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How Incidence Rate tests help researchers find the right participants

Emma Lawson

Emma Lawson


Global Recruitment Manager at Liveminds. You can usually find me reading a book (or three) or perfecting my recipe for salted caramel brownies. I’m a sucker for a good board game and am happiest socialising with friends, either around the dinner table or down at the pub.

When researchers send us a recruitment brief, one of the first things we do is work out the number of people who would qualify for it. The Incidence Rate (the number of people who qualify vs those that don’t) tells us a lot about how hard (or easy) it is to recruit a specific audience.

For example, let’s say you want to target women over the age of 30 who live in New York and drink Cosmopolitans at least once a week. Should be easy, right? Turns out, gone are the days of Sex and the City. New studies reveal that people are getting tired of drinking and sober bars are cropping up all over New York City. Although odds are you’ll always be able to find a group of friends sharing a Cosmo on a Saturday night, this example illustrates that sometimes the “no-brainer” studies might be more difficult to recruit for than expected, resulting in more work gathering completes and ultimately a higher cost.

How IR tests help researchers

When researchers ask for Behavioural Recruitment costings we carry out an Incidence Rate test to check that we’ll be able to find the right people for the project and how much it will cost to do so.

We run IR tests overnight and have data back within 24 hours. This allows us to provide data-driven costings and ensures we’re able to help researchers set realistic expectations for their clients on whether the people they’re trying to find are available.

How we test IR

Behavioural Recruitment is radically different to traditional participant recruitment methods - we don’t use databases - we search 2 billion profiles worldwide to recruit truly representative participants for every project. Incidence Rate tests give us a better understanding of the numbers of qualifying participants amongst the hyper-targeted audience on social networks.

We use social networks to place sponsored posts in the News Feed of anyone whose demographics, interests and behaviours match the project’s criteria. In the adverts we tell people how long the project will take, how it will be conducted and what the reward will be.

If people see the advert and want to get involved, they click through and take a short screener survey to check that they definitely qualify to take part in the project. This allows us to find truly representative participants for any kind of research.

How does this affect research costs?

Incidence Rate tests help us work out the unknowns within a scope. These are unknowns that cannot be immediately established by social networks’ hyper-targeting options (or any public data). For example, we can immediately assess the number of accessible Hip Hop fans in London under the age of 25 who are fans of Beats headphones but we would need to do further investigation to find out the number of those fans who purchased them in the past six months (X). People who own X, plan to do X in the near future or recently purchased X. Incidence Rate tests help us to target that X and see how many people truly qualify within that unknown.

IR tests are based on real, live data so we're able to tell researchers, in advance of a project starting, if it would be either impossible or too expensive to find the exact type of person they want. If we know those people can't be found for a reasonable cost, we can make suggestions of how to adapt the scope to fit.

So don’t get caught out. By providing us with all the relevant information about your research goals, we can establish the IR for your project and provide accurate costs based on real data before you create your proposal. This will save you time and money, and curtail any unexpected surprises down the road (carrot and ginger mocktail anyone?).

Download Behavioural Recruitment case studies to explore the advantages of the method, discover how it works step-by-step and learn how top agencies are using the method.

Download Behavioural Recruitment case studies

See how top agencies are using Behavioural Recruitment in practical qual and quant case studies and learn how it works step-by-step.

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