligence is sprinting ahead, and market research will reap the benefits. Envision a future in which researchers can not only anticipate but accurately pinpoint upcoming consumer trends through advanced predictive analytics and personalized research methodologies. These approaches will unlock the deepest data wells, enabling big data to be distilled in record time and with unprecedented accuracy. AI is promoting a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and propelling research forward.

2. Niche Panels: Diving Deep into Diverse Markets

Say goodbye to one-size-fits-all strategies and hello to specificity! In 2024, researchers will adopt inclusive strategies that enable deeper dives into diverse demographics, interests, and behaviors, uncovering richer insights. Panels tailored to niche groups like Hispanic gamers, first-generation college students, and African American eco-conscious Millennials will transcend borders, amplifying the voices of multicultural and multidimensional consumers across the globe, ensuring underrepresented groups have their rightful seat at the research table. 

3. Engagement & Gamification: Research Reimagined as Play

Research can be engaging, and surveys need not be dull. Future-forward research tools will create interactive experiences that transform data collection into virtual reality food fights and escape room-style puzzles. Respondents won't just participate – they'll be vying for a spot in the virtual arena. Rewards will also change, moving beyond cash incentives to exclusive content, early product access, or even in-platform currency redeemable for virtual experiences or loyalty points that unlock VR vacations. However, this engagement goes beyond personal enjoyment. Cultivating a community spirit among panel members is crucial to establishing a vibrant research ecosystem where collaboration and the exchange of knowledge thrive.

4. Blockchain & Data Security: Prioritizing Trust

With great power comes great responsibility, and trust is paramount when it comes to data. In this context, blockchain technology emerges as a potential game-changer, offering decentralized data management that puts control back in the hands of respondents. Think of it as a data fortress secured by crypto keys, granting individuals sole custody over their information. This paradigm shift elevates privacy in the hierarchy, ensuring transparent and secure data collection practices that underpin a valued research experience.

However, the battle against bad actors isn't won merely by decentralization. Advanced fraud detection and elimination protocols must remain vigilant, constantly evolving to protect the integrity of research ecosystems.

5. The Metaverse Beckons: Researching Beyond Reality

The lines between physical and digital are blurring, and 2024 welcomes research into the metaverse. Imagine conducting research where respondents taste-test virtual ramen within a bustling Tokyo market or explore innovative products in a futuristic VR store, providing unparalleled insights into consumer behavior and preferences. In return, they could unlock exclusive access to coveted Metaverse experiences like attending a virtual music festival on Mars or designing personalized digital avatars. The possibilities are limitless!

Navigating ethical considerations, however, will be a priority as we venture into this exciting frontier. Researchers must ensure accessibility, mitigate potential biases and safeguard user privacy in these immersive environments to create a responsible and equitable research space that unlocks the full potential of the Metaverse.

The Future of Online Panels

So there you have it, a glimpse into the captivating world of market research and online panels in 2024. Are you ready to join the ride? Share your thoughts, questions, and audacious research dreams in the comments below. Let's explore the future of research together and unleash the power of AI-powered insight, niche panels, and perhaps even the occasional virtual reality food fight!

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Bots en los paneles de investigación de mercado, una preocupación creciente

En el panorama digital actual, la mayoría de nosotros hemos interactuado con bots, programas informáticos que imitan la conversación humana y automatizan tareas. Los chatbots pueden, por ejemplo, manejar consultas en el sitio web, monitorear los canales de redes sociales y recopilar datos de encuestas. Los bots son omnipresentes y se utilizan en una variedad de aplicaciones, incluida la investigación de mercado. Este blog aborda preguntas frecuentes sobre los bots en los paneles de investigación de mercado.

¿Cómo funcionan los bots en los paneles de investigación de mercado?

De alguna manera, los bots están revolucionando la industria de la investigación de mercado. En lugar de depender de las metodologías de encuesta tradicionales, los bots pueden ayudar a realizar encuestas de forma rápida y más eficiente, lo que potencialmente ahorra tiempo y dinero a los clientes. Al incrustar bots en destinos populares para los consumidores, como las plataformas de redes sociales, les facilita la participación en las encuestas. Los bots también se pueden usar para analizar grandes cantidades de datos de manera rápida y eficiente, proporcionando información muy necesaria en una fracción del tiempo. Pero, con los beneficios vienen los riesgos.

¿Cuáles son los riesgos potenciales de usar bots en paneles de investigación de mercado?

Los bots pueden representar varias amenazas para la integridad y confiabilidad de los paneles de investigación de mercado, lo que potencialmente compromete la calidad de los datos y la validez de los conocimientos. Existen bots malintencionados que pueden hacerse pasar por panelistas y responder  encuestas rápidamente, lo que resulta en respuestas engañosas que no representan las opiniones de la población objetivo. En segundo lugar, los bots pueden poner en peligro la privacidad del consumidor, lo que podría provocar fraudes y robos de identidad. Los bots pueden recopilar datos personales de los encuestados sin su conocimiento o consentimiento. Las preocupaciones sobre la privacidad de los datos y las prácticas de investigación ética pueden dañar la reputación de una empresa y socavar la confianza de los clientes en la integridad del panel.

¿Qué métodos se utilizan para identificar bots?

Se pueden utilizar varios métodos para identificar bots en paneles de investigación de mercado, que incluyen:

  • Análisis de comportamiento: Los investigadores de mercado pueden analizar el comportamiento de los encuestados para detectar signos de bots. Por ejemplo, los bots suelen completar encuestas de forma rápida y sin errores, mientras que los humanos suelen mostrar cierto nivel de vacilación o error.
  • Herramientas de detección: Algoritmos avanzados, códigos CAPTCHA y otros desafíos de verificación y auditorías de datos son solo algunas de las herramientas sólidas disponibles para detectar y eliminar bots de los paneles de investigación de mercado.

