The key to successful market research (MR) is having the right participants. One of the biggest challenges for researchers is getting large quantities of high-quality participants. To have a representative sample, you need people who match your target audience—not just in demographics but also in their attitudes and opinions. That’s why finding the right participants for your study or trial is essential. This article covers five ways that you can find potential participants.

Finding The Right Audience For Market Research

To find the right audience, you must first consider the type of people you want to learn from. In most cases, it will be anyone who interacts with your brand in some way. That could be customers, but it could also be employees. Here are 5 ways you can find the right audience for market research: 

1. Decide What Makes Someone The “Right” Fit 

Once you’ve identified your audience, you’ll need to figure out where they are. You can use social media and other online tools like Google Analytics. You’ll want to start by developing a pool of participants based on what you know about your target audience. 

You should consider who might be interested in your product and then check off the boxes on this checklist:

  • Do they fit my target audience?
  • Are they in the right location for me? 
  • Will they give me good feedback?
  • Are they willing to be honest with me, even if it’s not what I want to hear?
  • Are they ready to follow instructions and complete my survey wholly and accurately (even if it takes longer than expected)?
  • Do they seem like honest people who are open-minded enough for us all to get along well during our interaction (so I don’t have to worry about whether or not something gets lost in translation)?

2. Contact Past Research Participants

In addition to your personal connections, you can contact past participants and ask them to participate in future research. This is particularly helpful if the research is related to something they have already tried out or know about (e.g., a new app that uses the same technology as the one they tested).

You can also ask past participants to refer friends and family who might be interested in participating in market research. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even offer an incentive for each person referred—the more people referred that are ultimately recruited into your study, the bigger your prize.

Finally, when it comes down to it, these people have already participated in market research; it’s up to us now how we use their experiences going forward (and whether or not we’ll continue using them for future studies).

3. Recruit Your Current Customers And Subscribers

One of the best ways to recruit new research members is by tapping into your customer list. Get names from past customers that have purchased on your site or users that belong to your promotional email list. You can then ask them to participate in a survey or feedback project. Here are some strategies for doing so:

  • Offer an incentive, such as a discount or gift card code.
  • Make it easy for them to participate by providing an online form with a link on the website or landing page where they were invited to participate.
  • Make it easy for people who don’t want to participate to opt-out—just include an opt-out option at the end of the survey (or, even better, throughout).

4. Search On Social Media

Social media is a great place to look for participants. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have millions of users you can reach out to with a message about your research.

Using hashtags is one way to find participants on social media. If your topic is relevant to a particular audience, they may use specific hashtags when posting content related to that topic. 

You may also consider running competitions on social media advertising your study and asking users for submissions or feedback based on their personal experiences with the topic (e.g., “We need real-life examples from our community!”). People will contribute their own stories, which can be exciting additions that help make your survey results more robust.

5. Recruit Internally

Another way to find research participants is by recruiting internally. Many companies have employees who fit the profile of their target customers. 

For example, if you sell children’s toys online, maybe some of your employees have young kids at home. They can be good candidates for focus groups or interviews where you can learn more about what children like in toys and what specifically they want from yours. 

If you want to develop an app that helps people manage their finances, ask your financial analysts if they would be willing to try it out and provide feedback on how well it works and what features would make it more useful. You might also consider asking for volunteers from other departments like marketing or IT as well.

Send an email out to all relevant employees inviting them to take part in a survey or focus group about your company’s products or services to get started with this option. The benefit of internal recruiting is high response rates, as people are more likely to respond to requests from someone they know.


When it comes to marketing and market research, there’s a lot of talk about finding the right audience. And, finding those people is no easy feat.  Thankfully, there are tried-and-true recruiting methods used daily by MROC professionals. You can find market research participants by narrowing down your ideal participant, asking previous participants to join your study, emailing subscribers or current customers, enlisting social media followers, or tapping into your employee pool.

Remember, while having enough research participants is critical to any MR project, it’s meaningless without the right tools to engage them in research. Mobile research is the wave of the future, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. With Rival, our mobile-first voice of customer (VOC) research platform, you can create MR studies with ultra-high participation rates. We’ve re-imagined traditional market research for mobile devices, creating a respondent experience that’s making people rethink what a mobile research engagement means.

Ready to learn more about audience curation for MROCs?  Check out our webinar: Mastering Extreme Audience Agility for Optimal Advertising Performance.  When you’re ready, you can schedule a Fuel Cycle demo request here. We hope to welcome you to our community!