Tips and Tricks to Reach Low Incidence Audiences

Tips and Tricks to Reach Low Incidence Audiences

Tips and Tricks to Reach Low Incidence Audiences

If you have spent more than a week in the market research industry, chances are you have encountered at least one project with low incidence targets.  The kind that seems like only five people in the world could possibly qualify for.  Studies that call for 18–25-year-old accountants that live within five zip codes or any study that require responses from mothers of infants (many of which are probably too busy to take a survey, let alone qualify for one).  Low incidence targets may seem like a sample vendor’s worst nightmare, but we have a few tips and tricks that will help you meet all of your sample requirements and earn the loyalty of your clients.

  • Leave out redundant targets to increase feasibility.  Let’s say the client sends you a project with a target audience of individuals making $50,000 annually that also have a post graduate degree.  Statistically, most people that earn a post graduate degree make more than $50,000, so to increase the amount of completes your project can achieve, try including only the income target or the education target.  While this may slightly lower the incidence rate in-field, it can help top off even the toughest of projects. Rationale here is to target the most difficult attribute first. Respondents may have completed the Education Profiling question but not the Household Income. If we target both attributes, our Master’s degree audience that has not answered our Household Income question would be left out of the project when they have a high likelihood of qualifying.


  • Blend the sample.  Sample blending is the process of using sample from multiple sources.  Not only can this method increase the speed you’ll finish the project, but it may also deliver better quality results and prevent bias by offering wider representation (when permitted by the client).  Plus, by asking your panel supplier to bring on partners for you, it can cut out the inconvenience of searching yourself.  For this method to work, it’s crucial to have proper quality measures in place and run all sample through a single supplier’s system to leverage their quality measures and deduplication across all sample sources.  At Precision Sample, we also use our proprietary validation process, Quality Sentinel, which utilizes several industry standard solutions such as Imperium and Research Defender, to avoid issues like duplications that are more likely to occur when using multiple data sources.


  • Prioritize your targets in field. Always start by fielding the hardest-to-reach targets first (high income, ethnicities, younger individuals, etc.) and do so one at a time.  If you have all the quotas open right at the project launch, then too many completes will skew towards some of the easier-to-reach demographics like middle income, Caucasian, and females.  This is especially important for clients that do census work.

As you can tell, attention to detail is critical in all phases of the fielding process, especially when it comes to projects with difficult targets.  By utilizing these tricks, narrow targets will be no match for you!  Let us know in the comments if you have other tricks that you use to combat difficult targets and be sure to contact us at to assist with your toughest projects!

Director, Global Supply at Precision Sample | President, South Central Chapter of Insights Association | Board Member of the Master of Science in Marketing Research Program at Michigan State University


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