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The Benefits of SMS Surveys vs. Panel Surveys

SMS Surveys – surveys conducted through text message – are quickly becoming a must-have for businesses looking to conduct the most effective market research possible. But how, exactly, does a survey by text message perform in comparison to panels?

This is one of the most frequent questions market researchers are asking when first considering to conduct a survey through SMS. That’s why our team at Precision Opinion undertook a massive market research analysis, determining the differences in performance between SMS and panel surveys.

In 2020, Precision Opinion released two sample databases, one through SMS and another through panel, and identified several key insights in the comparison:

  • The SMS survey reached a more accurate sample.
  • The SMS survey was able to reach smaller markets with higher accuracy.
  • The SMS survey delivered more responses overall.
  • The SMS survey performed faster.
  • The SMS survey had a lower overall cost.
  • The SMS survey revealed results that were more indicative to the audience.

Want to read the full results of our SMS market research survey? Click here to download the report.

Based on our findings, we wanted to share in greater detail into why the SMS survey performed so much stronger than the panel results. 

SMS surveys reach a more accurate sample.

Through research on myriad SMS survey studies, we know that a text message survey reaches more accurate samples today than panels. That’s because, in the modern market research world, audiences are more likely to engage with web-based applications – from survey software to social media – through mobile devices than computers or similar mediums.

Text messages, being more native to these platforms than other recruitment methods like email, create a more ‘normal’ survey solicitation experience for potential participants. Likewise, most audiences use text messages to communicate more than email, increasing their comfort level when asked to click a survey link via text.

The result is a significantly higher probability that more representatives from the total population will participate in the survey.

SMS surveys reach smaller markets.

In our SMS text survey research study, we also learned that smaller audience segments were able to be reached at a much higher frequency compared to panels. This was true when trying to learn about a variety of small-population audiences, including:

  • Areas with low population.
  • Hyper-targeted areas.
  • Extremely niche audiences.
  • Smaller markets that were underserved by panels.

More than 81% of the U.S. population regularly uses text messaging in their normal days. Thanks to this extremely high usage, our research demonstrated that a survey by text message was much more likely to appear on the radar of the exact audience we were trying to reach compared to traditional panel methodologies.

SMS surveys deliver more responses overall.

Often, survey research projects require the collection of any and all responses available, which can seriously impact statistical significance as a result. For this reason, researchers are regularly encouraged to collect as many relevant responses as possible in their research strategies. This is an area in which a text message survey drastically outperforms panels.

Through the aforementioned high SMS usage rates among nearly all U.S. audiences, respondents opt-in to an SMS text survey at a much higher rate than panel recruitment methods.

In fact, in our study of smaller population market research, panels were unable to meet our respondent quota, a challenge that was never encountered through the SMS research survey.

Bottom line, when attempting to gather as many responses as possible from an audience, a text message survey is one of the most effective methodologies available.

SMS surveys are faster.

Surveys conducted through SMS survey software distribute survey participation links instantly through peer to peer texting methods. This means that nearly everyone that researchers want to reach are contacted at once, on a device they’re likely to have in their hands almost all the time.

The result is a tremendously faster methodology for reaching a survey quota compared to panels. In fact, in our SMS research survey study, every text message survey quota we set for the various projects was met in less than 7 hours!

Need to conduct surveys even faster? Click here to contact our team about SMS surveys. 

SMS surveys cost less.

A survey via SMS has a different cost methodology compared to panels, and the result is often major cost-savings for businesses conducting research.

Using Precision Opinion’s SMS survey software, researchers are charged for the text messages sent, rather than by the traditional per-respondent pricing most businesses know.

Taking into account the extremely high response rate of text message surveys, the result is a hugely cost-effective methodology for reaching survey audiences at scale.

SMS surveys are more indicative of the total population.

When the data from SMS surveys and panel surveys was compared, one of the most striking results was that the text message survey respondents were much more representative of the total population.

We already know that audiences are more likely to participate in text message survey recruitment than email, and one of the major quantifiable results was that the text message respondents closer matched the U.S. Census data results of the chosen audiences.

One of the major critiques of panel survey participation is that the methodology targets only a certain type of individual, rather than the population as a whole. As the goal of market research surveys is to learn about the total population – as opposed to just those most inclined to take surveys – SMS clearly presents a more beneficial opportunity for businesses looking to conduct audience research.

Is a text message survey the better option for your research project?

For as long as businesses have been conducting market research, the methodologies used to reach and learn about their audiences have constantly been evolving.

Today, we know that nearly every person a business wants to connect with is using text messages in their daily lives. As a result, conducting a survey through an SMS survey platform is the next, logical methodology to reach the right audience for almost every research need.

Could your business benefit from the unique insights only available through a text message survey? Find out by scheduling a free consultation with the Precision Opinion team! 

Want to read the full results of Precision Opinion’s SMS Survey and Panel Survey comparison study? Click here.