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Interview zur Qualität eines Online-Panels Interview zur Qualität eines Online-Panels
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Discussion about the quality of online panels

Interview with panel expert Julia Humm

Julia Humm (MSc in Psychology) is an expert in fieldwork management with experience in both academic social research and institutional market research. As Head of Services & Operations she is responsible for intervista’s online fieldwork and panel management. In an interview with Dino Demarchi, she explains how you can recognise a high-quality online access panel and the measures her team employs to continue to ensure the quality of the intervista online panel.

How did you become a panel manager? What attracted you to the job?

Julia Humm: As a psychologist, I am interested in people, their motives and behaviour. On the other hand, I have a great affinity for statistics and numbers. Maintaining and managing an online panel allows me to combine both interests.

Interview zur Qualität eines Online-Panels

Size and structure of the online panel

The intervista online panel now includes over 120,000 people in the B2C sector and 35,000 managers and executives in the B2B sector. Why are these figures important?

Julia: The size of the intervista online panel offers various advantages. We can conduct both population-representative studies and studies with specific target groups for our clients. The bigger a panel, the more “fresh sample” is available. This is crucial for wave studies or tracking studies, for example. Thanks to our large panel, we can guarantee a “fresh sample” over several waves before the same participants have to be invited again.

The panel size also allows us to realise sufficiently large sample sizes for very specific target groups with a low incidence. In addition, we do not have to invite our participants to surveys at too short intervals and “overuse” them.

Characteristics of a high-quality online panel

What other aspects characterize a good online panel?

Julia: There are various aspects that are important. In addition to a wide reach, an online panel should represent the population as representatively as possible. It’s important that all population groups are represented in the panel. A panel comprising only older people doesn’t allow any conclusions to be drawn about the population as a whole. We review the panel structure on an ongoing basis and also use our recruitment channels in a targeted manner to compensate for any imbalances.

Interview zur Qualität eines Online-Panels

B2C and B2B background information

What background information about the panelists is available?

Julia: When panelists register, they have to answer a comprehensive profile questionnaire. This master data is then regularly updated by our panelists. This provides us with more than 300 background variables such as socio-demographics, consumer characteristics, income, occupation, products used, interests and hobbies. In the B2B sector, these are characteristics such as industry, company size and responsibility within the company.

How are these background variables used?

Julia: With the background information, we can select people based on specific attributes and invite them to a particular survey. This allows us to address a very broad range of small, exclusive target groups, for example people with high net worth (so-called HNWI individuals), consumers of certain products or drivers of specific car brands.

We can also enrich the survey data with these background variables and thus provide our customers with even more information, for example for profiling their target groups.

Recruitment: Strategy and measures

You are responsible for recruitment at intervista. How does this impact the quality of an online panel?

Julia: Recruitment measures are one of the key factors to be able to ensure the panel has a representative structure. There is no self-registration for the intervista online panel. Registration is only possible if you have been selected for participation in the panel via one of our recruitment channels.

We want to represent the Swiss population as accurately as possible. This is why we deliberately recruit panelists from various sources, such as the the customer bases of large Swiss companies, as well as through postal invitations with individual registration links. If we were to use only one specific recruitment channel, this could lead to distortions that cannot be offset by quotas or weighting.

Quality management

How do you ensure the quality of the intervista online panel in the Online Fieldwork & Panel Team? What tools do you use?

Julia: We use various tools, including a Panelist Compliance Index. We observe the participation and response behaviour of the panelists and check the quality of their answers in all surveys. Among other things, we look at response patterns such as straight-lining, completion time and the quality of answers to open questions. The panelists are indexed based on their behavioural patterns so that we can exclude dubious participants from the panel.

In addition, we have both manual and automated processes for quality assurance, such as removing duplicates or cleaning up inactive panelists.

Quotation and weighting

Can specific measures also be taken during the fieldwork of individual studies to ensure that the results are hightly meaningful?

Julia: We always make sure that our random samples have a clean quota. These should be representative of the target group of the survey so that the results of the study are valid for the entire target group. Depending on the study design, we use disproportionately stratified samples or boosts to ensure that enough cases can be reached in the sub-target groups of interest. Such disproportionate distributions can then be equalised by weighting in the data preparation process.


Interview zur Qualität eines Online-Panels

intervista's Online Fieldwork & Panel team

Who supports you in your work? How do you divide your tasks?

Julia: Maintaining a high-quality online panel requires cooperation from various areas. Our Fieldwork and Panel Managers Bettina Müller and Yara Kreis take the lead in handling the fieldwork and maintaining our online panel. They manage field projects, select suitable samples, ensure the quality of the data collection and make sure that the interviews are realised on time.

In addition to them, many other people from different areas contribute to the quality of the panel: the Services & Operations Managers Joseph Müller and Lukas Krieg (Support), Martin Bättig, Daniel Schmid and Christoph Wüthrich (IT) as well as Felix Bernet and Beat Fischer (Strategy and Development).

Julia Humm intervista
Julia Humm
Do you have a question?

Get in touch with me. Feel free to call me or send me an e-mail message. I look forward to the dialogue with you!