Data Quality: Our Toolbox to Tackle Fraud

At DISQO, quality is core to who we are. It’s at the foundation of every initiative we take on and every product we build. What makes our data different from the rest? We’ve built the largest proprietary and fully opted in consumer audience in the U.S, collecting opinions and behaviors from real people — with their permission. Zero-party audience data. It’s the new wave.

Maintaining data quality might look easy from the outside, but it’s quite complex.  For example, it requires hundreds of internal security checks and procedures running in parallel to prevent fraudsters from getting through. Recently, our Chief Evangelist, a long-time veteran in market research, Bonnie Breslauer, participated in a discussion about data quality at the Insights Association’s NEXT conference. No doubt, the audience left the conversation with a ton of insight into the industry as well as key methods to combat fraud in the marketplace.

“Market research fraud isn’t something new, but we’re fighting it in a new world today.” — Bonnie Breslauer, Chief Evangelist at DISQO

In the fall of 2020, due to the pandemic and the rise in demand for surveys, the entire market research industry experienced a noticeable spike in fraud. Fraudsters have become bolder and more sophisticated in their tactics, prompting data providers to improve safeguards they’ve put in place. At DISQO, we acted fast and equipped our panel with additional security measures to prevent infiltrators with ill intentions.

As Bonnie described, “it takes a combination of practices” to effectively combat fraud, and still “it’s not always foolproof.” Commercial anti-fraud services are available to help mitigate fraud, but that alone won’t work. In-survey checks for behaviors like straight lining and speeding — among others — provide an additional layer of verification as to whether a research participant is a legitimate member of the survey target audience, an infiltrator, or a bot. 

At DISQO, we incorporate both traditional and modern techniques to maintain the quality of our audience. From phone calls, postcards, and third-party validation, to AI, machine learning, and biometrics; each are a part of DISQO’s security mix to ensure our measures are nothing short of robust.

So, how can brands, marketers, and researchers ensure they’re getting high-quality data? Here are key takeaways cited by Bonnie:

1. Don’t take anything for granted — be educated. With a variety of platforms to choose from and a ton of audience aggregation occurring, not all sample sources are the same. In fact, there are very few 100% proprietary opted-in panels in existence today.  It’s important to understand how your suppliers and partners address data quality and combat fraud.

2. Value your respondents. For the first time, the demand for respondents is outstripping the supply. It’s more important than ever to put the respondents’ experience first.  Security checks are a must, but researchers shouldn’t overdo them. Otherwise, you may end up treating good survey takers with suspicion they don’t deserve.

3. Take a combo approach. There is no one silver bullet to address data quality. Tools available today should be used in combination.

As DISQO continues to invest in our audience, we combine traditional, modern, active, and passive security techniques to mitigate market research fraud. Why? Because sophisticated fraudsters require sophisticated measures to stop them in their paths.

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