The Validity of Google’s Screenwise Trends Panel

Google's screenwise trends panel

Google has its own market research panel called Screenwise Trends Panel that lets Google monitor how people use their desktop browser and mobile apps. According to Google, this panel will help answer questions such as

  • What different technologies do people own and what do they use them for?
  • How does the arrival of new technology affect media use?
  • Do people notice advertising, and how relevant or irrelevant do they find it?
  • How popular are different media activities among different types of people?

These are great questions to explore, but they all pertain to people in general, and Google’s research panel may differ from people in general in a number of ways: (1) They probably like Google products more than most people, and (2) They probably have less privacy concerns, since they are letting Google monitor their Internet activity and app usage. So can Google’s research panel tell Google anything about people’s technology usage given these differences?

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Four Suggestions for Running Experiments More Efficiently

Conducting controlled experiments is the best way of determining whether a site or app redesign would lead to improvements on key metrics. One barrier is the amount of time or resources it takes to run experiments. You may have a low traffic site, you may want to detect small differences in key metrics (i.e. fractions of a percent), or you may want to get experiment results faster. Here are some suggestions on how to run experiments more efficiently.

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