28 Questions to Help Buyers of Online Samples
Click each question to see Market Cube’s answers.
1: What experience does your company have in providing online samples for market research?
Market Cube started its online sample operations in 2009 and is currently supporting some of the biggest names in the market research arena. Headquartered in the United States, with offices in London and India, the Market Cube team is diverse and accomplished. Hailing from some of the most prominent companies in the industry, our principals bring over four decades of experience to the company. Together, our entire Market Cube team brings a wealth of knowledge and collective expertise in custom market research, online panel development, sample delivery, and research technology.
2: Please describe and explain the type(s) of online sample sources from which you get respondents. Are these databases? Actively managed research panels? Direct marketing lists? Social networks? Web intercept (also known as river) samples?
We currently own and operate the Univox Community. This panel is actively managed with an individual-level compensation model. We also have access to a vast network of social media and publisher respondents that can be utilized to supplement our internal assets. Additionally, we have developed close relationships with a variety of panel companies with whom we can partner on difficult-to-reach subpopulations. These strategic partnerships allow us to leverage relevant lists, databases, and networks to fulfill specific client requirements.
3: If you provide samples from more than one source: How are the different sample sources blended together to ensure validity? How can this be replicated over time to provide reliability? How do you deal with the possibility of duplication of respondents across sources?
With a state-of-the-art project management system, we can blend our databases as well as leverage outside sample sources with seamless integration. We utilize TrueSample® and Relevant ID® digital fingerprinting technology to identify potentially fraudulent respondents based on real-time information. This technology is automatically applied to every respondent before entering a survey and allows us to de-dupe respondents across multiple databases and traffic sources. We are also diligent in adhering to a fraud score system to ensure that our panels are producing reliable results.
4: Are your sample source(s) used solely for market research? If not, what other purposes are they used for?
Our panelists and other respondents are used solely for market research purposes.
5: How do you source groups that may be hard to reach on the Internet?
Our diversified recruiting techniques, employed through the Univox community, increase the probability of connecting with broader, more difficult to reach profiles. In the event that we are not able to reach specific profile groups through live intercept surveys and affiliate networks, we also utilize samples from telephone recruited third-party verified databases and phone-to-web recruitment.
6: If, on a particular project, you need to supplement your sample(s) with sample(s) from other providers, how do you select those partners? Is it your policy to notify a client in advance when using a third-party provider?
We select our partners based on quality, cost, and past experience. The respondent quality measures included within our internal project management system help us identify those sources that consistently provide valid respondents and quality data. Our system ensures that overlap across sample sources is minimal. In addition, we believe in a transparent and collaborative approach, giving our clients visibility and ownership throughout the process.
7: What steps do you take to achieve a representative sample of the target population?
Depending on the target population, we can balance sample invitations on the outgo to ensure those panelists who respond to a given survey mirror the target population on key demographics. Because our clients typically utilize quota sampling, we are able to use those quotas to guide our sampling process as well.
8: Do you employ a survey router?
We utilize a survey router system that allows us to pull sample from a variety of sources, depending on client needs. We work with our clients to determine the sample sources and the level of routing that they feel will be most appropriate and effective for each project.
9: If you use a router: Please describe the allocation process within your router. How do you decide which surveys might be considered for a respondent? On what priority basis are respondents allocated to surveys?
Our router system gives us control over sample provisioning. This system provides the choice to include only proprietary sample from Market Cube, or available routed sample from a variety of sources. Additionally, we can set priority levels for individual surveys when a project is difficult or time-sensitive.
10: If you use a router: What measures do you take to guard against or mitigate, any bias arising from employing a router? How do you measure and report any bias?
Our router technology is robust in its ability to balance sample. We continually monitor the results and take steps to address any issues that might arise. For instance, we apply two algorithms in a round robin fashion so that there is no single path that respondents follow.
11: If you use a router: Who in your company sets the parameters of the router? Is it a dedicated team or individual project managers?
Our routing system allows us to set parameters at the system level. Individual project managers cannot affect priority. Because our system saves the parameters of every project, we can easily and systematically reproduce sample specifications across multiple projects.
12: What profiling data is held on respondents? How is it done? How does this differ across sample sources? How is it kept up-todate? If no relevant profiling data is held, how are low incidence projects dealt with?
We have hundreds of profiling data points on our panelists including, basic demographic data, business and workplace characteristics, product ownership, media consumption, shopping preferences, and health. Panelists can update their profiling information at any time and we incentivize them to do so at regular intervals.
13: Please describe your survey invitation process. What is the proposition that people are offered to take part in individual surveys? What information about the project itself is given in the process? Apart from direct invitations to specific surveys (or to a router), what other means of invitation to surveys are respondents exposed to? You should note that not all invitations to participate take the form of emails.
Our email invitations typically include information about the survey length and the reward level associated with completing that survey. For highly targeted samples, we may include information about the general subject matter to pique member interest. In most cases, however, we simply refer to the survey in very generic terms (e.g., “New Survey”).
14: Please describe the incentives that respondents are offered for taking part in your surveys. How does this differ by sample source, by interview length, by respondent characteristics?
