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Online panels are becoming a vital market research tool in the Central/South Americas and other regions, while simultaneously the concept of a market research panel is morphing throughout the world. Many of the new methodologies and technologies – mobile devices, social media, big data – along with the entrance of Internet titans such as Google and Facebook and tightening budgets in the wake of a global recession, have hit the panel industry hard. As a consequence, many researchers are launching panels at a time when the industry is facing some of its greatest challenges.
Certainly many panels continue to thrive, but others are clearly experiencing difficulty. Enterprise panels, specialty panels, consumer, and B2B are each experiencing common challenges but are faring differently. As panels and communities morph with common attributes, and further merge with sample exchanges and routers, the question of whether or not the panelist experience remains relevant is a key consideration. This session will review some of the techniques and strategies that today’s ever-growing number of online panels and communities are employing to manage the changes that are confronting them, and it will also address the opportunities for transformation and innovation that are available to the industry. Beginning from a technology base, recruitment modes, incentive models, support requirements, implications of exchanges, and use of social media and qualitative elements will be discussed.