SSRS Text Message Panel

Probability-based, Quick Turnaround Polling

SSRS Text Message Panel Background

The SSRS Text Message Panel is a nationally representative TCPA compliant probability-based panel adults ages 18 or older who are residents of the United States and consent to receiving text messages. Panelists receive short and interactive text message-based surveys (as opposed to web-based survey links in text message).

The hallmarks of the SSRS Text Message Panel are methodological rigor, representativeness, and affordability. Conducting surveys via text message improves the ability to contact hard-to-reach demographic groups such as younger adults (age 18 to 29), lower educated (HS Grad or lower), Hispanics, and African Americans. This is a probability-based panel, and therefore findings are statistically projectable to the target population.

Text message-based surveys are most suitable for:

  • Short (1 to 10 questions), quick turnaround studies (typically 1 to 2 days from start to finish).
  • Point-in-time data collection.
  • Cost-efficient population incidence estimate studies.
  • Question/Concept testing.

As a charter member of the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) Transparency Initiative, SSRS is committed to full compliance with AAPOR standards and transparency.

The SSRS Text Message Panel team includes industry-renowned technological experts and methodologists who stand ready to support both data collection and client analytic needs. We work closely with clients from the early project planning stages to developing and delivering effective customized solutions. Our services include questionnaire design, questionnaire programming and hosting, user experience (UX) testing, cognitive interviews, data collection, statistical weighting, and data analysis and reporting. Specific SSRS Text Message Panel services include:

  • Questionnaire design consultation that meets industry best practices.
  • Methodological consultation.
  • Highly collaborative team that works closely in meeting client schedules.
  • Design and implementation of subpopulation-specific surveys that leverage panelist profile data, such as for surveys of Hispanics, people with specific health insurance statuses, caregivers, parents, registered voters, and people with different chronic health conditions.

SSRS Text Message Panel members are recruited randomly based on nationally representative Address Based Sample (ABS) design (including Hawaii and Alaska). ABS sample is drawn from the Delivery Sequence File (DSF) maintained by the U.S. Postal Service. Population coverage of the DSF is in the 98%-99% range.

During the recruitment process, full demographic information on panelists is collected. This data is stored securely and used to determine eligibility for specific studies (if needed). We also rely on these data to improve the survey experience for panelists by avoiding the need to re-ask demographic questions with each survey.

Samples are drawn among panel members to best meet the study criteria. Survey invitations are sent via text messages. Respondents take interactive surveys via text message on their phone (as opposed to receiving a survey link via text message). The advantage of this approach is that these surveys can be taken by everyone who has a cell phone, and not just those with smartphones. Research shows that while 85% of adults have a smartphone, 12% of adults have a cell phone that is not a smartphone*. In addition, internet service is not required for text message-based surveys as it uses cellular data.

The SSRS Text Message Panel also includes panelists who are primarily Spanish speakers. We translate and conduct surveys in Spanish as required by a specific project.


To ensure that sample estimates are unbiased and projectable, SSRS Text Message Panel data are weighted based on industry best practices. The weighting process starts with the application of a base weight which accounts for disproportionate probabilities of selection across panelists. Following the application of the base weight, survey data are calibrated to known target population parameters such as age, race, gender, region, and education. The SSRS Methods, Analytics and Data Science (MADS) Group can turn around weights very quickly.

Most recent research suggests that full probability samples provide the most accurate data. Surveys that utilize a probability sample combined with an opt-in sample are less accurate than surveys of full probability samples. Least accurate are surveys comprised entirely of opt-in panel sample**. The SSRS Text Message Panel is a fully probability-based panel because it recruits randomly selected panelists from a probability-based sample source that reflects the full U.S. adult population (ABS). Results obtained from this panel can statistically represent the target population with a known margin of error. Unlike typical opt-in panels, no one can “volunteer” to be part of the SSRS Text Message Panel. They must be selected randomly and invited to participate. Most other text message panels are opt-in panels.

**The Accuracy of Measurement with probability and nonprobability survey samples by Bo MacInnis, Jon A. Krosnick, Annabell S. Ho, Mu-Jung Cho, POQ, Vol 82, No. 4, Winter 2018, pp. 707-744

SSRS Text Message Panel standard deliverables include a weighted SPSS data file including standard demographic variables and an AAPOR compliant methods statement with response rate calculations provided after completion of all data collection and weighting. Upon request, we can also provide access to an online dashboard that provides near real-time project updates during data collection.

SSRS is a full-service non-partisan public opinion firm. In addition to standard deliverables, our deliverables and other offered services are fully customizable to client needs.

SSRS Text Message Panel Demographics

A battery of demographic and other questions is asked during the recruitment of panelists. These questions are stored securely and kept for identifying target respondents, used for weighting, and can be appended to study data to expand what is known about respondents. Demographics are typically not re-asked for every survey unless there is reason to believe that the data could have changed in a meaningful way. Available demographics are provided in the table.

Download the SSRS Text Message Panel Methodology


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