5 Factors to Consider Before You Join an Online Panel

Joining an online market research panel to take surveys can be a great way to learn about new products and services and it can provide an opportunity for you to express your opinions in exchange for a reward or incentive. There are many panels to choose from so it can be difficult to find the right online community to join. If you are interested in joining an online panel to take surveys, here are the top 5 things you should consider before signing up:


Not all online survey market research panels are legitimate. It’s important to do some research before joining one. It’s a good sign if there is a verification process to help ensure you are who you say you are. Check to see if there is a FAQ page for your review. If a panel company has answers to questions you’re curious about all in one place, it’s a good sign that they’re legitimate. If you’re still not sure, search online to see if there are negative reviews about the panel.

Privacy Policy

Make sure the online panel you are considering has a clear privacy policy and takes steps to protect your personal information. Ensure that if you join a panel you will be able to take surveys anonymously and the panel company will not share personally identifiable information. Check their website to see if they have terms and conditions for your review. Usually, panel companies will have all of this information readily available because the market research industry has specific rules for data protection.

Survey Rewards

Be sure to understand how you will be compensated for participating in online surveys. Some panels offer cash rewards, gift cards, or other incentives, while others may offer sweepstakes entries or other non-monetary rewards. Understand how you will receive rewards and what the process is. Legitimate online panel companies will have reward processing information on their website.

Learn about new Products and Services

Taking surveys online does more than help you influence products and services, taking surveys can also provide you with the opportunity to learn about new products and services before they are released to the general public. Market research companies rely on online panel companies to provide them with a pool of relevant survey takers to inform their decisions. You may take a survey about branding for a new kind of protein powder, and then a few months later see the product in stores. If you are a B2B decision maker, taking surveys can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry or interest area.

Frequency of Survey Invites

Some online panels send surveys more frequently than others, so be sure to understand how often you can expect to receive surveys. Using your demographic profile, panel companies send survey invites based on the targeting clients require for each project. Panel companies may focus on a few audiences or they may provide quantitative research companies with a wide variety of survey audiences depending on their reach. Subject matter varies each month. Filling out a complete demographic profile and keeping it up-to-date provides the best chance to receive numerous opportunities to take surveys.

Time Commitment

While surveys are generally short and can be completed quickly, participating in an online panel does require a time commitment. Make sure you have enough time to complete the surveys and participate in the panel as required. Typically, it should be easy to find the time to take surveys because you can take them from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Panel companies typically include the length of the survey in the invites they send out to panelists. When taking surveys, it’s important to take your time so you don’t rush through. If you take your time, you’ll be better able to answer questions accurately.

Overall, joining an online panel to take surveys can be a fun and rewarding experience if you take the time to research the panel, understand the rewards system, and commit to completing surveys regularly.