The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
I’ve been a member of Ipsos Access Panels (which I’ll refer to as Ipsos from here on in) since before 2006 and thought it might be useful to share my experiences of the site with potential and existing members.
WHAT IS IT?
Ipsos claims to be the leading provider in Europe of market research surveys using access panels. Access panels being members of the public who fill in online surveys. Ipsos Access Panels are part of the Ipsos Group which was founded in 1975 and listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in July 1999. I’m fairly sure you don’t want to read all about the company’s history, so moving swiftly on...
HOW TO JOIN
Contrary to what has been written elsewhere you CAN’T join Ipsos by just going to the website. You need to be sent a personalised invitation to join the panel or join by clicking through from banners on websites that Ipsos have targeted. Once you have been confirmed as a member (which is done via email) you will be issued with a panelist ID which is a unique 8 digit number and you can choose your own password (of 4 characters which is rather strange I find – passwords on many sites are generally at least 6 characters in length). The 8 digit panelist ID is so that your answers are completely anonymous and fair.
You can also receive surveys for family members you live with and I sometimes get surveys for my husband to complete - which he's not really very keen on as he would prefer to spend as little time in front of a computer as possible - so more often than not the ones for hubby don't get completed.
Ipsos is a blue website – by that I mean the graphics in general are blue on a white background. Very easy on the eye and the screens are not busy with too much text and graphics. I don’t feel it’s necessary to give a step by step guide to the whole website but suffice to say it’s fairly easy to manoeuvre the site itself on the whole. Basically the tabs on the left of the homepage screen are:
I think it’s fairly evident what you can expect from those tabs but the one of most interest here (and which really warrants further explanation) is the “Member Centre”. When you click on this, you’ll be taken to the panelist sign in page. Once
Pictures of Ipsos Access Panel
Ipsos Access Panel login screen
you’ve entered your 8 digit ID and password, you’re taken to your dedicated member center. Here you can choose from:
Change your password
Again I hope the above links’ names are fairly evident as to what they do but I’ll discuss a couple of them here. Firstly one would assume that by clicking “Surveys” it would take you to a link to take part in current surveys? No, that’s not the case. Clicking the “Surveys” link will just take you to a screen that tells you to make sure your email filters don’t send the Ipsos surveys to your junk mail folder and gives you advice on how to ensure this doesn’t happen – strangely enough they only give you step by step instructions as to how to rectify this in Hotmail. Personally, since I joined Ipsos, none of their surveys have gone to my junk mail folder and I’m a loyal Hotmail user.Moving on, if you click on the “Gift Area” link, annoyingly you get another screen which has a button on it which says “Gift Area” which you now have to click to gain access to your gift area. You are greeted with a welcome screen with a pop out window with 5 tabs to choose from which are:
Change your password (which is pretty repetitive seeing as it’s also available in a previous screen)
View Pending Orders
View your order History
Exit Gift Area
When you click “View Gifts/Vouchers” you are taken to a screen which shows you what vouchers are available and how many points they will “cost” you. As a guideline you can get £5 vouchers for Boots, Argos, Arcadia, John Lewis, Leisure, Amazon or WHSmith vouchers for 750 points and £10 vouchers for 1380. In 2006 I quite foolishly ordered 2 x £5 vouchers for 1500 instead of just 1 £10 voucher for 1380 points – we learn from our mistakes though eh?! The Leisure vouchers are accepted at Beefeater, Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Pizza Hut, London Eye, Hastings, Marriott, Premier Travel Inn, Chessington Park, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Sea life, London Pass, Friday’s and many others and the Arcadia vouchers are accepted at Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Outfit, Evans, Wallis & Burton. So there’s a fairly decent selection of retailers available to choose from – to suit most people’s needs. Each screen in the “Gift Area” has a “Return to Home Page” link which you need to click to go back. I don’t feel this is the best design. As a user, I’d prefer there to be the Gift Area tabs on each screen so you do not have to duplicate effort. It’s not as if the screens are too crowded already that having the tabs there would make the screen look to “busy”.
