As a researcher who has worked in the sample industry for over a decade, I was surprised that I had never asked myself the question, “why do people take online surveys?” It’s a practice that we just kind of take for granted in our industry. Researchers often assume that the primary driver is incentives, as every panel gives some sort of incentive to panelists to encourage participation. But because the incentives are small, there must be a more fundamental reason people take the time to check a few boxes.
From my experience building Hispanic panels, I know certain incentive structures work better with certain cohorts of Hispanics. So, I hypothesized that this must hold true across multicultural populations.
One of the perks of being a researcher with access to panels is that we can answer questions we are curious about! So, we surveyed a representative sample of 1,250; 500 Hispanics, 250 Whites, 250 African-Americans, and 250 Asians asking one simple question:
What would you say is the main reason why you take online surveys? Please select one.
It turns out, incentives top the list across all groups:
Over 30% of respondents in each group stated that “I like to earn points/money” as their primary driver for participating in online surveys. However, it is worth noting that Asians were statistically more likely than other groups to state this sentiment (42%).
The second factor impacting online survey participation (“I enjoy taking surveys”) ranks second for both Hispanics and Whites at 20%:
It is worth noting that “I enjoy taking surveys” is also the second most noted reason why African-Americans take online surveys, however at a significantly lower rate than Hispanics and Whites.
“I feel that my opinions can make a difference” takes a very close third for African-American respondents:
While slightly more Hispanic than African-American respondents noted that the main reason they take surveys is that they feel that their opinions can make a difference, this sentiment came in third overall for Hispanics.
As U.S. demographics become more multicultural, the need for brands to understand perhaps one of the most diverse consumer populations in U.S. history will grow. This creates a tremendous opportunity for research and insights providers. We’ve seen that play out as the demand for Hispanic, African-American, and Asian sample has steadily grown for the past decade. Yet, few companies have taken up the challenge of impaneling these groups in a meaningful way.
So, use this study to make an argument for your multicultural panel’s growing needs. Keep these three insights in mind if you plan to up your panel game in 2018.