iDiary at a GlanceNatural PopulationInternet TrackingOn Line PollsDemo Study

Natural Population Sampling

What Is the Natural Population Of a Site?

Every web site has its own unique population of visitors. The population is created by:

the services or products it sells,
the look and feel of the site,
public awareness of the site,
the interests and demographics of the visitors, and
any other factor that results in bringing a visitor to the site.

Those who come to visit a web site, for whatever reason and by whatever path, constitute the Natural Population of the site.

Measuring the Natural Population

To develop a web based business, you need to know everything you can about the Natural Population of your site. The iDiary system is the only commercially available tool that can do the job.

The iDiary system:

selects a representative sample of the Natural Population,
tracks their complete Internet behavior, and
collects attitudinal and demographic information on every aspect of their Internet experience by means of timely on-line questionnaires.

This information is integrated into a powerful, single source database that provides unparalleled insight on how visitors to a target site think, feel, and behave on the Internet.

Advantages of Natural Population Sampling

1. "Fresh" Samples.

The sample is selected at the beginning of the study.
All tracking and opinion data are current.
The iDiary always selects from the total Natural Population of a web site.
Note A : The iDiary system does not select from a "pool" of ex-respondents from earlier studies. This process results in a zero probability of selection for the majority of Internet users. Statistical confidence intervals do not apply to sample estimates from such a pool.
Note B : The iDiary system does not select from a long term standing panel of Internet users. These panels often include users selected months or even years earlier and as a result do not reflect current Internet behavior at a web site e.g., new users.

2. Unrestricted Sample Size.

The iDiary system can select as large a sample as is required to provide statistical reliability for any estimates regarding the target site.

Competing systems that use standing panels of Internet users are severely restricted in the sample size they can deliver for all but the most highly visited web sites. For example, if your web site is visited by 200,000 unique visitors per week or per month, its rating as reported by a national standing sample of say 50,000 respondents, would be 0.2%. This translates to about 100 respondents -- not enough for a statistically reliable analysis.

3. Targeted Sub Populations.

If for example frequent visitors e.g., once a month or more often, are required in a study a screening survey can be used to oversample this group until the required sample size is achieved. The screening survey delivers very large samples resulting in extremely precise estimates of all Natural Population characteristics and groups it measures.

Multiple target groups can be selected in any one study.
Note C : Standing panels used by national Internet rating services are severely limited in their ability to target sub populations for specific web sites. This is because for most web sites being measured, the size of the standing panel is simply too small to generate a sufficient number of site visitors.
Note D : Selecting sub populations from pools of preselected respondents unfortunately results in samples that do not represent any sub population other than that of the pool.

Recall vs. Behavior Data

The availability of single source data for Internet behavior and attitudes greatly increases the accuracy of statistics that rely on recall. The Internet is simply too big and the detail of behavior too complex for users to accurately remember in recall-based opinion surveys.

Methodological tests that compared recall based responses vs. actual behavior as measured by the iDiary system, indicate that recall often tends to significantly overstate behavior.

Bottom Line

The combination of exacting methodology and cutting-edge technology that are the foundations of the iDiary system, provide a level of accuracy and reliability that distinguish it from all competing Internet measurement systems.

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