How To Select A Target Audience For Your Online Survey

One of the most common issues we hear from Pollfish users is confusion over selecting the right target audience for their survey.

Selecting the right survey target audience is critical for market research success. Still, many rely on outdated methods to collect and target respondents.

Most market research companies use panelists—paid survey-takers incentivized to complete surveys for cash or airline points.

These panelists open data up to host of issues. Survey takers may experience unconscious bias and fatigue from taking, or rushing to complete, multiple surveys.

This bias can skew results and lower data quality, especially when using smaller, more narrowly-targeted audiences.

We don’t have these issues with panelists, because our survey methodology doesn’t use them to complete surveys.

Real insights come from real consumers.

Pollfish is the brainchild of app developers who have built a massive, world-wide survey audience of engaged, mobile consumer respondents from over 160 countries.

Instead of panelists, we randomize the distribution of your survey to over 550 million mobile app users that fit your exact targeting criteria in exchange for a non-cash incentive set by our app publisher partners. These can include anything from extra points in a game they are playing, to unlocking premium content from a news app.

The result is a survey experience that is seamless and non-disruptive to the user. They can opt-out at any time and continue using the app without issue.

If they do decide to cruise through the survey without reading or answer questions with responses that raise red flags, we remove them using our proprietary AI-based fraud protection.

And the best part is, because Pollfish grants you a direct line from your questions to the mobile phones of your most engaged customers, you don’t have to wait around for your survey provider. Just build your target audience, enter your questions and get results back quickly.

Selecting a Sample Size

Before we dive in, there are a few key questions you’ll want to answer. If you aren’t sure, Pollfish has several handy tools that can help you along:

    1. What is your population size? Determine the entire set of people you want to understand. For example, if you wanted a random sample of students in a high school, your population size would be the total number of students attending that high school.
    1. What is your margin of error? An acceptable margin of error used by most survey researchers typically falls between 4% and 8% at the 95% confidence level. It is affected by sample size, population size, and percentage. Calculate margin of error.
  1. What is your confidence level? This measures how certain you are that your sample accurately reflects your population of interest. A 95% confidence level is most commonly used. Calculate sample size.

Sample Size and the Disappearing Rate of Return

Your sample aims to provide a statistically accurate representation of the larger population so that assumptions can be made about that population based on the sample. The key to choosing the correct sample size is reaching enough respondents for statistical accuracy and a lower margin of error. Typically a larger sample size will deliver a lower margin of error up to a certain point.

The graph below shows where the relationship between margin of error and sample size turns into a  diminishing rate of return.

Our Targeting page will help you by suggesting an increased number of responses if your sample size appears to be too low. Generally speaking, you should include a minimum of 400 responses to attain statistical accuracy.

In addition, our Targeting Tool will immediately show valuable information like total cost and estimated completion time to help you understand the full scope of your survey project.

Hit The Target

Once your sample size has been set, our targeting criteria makes it easy to narrowly define your ideal target audience.

Use a selection of targeting parameters to define the ages and gender of your target audience.

We also offer quotas if you are looking to reach a specific distribution surveys.

Our demographic and geolocation factors make it easy to be even more selective, allowing you to choose from over 160 countries, all the way down to radius of the respondent in many cases.

Our demographic criteria includes race, household income, occupation, marital status and more.

Additionally, we are the only platform that is able to target on mobile usage, as well as their carrier, OS Platform, or even which apps they may have installed on their devices.

To target users based on behavior, use our Screening Question feature. We offer up to 2 screening questions, so you can disqualify any respondents who aren’t meeting your exact population of interest.

Screening questions help determine:

  • Who might be shopping with a competitor
  • The frequency at which they perform a specific activity
  • Other important behavioral questions for the most niche audience selection.

We’ve Got Your Back

Remember, Pollfish offers 24/7 service and support. Just visit and chat with our CX team today. They can guide you through setting up your survey, defining your perfect target audience, and getting your launching your survey today.

Want to check out Pollfish for yourself? Register now so you can enter the necessary info, check out our targeting criteria, and even share sample results.