“View Order History” takes you to a list of your processed orders so you can see how much you’ve made since joining the site. Below the 5 tabs in the Gift Area screen is a small “Status Bar” which tells you how many points you currently have with your name and email address below (in case you forget)!
THE ACTUAL SURVEYS
I’ve received many different types of surveys during my membership with Ipsos and these can range from household products you buy and use to lifestyle habits. The start of the surveys can be quite tedious (as with many other survey companies) - you get asked your gender, age group, even date of birth - I'd add here that I do actually feel it's wholly unecessary to ask for your full date of birth - just the month and year should suffice. I generally feel it's an invasion of my privacy needing to know the exact date of my birth.
At the end of each survey, there’s always a mini survey of one screen asking you how you felt about the survey, if it was interesting, if you felt the incentive was worth it and asking for suggestions as to what could have been done better in the survey. I always fill these in honestly as it a) doesn’t take long and b) hopefully helps to improve the quality of future surveys.
My biggest issue with the surveys (and the website) is that you’re not told how many points you’re going to earn in the email which invites you to complete a survey – you are told however how long the survey will take – usually anything from 15-30 minutes I’ve found. In each email inviting you to take part in a survey, your panelist ID is mentioned at the bottom of the email so it’s easy to just copy and paste it into the site to check your current balance which is just listed in the Gift Area. I think it’s a bit of an issue that you don’t get to see how many points you’ve earned per survey – some people might not be bothered about this, then again, you might be like me, and not notice from month to month how many surveys you’ve completed or to double check if any points have been credited. I don’t often get screened out of a survey but when I do, I get a polite message saying I’ll be credited with 10 points.
I would add here that this is one of the better sites in that you don’t spend 15 minutes of a supposed 30 minute survey and then get screened out without getting anything for time already spent. I’ve noticed that when I get screened out of an Ipsos survey it’s usually within a minute or so of starting the survey.
Once in a while you receive surveys which are prize draw surveys where you can win anything from 350 to 5000 points. I’ve never won anything in these surveys or if I have, I’m not aware of it as there’s no way to tell what your points were awarded for!
At the end of each survey is another mini one screen survey asking you how you found the survey overall with questions asking if you found the survey interesting, if the instructions were easy to follow, etc. There’s also a box for you to write in any additional comments. I usually find myself taking a minute or so to complete these surveys, although they never seem to take any action on the feedback you do provide so I'm thinking I've been wasting my time completing the feedback survey on the surveys!
OTHER RELEVANT INFO
Some info which might be useful:
I’ve never found any technical issues when browsing the site, it’s never given me any problems with regards to refreshing pages when moving from one screen to another. Transitions from one page to another are quite fast and I’ve never had cause to complain about this side of things.
When logging into the site there is sometimes a quick survey on the home page which consists of one question with multiple choice answers. Whenever I do log into the site I take a few moments to choose an answer as generally I’m quite interested to see what other people have opted for – the results are shown as soon as you choose and submit your response.
I’ve not really had a lot of dealings with the customer service aspect of Ipsos. I do recall once I had a survey which froze on me and I had to email them to tell them there was a problem. The technical team were professional in their response and resolved the issue to my satisfaction.
In my time with Ipsos I’ve earned over £80 in vouchers which I’ve mostly redeemed for Boots and M&S. I wouldn’t say I’m very fast at completing the surveys and I admit that if I bothered to respond more quickly to the surveys (and not delete half of the ones I do receive) I would probably have earned double or triple the amount I have done. To be honest, most days I just don’t want to complete an online survey so I might just have a look through my emails once a week to see which surveys are outstanding and attempt to complete them then.
In view of my overall experience with Ipsos I would rate them as a fairly decent 4 out of 5 with a recommendation that they tell their panelists how much they’re likely to earn for completion of each survey and actually take on board the feedback they receive from their panelists.