written by Daniel Somerset
The US has seen a steady increase of not only households with pets but also the amount of money spent on these companions. While sources vary on the exact growth, the bottom line is ownership and costs are going up. These family members bring joy and happiness to young and old alike but unfortunately, canines and felines especially, have been responsible for turning the latest tech toys into their personal chew toys.
Maybe they catch a scent they like or are simply trying to update their Facebook status – regardless of their intentions – pets sometimes inflict damage beyond repair. SquareTrade Inc., using SSI sample, surveyed 1,200 Americans. The results showed that nearly 20% of dog and cat owners have had a device damaged by a pet and that number increases for people who sleep with their phones. Dogs are twice as likely as cats to damage a device and males are 50% more likely than females.
What’s your strategy for protecting your valuable laptops, tablets, and smartphones? More toys and walks for your four-legged friends? Purchasing device specific insurance in case of an accident? Or naively believing it won’t happen to you?
Visual learners make up 65% of the world’s population. Does our new infograph help you picture our massive reach?
Click to get a full size PDF
written by Rosie Greening
Yes, it is November; I am now allowed to mention Christmas and the holiday season. So, it is getting to that time of year where studies are starting to look like they might run precariously close to Christmas and clients are starting to ask about the best course of action.
There are many questions which are asked: What happens to response rates? Who answers surveys on Christmas anyway? The short answer to that is: The same people who answer surveys the rest of the year. Our sample, or the internet population for that matter, does not magically change just because Santa Claus is due a visit. However, as with any holiday where businesses close for a time, response rates will be affected a little, just by the nature of holidays and the change from routine this brings. The general rule should be as with any other public holidays, to remember that chances are people will be out enjoying themselves, with their families and probably not at a computer all day (except if you are my manager from a past working life who was working on the next year’s sales figures on Christmas day – each to their own!).
The bigger concern for researchers I think should be their own working hours. Our system does not know it is Christmas and will carry on running regardless, and excluding the public holidays we will be open. The question is, will you be working, and will your clients be working? If you will not be available to answer questions on quotas and data, then it might be best to schedule Data Delivery/project close for when you are back in the office.
written by Ed Carroll
Over the past few years, sample companies have been slowly calibrating their non-traditional panel sourcing strategies… The big questions I have been receiving on this topic revolve around a very simple question: Why?
- Do people not want to join traditional panels anymore?
- Are traditional panels more expensive to manage than non-traditional panel sources? (this is a popular preconceived notion from the days when providers introduced “River” sample)
- Is it a representation issue?
- How can I feel comfortable that if you do move to non-traditional panel sources, my sample will remain consistent? (more held over concerns from the “River” days)
At the end of the day… all great questions and how your sample provider answers them, in my opinion, is critical.
In an effort to be transparent and honest, I have provided answers to the questions above from SSI’s perspective.
*I have definitely been accused of being a little too transparent in the past, but in my opinion, I feel it is important. No one becomes successful off one job in this business… long term relationships are paramount
1. Do people not want to join traditional panels anymore?
Some do, some don’t. Since 1999 when online panels became big in the market, there have been a lot of new “interactive” options introduced in the online space. Surveys once were one of the only interactive activities out there. Naturally, since more options have been introduced, the amount of people willing to join traditional panel environments has shrunk. As we all know, depending on the target audience, this can really be an issue.
2. Are traditional panels more expensive to manage than non-traditional panel sources and are sample companies just doing this for their own benefit?
No, in fact… in most situations having non-traditional panel sources is more expensive than managing traditional panels. Of course, this will vary depending upon a company’s business model… but for the most part, non-traditional panel sources are more costly to a sample company.
3. Is it a representation issue?
Yes, definitely. Respondent descriptors must go beyond traditional “demographic and geographic” information in this day and age. The importance of balancing on “types” or “personality traits” is incredibly important to ensure proper representation across a defined target or geography. Reaching out to non-traditional panel sources is the only way to achieve this type of balance.
4. How can I feel comfortable that if you do move to non-traditional panel sources, my sample will remain consistent? (more held over concerns from the “River” days)
In my opinion, this is the most important question of them all. Knowing that communication continues to evolve in the online space, the companies that have a combination of sophisticated technology and a sound methodology for creating source blends will be the strongest long term partners. People change, trends shift and new types of communication emerge… it is exciting and what makes our world fun. Having a solution in place that will allow you to embrace the change, leverage new communication channels while ensuring quality is the key to consistent, reliable… relevant data.
