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River Sampling & Its Importance in your Market Survey Strategy

Sampling is a very important part of market research. Without proper sampling, heading a market research activity becomes very difficult. Using a sampling method, the most minute details and findings can be brought to life.  Having said that, in this article, we will be talking about a type of sampling method called river sampling. We will try to understand the different aspects it covers and how to identify it is right for your business.

What is River Sampling?

River sampling is the first and most basic type of online survey sample. This non-probability sampling method collects survey responses by asking web visitors to complete a survey by clicking on a link that directs them to the poll.

The link can be found on a webpage, in an email, or in another digital environment. Typically, web components such as banners, advertising, promotions, and offers are used to find respondents. When site or app users click on the river sample link, they are first directed to the survey’s screener section, and if they meet the screener’s standards, they are then directed to the questionnaire section.

Perhaps you’re picturing quietly trickling mountain streams. Maybe some raging whitewater rapids. However, the term “river sampling” refers to the life inside the river rather than the river itself. Consider the following analogy:

You’re a fisherman, right? You figure out where the fish are congregating in a particular river.

Source: The Indian Express

You come to a halt and throw your line into the water. You have no idea what type of fish you’ll catch. You have no idea what color or type it is. You have no idea if it has any distinguishing characteristics. You have no idea where it has gone or what it has done in the past. You do, however, catch one. You unhook it and throw it back in once you’ve caught it. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever see it again. The same is valid for river sampling.

Respondents are invited to participate in a survey by online banners, adverts, promotions, offers, and invitations put on several websites. When their attention is drawn to a link, users are given a series of screening questions before being directed to survey-based responses. The respondents are unknown to the surveyors. They have no demographic or psychographic information on their survey respondents, and they cannot reach them after the survey is completed.

Types of River Sampling

River sampling’s cost-effectiveness and flexibility, in particular, will increase its appeal when making marketing selections in an open environment. The following are a list of river samples that can be used:

1. Layered River Sampling

Online marketing, like banners, pop-ups, and hyperlinks, is used to produce samples in real-time. The market research firm carefully selects the website visitors based on the facts provided. The respondents are routed to a webpage where they can participate in a specific research study after completing the survey. The respondents are routed to a webpage where they can participate in a specific research study after completing the survey. Knowing who visits each site and what their reaction patterns are is an important aspect of efficient recruiting.

2. River sampling for convenience

Convenience sampling is a research strategy in which researchers collect market research data from a pool of respondents who are easily accessible. It is the most often used sample technique because it is swift, simple, and cost-effective. Members are often friendly and willing to participate in the study.

In instances when there are vast populations, researchers utilize a variety of sampling strategies. Testing the entire population is nearly impossible in most circumstances since they are difficult to contact. In circumstances where extra inputs aren’t required for the main study, convenience sampling is used.

To be a member of this sample, no specific requirements must be met. As a result, including items in this example becomes exceedingly simple. All population members are eligible to participate in the study. However, their participation is contingent on the researcher’s proximity.

The researcher selects individuals only based on proximity, disregarding whether or not they reflect the entire community. They may monitor behaviors, attitudes, and viewpoints in the simplest way possible using this approach. Let’s suppose a new NGO aims to establish itself in 20 cities, and it chooses the top 20 cities to service depending on how close they are to its headquarters.

Why Should One Prefer River Sampling Over Other Methods?

Panel sampling is one of the other ways, and market researchers generally utilize river sampling as a supplement to continuous panel samples. Panel sampling offers a devoted and trustworthy source of data, but it can also produce stale or over-processed data over time.

River sampling compensates for many of these flaws by injecting fresh blood into the mix. While organizations can’t pinpoint the specific attributes of a product’s user (or non-user), they can get a sense of the overall attitudes that shape perceptions and views from the sample responses.

Advantages of River Sampling

  • Offering new respondents who have not been persuaded or conditioned to take part in a survey can be a potent replacement for survey panels.
  • Users are engaged in their natural digital settings.
  • Its survey callouts/links can be seen in prominent internet domains.
  • Creates a speedier alternative to the focus group, which entails a group discussion in which dominant people can take control and make it harder for more submissive participants.
  • Ensures that respondents are completely anonymous.
  • Exists as a straightforward technique of data collection, as all researchers have to do is wait for the data to be compiled.
  • A low-cost means of sampling.
  • A flexible way for collecting respondents at the moment, rather than before to the survey, when they are profiled and manually recruited.

Disadvantages of River Sampling

  • Potential and opted-in responders’ devices are fully unknown.
  • The ID of an advertisement is not accessible.
  • In order to maximize their rewards or their chances of winning a prize, fraudsters might complete the same survey again or more.
  • There is no way to target a certain demographic, geographic area, or individual.
  • The response rates to banner adverts are often low.
  • The user experience is harmed by banners being pushed through ad networks.
  • By combating random selection, ad networks can improve their delivery.
  • Because responses are not monitored, it is difficult to get an adequate level of representation.
  • Due to a lack of tracking and profiling, surveyors have no idea who will take part in the surveys.
  • The responders are more likely to straight-line this strategy.


Finally, when it comes to river sampling, researchers must evaluate the stability, range, and relevance of the promotions that were employed in conjunction with the surveys. During the sampling procedure, market researchers will also need to check for security and quota constraints. Specialized software must be used to prevent single users from participating several times. Maction can help you in achieving your market research goals and help scale your business. To know more, book a consultation call today.