Terhanian and Bremer

A smarter way to select respondents for surveys?

George Terhanian and John Bremer



Fifteen years ago, market researchers knew very little about online survey research. At the time, some were dabbling in the practice but nearly all interviews were still completed via telephone, paper and pencil or face to face. Today, researchers know much more about online research, and most interviews (specifically, those commissioned by US market research buyers) are completed online, with US spending expected to exceed $1.8 billion in 2012, or 43% of all survey research spending, and European spending expected to exceed €0.7 billion, or 13% of all survey research spending (Inside Research 2012a, 2012b). Part of the attractiveness of online research continues to lie in its low cost (see Duffy et al. 2005 for other reasons for its attractiveness). For instance, the cost today for a completed interview through an online omnibus survey can be as low as $2 in the US. In comparison, the cost for a completed interview through a telephone survey employing a dual frame (landline via random digit dialling and mobile phone via direct dialling) methodology can be at least five times higher.