¿Qué está haciendo ThinkNow para combatir los bots?

Para combatir las crecientes preocupaciones sobre los bots en el panel de investigación de mercado, ThinkNow está duplicando las medidas de calidad y seguridad existentes y nuevas. A continuación, se enumeran algunos protocolos para el pre y post registro:

  • Autenticación de dos factores: Los bots están diseñados para operar de manera totalmente automatizada y predecible. La autenticación de dos factores introduce una variable dinámica, en este caso, un código generado aleatoriamente que un bot no puede replicar.
  • Geolocalización: La geolocalización garantiza que las respuestas a las encuestas provengan de personas físicamente ubicadas dentro de las áreas geográficas especificadas, garantizando que la muestra refleje con precisión la diversidad de opiniones, comportamientos y preferencias de diferentes regiones y culturas.
  • Llamada de bienvenida: La verificación por teléfono garantiza la identidad del panelista, el ajuste cultural y la precisión lingüística, lo que evita registros fraudulentos y garantiza una muestra representativa.
  • Grupos de redes sociales: Los grupos de redes sociales proporcionan una capa adicional de verificación de la identidad de los panelistas. Al ser parte de un grupo verificado, se reduce la probabilidad de participación de perfiles falsos o bots, mejorando la autenticidad de los participantes y, por lo tanto, sus respuestas.
  • Geo verificación a través del boletín de noticias: La distribución del boletín valida las direcciones de correo electrónico de los panelistas, manteniendo una lista de contactos actualizada. Los píxeles de seguimiento incrustados en los boletines proporcionan ubicaciones aproximadas de los usuarios a través de direcciones IP.

Se utilizan controles adicionales del panel antes y después de la encuesta para detectar y disuadir a los bots, como redirecciones de seguridad S2S, redirecciones de cifrado SHA-1, huellas dactilares del dispositivo y reconciliación de datos.


Los bots seguirán siendo una preocupación creciente en la investigación de mercado a medida que la inteligencia artificial continúe avanzando. Al tomar medidas para mitigar los riesgos asociados con el uso de bots, las empresas pueden garantizar que sus datos de investigación de mercado sean precisos, confiables y éticos.

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Bots in Market Research Panels, A Growing Concern

In today’s digital landscape, most of us have interacted with bots – computer programs that mimic human conversation and automate tasks. Chatbots can, for example, handle website inquiries, monitor social media channels, and collect survey data. Bots are ubiquitous and used in a variety of applications, including market research. This blog addresses frequently asked questions about bots in market research panels.

How do bots work in market research?

In some ways, bots are revolutionizing the market research industry. Instead of relying on traditional survey methodologies, bots can help to conduct surveys quickly and more efficiently, potentially saving clients time and money. By embedding bots on popular destinations for consumers, like social media platforms, it makes it easier for them to participate in surveys. Bots can also be used to analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently,  providing much-needed insights in a fraction of the time. But, with the benefits come the risks.

What are the bots that threaten online market research panels?

Bots can pose several threats to the integrity and reliability of market research panels, potentially compromising data quality and the validity of insights. There are malicious bots that can pose as panelists and quickly respond to surveys, resulting in deceptive responses that do not represent the opinions of the target population.

Secondly, bots can jeopardize consumer privacy, which could lead to fraud and identity theft. Bots may collect personal data from respondents without their knowledge or consent. Concerns about data privacy and ethical research practices can damage a company’s reputation and undermine clients’ confidence in the panel's integrity.

What methods are used to identify bots?

Several methods can be used to identify bots in market research panels, including:

  • Behavioral analysis - market researchers can analyze the behavior of respondents to detect signs of bots. For instance, bots often complete surveys quickly and error-free, whereas humans typically exhibit some level of hesitation or error.
  • Detection tools – advanced algorithms, CAPTCHA codes and other verification challenges and data audits are just a few of the robust tools available to detect and remove bots from market research panels.

What is ThinkNow doing to combat bots?

To combat growing concerns over bots in our market research panels, ThinkNow is doubling down on existing and new quality and security measures. Listed below are a few protocols for pre and post-registration:

  • Two-factor authentication: Bots are designed to operate in a fully automated and predictable manner. Two-factor authentication introduces a dynamic variable, in this case, a randomly generated code that a bot cannot replicate.
  • Geolocation: Geolocation ensures that survey responses originate from individuals physically located within the specified geographical areas, guaranteeing that the sample accurately reflects the diversity of opinions, behaviors, and preferences of different regions and cultures.
  • Welcome Call: Phone verification ensures panelist identity, cultural fit, and linguistic accuracy, preventing fraudulent registrations and ensuring a representative sample.
  • Social media groups: Social media groups provide an additional layer of verification of the identity of panelists. By being part of a verified group, the probability of participation by fake profiles or bots is reduced, improving the authenticity of participants and, therefore, their responses.
  • Geo verification through newsletter: Newsletter distribution validates panelist email addresses, maintaining an up-to-date contact list. Tracking pixels embedded in newsletters provide approximate user locations via IP addresses.

Additional panel controls are used pre and post-survey to detect and deter bots, such as S2S security redirects, SHA-1 encryption redirects, device fingerprint and data reconciliation.


Bots will continue to be a growing concern in market research as artificial intelligence continues to advance. By taking steps to mitigate the risks associated with bot usage, companies can ensure that their market research data is accurate, reliable, and ethical.

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