Are these the types of questions you are getting from your clients?
More than a quarter of people now own multiple cell phones, with smartphones dominant and iPhones the preferred brand.
An overwhelming 95% of people around the world now own cell phones, according to a nine-country study by SSI. Hong Kong (99%), China (98%) and Sweden (98%) have the highest cell phone ownership rates, while the US (89%) has the lowest. Findings show that, among cell phone owners, 42% currently have Smartphones—and 58% are planning to make their next cell phone a Smartphone.
The highest rates of Smartphone ownership are in China (68%) and Hong Kong (57%), while Japan (16%) and Sweden (33%) fall at the opposite end of the spectrum. Those countries that are lagging are likely to catch up soon, however, with almost half of respondents in Japan and Sweden intending to make their next cell phone a Smartphone.
Of those planning to buy Smartphones, Apple iPhones are the preferred brand. If money were no object, almost a third of respondents globally say they would prefer an Apple iPhone. Samsung (12%), Nokia (10%), Sony Ericsson (8%) and Blackberry (7%) round out the top-5 preferred brands.
“Soaring cell phone ownership has a significant impact on researchers doing telephone studies,” says Jessica Smith, Vice President, Offline Services for SSI. “Adding to the complexity is the rise of cell-phone only households—almost a third now in the US—as well as the 28% of consumers globally with multiple cell phones. Researchers who omit cell phones from their samples will find critical gaps in coverage—particularly among younger, ethnic and lower income households. To ensure accuracy, researchers need to work with partners who can effectively integrate cell-phone and landline access.”
*SSI’s findings are based on a study of 4500+ adults on its online panels. Countries covered include the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, China, Hong Kong and Sweden
written by Jackie Lorch
On yesterday’s blog we discussed four key characteristics that define quality sample. In the next few days, we’ll look at some other key quality drivers.
The time tradeoff is a key quality driver because sample methodology can be complicated and there are multiple decisions to be made when constructing the right sample for a specific project. No sample represents the universe perfectly. In striving for the greatest representativeness, there are tradeoffs to make in terms of cost, time and accuracy.
The time tradeoff is one that’s most often overlooked in our deadline-driven world. Sometimes a difficult project can be brought in under budget, if just a few more days are allowed to find the right participants. To support the best decisions, it’s important that we discuss tradeoffs, benefits and risks fully with our clients. In an age of quick judgments and DIY everything, there’s value in taking the time to understand the impact of our sampling choices. We have clear evidence that even small, subtle changes can significantly affect the quality of our data.
written by Jessica Smith
In the last few posts, we’ve talked about the importance of including cell phones in a high quality representative telephone sample. But what are the cost implications of doing so?
In the US, cell phone interviews are–more expensive than landline, and there are a number of reasons for this:
- Cell phone numbers must be hand dialed, not autodialed
- Telephone research conducted using a landline phone typically does not offer the respondent an incentive. With cell phone surveys, it may be necessary to offer the respondent an incentive to help compensate them for their out-of-pocket costs for the call. When thinking about reward costs, you have to consider not just the reward itself, but the cost of administration and rewards delivery.
- A cell phone sample can’t be “screened” ahead of time for non-working and business numbers, so these must be handled by interviewers in field. And even when they do successfully connect there’s a much greater likelihood that an interviewer will reach a child when dialing a cell phone number
- Cell-phone only households, as we’ve seen, are more prevalent in minority communities, so there may be a greater need for multilingual interviewers
- Cell phone numbers don’t accurately describe a person’s geographic location as most landline phone numbers do, so more people will be ineligible due to their geography than is the case when dialing landline numbers
- Since we can’t be as confident of someone’s “real” location when dialing their number, fielding hours in countries with more than one time zone need to be shorter to avoid dialing at inappropriate times
All these factors and others, contribute to a cell phone completed interview cost which is two to three times higher than a landline interview. But the overall project cost may not be that different because the percent of interviews completed using a cell phone sample is relatively small. Researchers need a methodology which meets representativity and coverage goals, but is as economical as possible. Tomorrow’s post, the final in this series, describes two effective and efficient methods for incorporating cell phones into your sample.