Targeting the Right Survey Audience

How to Find Your Survey Audience? Who Should You Target? Where Do You Find Them?

If you are developing a survey, you probably have an idea of what survey audience you want to reach, right? But with all of the options out there for reaching potential respondents, how do you target the right survey audience?

The Basics


Demographics simply put, is the study of a population based on age, sex, income level, employment, education, etc. You probably have a general sense of the age, gender, and location of the people you want to reach – you may even know the income ranges and education levels.

In many survey respondents and panels however, this information might not be readily known, or in the interest of best practice,needs to be confirmed.

There are other ways of targeting your audience as well – including psychographics (personality, values, lifestyles), behavioral attributes (loyalty, habits), firmographics (number of employees, functions), even technographics (attitudes toward technology, adoption rates).

So how do you reach them?

Advanced filtering

If you want to find a certain audience based on factors like their behaviors, opinions, or exposure to events, you can ask a Screening Question.

Screening questions help you reach the target audience that will meet your criteria. A screening question, when worded properly, will disqualify or weed-out those that won’t be able to provide you with information that is relevant to your research goals.
 Research Panels – Good, Bad, or ?

Research panels consist of people who agree in advance to participate in surveys. You can typically target them by demographic. The benefits of research panels are:

  • Convenience
  • High rate of response
  • Fast return on responses

The downsides:

Cost – Access to paid panelists has increased cost vs general random sampling.

Randomization – Respondents are not selected randomly; this may not be representative of the population. For example, if you want to test ad effectiveness,

Data quality can be compromised, as respondents are incentivized, and in the case of some services, may be completing many surveys – and become “trained” in taking surveys, thus skewing results. Conversely, they may be “speeding through” surveys which also compromises data quality – this is sometimes referred to as “survey fraud”.

Mobile Sampling

Surveying via mobile device – such as on Pollfish’s network – provides the benefits of scale, convenience, and fast response rates – while also saving on cost, providing high quality data, and access to a variety of sample populations that can help you to reach the target market you are seeking for your survey.

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