Our panelists are rewarded on a points-based system where those points are redeemable for a $25 Amazon online gift code or a Pre-funded Credit Card redeemable online or at retail. The primary determinant for rewarding points is the length of the interview. We increase the number of points for B2B and low-incidence groups in order to improve response rates and representation.
15: What information about a project do you need in order to give an accurate estimate of feasibility using your own resources?
At a minimum, we require the interview length, expected overall incidence rate, total number of completes desired, and the target population. Providing details on specific screening criteria and incidence rates, where applicable within any sub-quotas, will further increase our ability to provide accurate costs and feasibility estimates.
16: Do you measure respondent satisfaction? Is this information made available to clients?
We measure respondent satisfaction on select surveys. This information is available to clients upon request.
17: What information do you provide to debrief your client after the project has finished?
We provide our clients with reports that detail the total number of invitations sent, response rates, completion percentages, and actual incidence rates. Other information, including demographic data, is available upon request.
18: Who is responsible for data quality checks? If it is you, do you have in place procedures to reduce or eliminate undesired within survey behaviors, such as (a) random responding, (b) Illogical or inconsistent responding, (c) overuse of item non-response (e.g., “Don’t Know”) or (d) speeding (too rapid survey completion)? Please describe these procedures.
Because we rarely have access to the details of our client surveys, we are limited to the information our clients share. However, because respondents start and end each survey through our panel landing pages, we are able to monitor how long a respondent spends taking the survey in real time. Those respondents who are flagged as “speeders” are removed from the completes for the survey. Aside from our ability to track speeders, we rely on clients to identify other undesirable or fraudulent behavior. If such behavior is identified and reported to us, these respondents are flagged in our system and we offer replacement completes. Panelists with more than one infraction are permanently removed from our database.
19: How often can the same individual be contacted to take part in a survey within a specified period, whether they respond to the contact or not? How does this vary across your sample sources?
On average, our panelists receive two to three invitations per week. However, that number can vary based on profile characteristics and our survey inventory.
Respondents from social networks and other sources are presented with survey opportunities as they become available.
20: How often can the same individual take part in a survey within a specified period? How does this vary across your sample sources? How do you manage this within categories and/or time periods?
We currently do not have any strict limits on general survey participation. However, we are able to apply limits on a per-project basis. We also have the capability to exclude respondents based on overall completions, and within specific industry categories, over a given time period.
21: Do you maintain individual-level data such as recent participation history, date of entry, source, etc. on your survey respondents? Are you able to supply your client with a project analysis of such individual level data?
We maintain complete, historical data on all of our panelists including recruitment source, panel sign-up date, and survey participation, as well as incentive redemption records. We can provide nonpersonally identifiable information upon client request.
22: Do you measure respondent satisfaction? Is this information made available to clients?
We have technologies in place at multiple phases to identify fraudulent respondents. At registration, we employ a proprietary algorithm based on IP checking and additional machinelevel information that provides a fraud score we can use to screen out suspicious applicants. We also employ Distil Networks to detect and remove bot traffic before the join page is accessed.
Once a respondent joins our panel, we maintain a Quality Score for every respondent. This scoring algorithm is based on multiple factors including survey-taking frequency, response patterns, number of screen-outs on demographic questions, and surges in activity during a certain time period. When a panelist does not meet our minimum threshold for the Quality Score, they are removed from the database.
At the survey level, we utilize Relevant ID® and TrueSample® technology to identify potentially fraudulent respondents based on their real-time information, overall response behavior and comprehensive fraud score.
23: Please describe the ‘opt-in for market research’ processes for all your online sample sources.
We employ both single and double opt-in procedures for panel recruitment. The type of opt-in varies by recruitment source. All respondents are able to opt- out of a panel at any time through multiple channels.
Our privacy statement is available to all potential and current members through our website: http://www.univoxcommunity.com/Page/PrivacyStatement
25: Please describe the measures you take to ensure data protection and data security.
Our system is based on the .NET platform that provides a large number of built-in data security technologies. Beyond this, all of our respondentlevel identifiers are encrypted to ensure no stored personal data is available during the data collection process. In addition, our network and databases are accessible only through encrypted, password protected security keys and logins.
26: What practices do you follow to decide whether online research should be used to present commercially-sensitive client data or materials to survey respondents?
We require a confidentiality agreement from all respondents that states they will not discuss, copy, or sell any information gained as a result of their participation in the survey. Ultimately, the client is responsible for confidentiality measures for content within the survey.
27: Are you certified to any specific quality system? If so, which one(s)?
At this time, we do not hold any particular quality certifications, however, we are in compliance with the standards and ethics of all major marketing and opinion research organizations.
28: Do you conduct online surveys with children and young people? If so, do you adhere to the standards that ESOMAR provides? What other rules or standards, for example COPPA in the United States, do you comply with?
While the vast majority of our surveys are conducted among adults, we have also supplied children and/or teen respondents. In these cases, we adhere to both the ICC/ESOMAR International Code and the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA).
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