As I reflect on the anniversary of the launch of the Offerwise Hispanic panel, I’m humbled by the rapid success we’ve enjoyed, and excited about what I see as the still untapped potential of online research with US Hispanics, particularly this product. I think both the time and occasion are right, to say (again): we as an industry need to raise the bar for online Hispanic research.
The Hispanic segment is one that’s challenged the online research industry since its inception. In cases where this hugely complex demographic was addressed either independently or as part of a nationally representative audience from an online panel, researchers have struggled both knowingly and unknowingly to provide clients with insights from less acculturated Hispanics.
Since the launch of the panel last year, we’ve been thrilled to recruit over 150,000 US Hispanic members. However, what I continue to be most excited about is that of those 150,000 panelists, fully 79% are Spanish-speaking, and over 25% of the panel is classified as un-acculturated.
When we began this project, in addition to collecting general consumer demographics and myriad purchase behavior attributes, we worked with a fantastic team of researchers to build an acculturation model which factors in not only language dominance, but weights media usage, cultural identification, and the number of years an individual has lived in the US, to know whose opinions we were representing with the panel as a whole, as well as the individual panelist.
At the time, a huge amount of the Hispanic survey research making its way ‘out of malls’, ‘off the phone’ and onto the web via online panels, required only that some percentage of respondents be able to read and answer the questionnaire in Spanish. If a respondent could check the proverbial box, they were “close enough,” and to talk about a higher standard for representative research with Hispanics was a risk that would invite increased scrutiny.
While we undertook building both the acculturation framework and the product itself with a strong hypothesis that creating the industry’s first scalable, acculturation-balanced Hispanic panel was finally within reach, by virtue of an innovative user-recruitment process, it’s been extremely rewarding to see that come to fruition week by week, and month by month.
Over the last year, we’ve successfully completed over 500 Hispanic-only projects, with sample sizes ranging from 150 completes to over 5000. That the majority of these projects called for precise balancing on acculturation level, country of origin and other key cultural measures, is a testament by those researchers to the concept that Hispanics can be reached online in a representative fashion, and that the research results are accurate and reliable enough to merit deep study of each sub-segment.
Looking forward, our intent is to feverishly continue the growth of this resource in order to serve as a medium for all researchers to rapidly capture and analyze the insights and opinions of all US Hispanics. In addition to growing the resource, we will continue to address skepticism over the accuracy and reliability of online survey research with Hispanics, especially by raising the bar for how the research industry defines a “representative” sample with this segment.
I urge marketers and researchers who are currently not employing online methods when researching Hispanics, or those surveying Hispanics without consideration for acculturation, to reach out for a healthy discussion on where your research is coming up short, and what you stand to gain by becoming a more demanding, discerning buyer of Hispanic research data from our panel.