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Sample 101: Incidence Rate vs. Conversion Rate

Brookmark Research and our sample partner, OpinionRoute, have created an educational blog specifically focused on helping our clients understand several aspects of the sample/panel industry. The purpose of this post is to briefly discuss incidence and conversion rates.

What is incidence?

Incidence is a measurement of qualification rates for a target audience within the general population.  There are a variety of formulas to assess this, but most account for the number of survey respondents that pass the screener (qualifiers), the number of respondents that successfully complete the survey (completes) and the number of disqualified respondents in the screener (terminates).  Most sample companies are most interested in what the incidence rate should be after targeting allowable profile points for a particular study.  This is often a measure of difficulty on a project and a major driver of price.  And in terms of pricing, there is an inverse relationship between incidence and price — the lower the incidence, the higher the price.

What is/are conversion rates?

In addition to incidence, most technology driven panel providers also pay close attention to conversion rates; an important productivity metric calculated by dividing survey completes by total starts (completes/total starts).  This is a raw production rate that is very common in digital marketing programs as well.  If a company measures its profitability by what it costs to get a survey complete, then this is necessary.  Typically, studies falling below 20% as a “conversion rate” are viewed as “bad” studies from a profitability standpoint.  Many of today’s panel owners will purposely (and programmatically) reduce respondent volumes into studies falling below this level, even if incidence comes in as planned.


About Brookmark Research:

Brookmark is a research operations company focused on managing the critical components of the research process including project management, survey design, programming, hosting, sample design & management, data management and reporting solutions.   Brookmark provides a full outsource solution for all your research needs.

About OpinionRoute:

OpinionRoute is a technology centric survey sampling company specializing in providing back-office support to small to mid-size market research and management consulting companies. OpinionRoute helps its clients answer (and action) practical, methodological and business questions while adding expert resources in the area of sample design.