The importance of fraud mitigation for effective B2B market research

With the continued growth of online surveys, the issue of response fraud in B2B market research grows ever greater. In fact, Technavio has projected that the growth of the global online survey market is expected to accelerate at about 9% annually between 2020 and 2024. With a wide range reported from 15% up to 50% of online survey respondents estimated to be fraudulent today, the growth of the industry could compound this problem if it is not appropriately addressed.

To further complicate matters, B2B market research often involves the need to have multiple panel partners to be able to deliver a desired hard-to-reach audience. That means there is a risk of both cross-panel duplication and in-panel duplication to be considered. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to estimate the cost of response fraud due to the extensive potential for direct and indirect damage. Direct damage is experienced in the cost of fake respondent incentives and the invalidity of research project results. It’s important to note that B2B respondents also typically command premium incentives due to the niche nature of much of the research, pushing the direct damage even higher. Then, the potential damage grows further when considering indirect costs, like the financial impact of business decisions that are based on bogus insights and false research results.

Panel Quality Verification

So, where do you start? As ESOMAR states in the ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline for Online Sample Quality, “Online sample providers must be transparent with researchers and clients about sample sources, the sampling process and its outcomes.” As early as 2005, ESOMAR recognized the issue and began publishing a guide for conducting research on the Internet and included a list of questions to help ensure a quality sample. This list of 28 questions is widely used today and is considered to be one of the best ways to help a client think about the many issues related to online samples. However, in a recent article in Quirk’s, John Voda, a senior market research and analysis manager at AT&T, boiled it down to the following 6 key questions you should ask today to ensure a high-quality B2B research sample:

  1. How is your B2B panel recruited and vetted?
  2. What information is collected from your B2B audience?
  3. How is your B2B audience incentivized?
  4. What mechanisms are in place to mitigate poor quality?
  5. What has been your experience with B2B audiences in the market I am looking to study?
  6. Are you Microsoft-certified?

Survey Design Tricks

Furthermore, there are a number of fraud prevention techniques that can be employed in the survey design itself. It’s helpful to incorporate traps in the questionnaire to uncover bogus respondents. When you include CAPTCHAs upfront, it helps eliminate bots early in the process. You can also employ a number of ‘red herring’ questions within your survey to help eliminate bots, such as:

  • Asking the same demographic questions at the beginning and end for comparison purposes
  • Including fake brands in brand awareness and usage questions
  • Using both numerical and open-ended text questions

Advanced Fraud Prevention Technology

Machine learning has come a long way in its ability to enhance fraud detection. This artificial intelligence now allows for the recognition of pattern behavior from respondents. You can also use it to capture personally identifiable information on a panelist to validate their authenticity. It’s important to ensure that the fraud prevention service is compliant with standards for data protection like GDPR and CCPA. But when done correctly, they can execute digital fingerprinting that effectively eliminates both duplicates and fraud.

Do you know how your current research suppliers stack up in their fraud prevention efforts? At Worldwide Market Research, we go through an extensive vetting process with all our panel providers, including the six key questions outlined above. In fact, we are ESOMAR 28 compliant as well. We also employ the latest, best-in-class technology for digital fingerprinting and fraud prevention. Feel free to ask us additional questions or to request more info about our sampling sources and processes. We’re happy to share our credentials and even panel performance data if needed.

Send us a line at We can’t wait to collaborate on your next effective study.








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