Nielsen Panels & Surveys

How do panels and surveys work? 

Did you know that every day, thousands of people are making a difference just by enjoying their favorite TV shows and podcasts, listening to the radio and buying products they like? They’re part of Nielsen panels and surveys.

Think of how a scientist studies a lake. There’s no need to drain the whole lake to understand what’s going on. They take a small water sample. Panels and surveys work the same way. We put together groups that represent a sampling of all kinds of people to understand consumer and media habits.

What are panels? 

A panel is a small group of people that mirrors a large audience or group of consumers—in terms of race, gender and age and how they behave. People who join Nielsen panels share meaningful information just by changing the channel or using an app on their phone. We then use this information to get the Nielsen ratings. A rating is the percentage of a specific population that saw, heard or engaged with a piece of content or an ad.

Whether you’re watching the big game with a group of friends or listening to the radio on the way to work, we’re interested in knowing as much as we can about how media fits into your daily life and the lives of the people you may live with. That’s why some of our panels are made up of groups of people called Nielsen Families, Nielsen Homes or Nielsen Households, letting us know whose hands are on the remote control.

Nielsen Panels

Nielsen panels measure all types of media. Participating in our panels is your opportunity to impact the ratings for different types of media. We typically ask participants to join for a period of time, so we can understand how media habits change (or stay the same).


Measuring how people use computers and mobile devices.


Representing the interests of millions of people who listen each week.


Discovering the who, what, how and where of TV and streaming audiences.

Learn more about Nielsen Panels where you live

What are surveys?

We know you are more than what you choose to watch and listen to. You’re a person with opinions on lots of things. Those opinions matter to us. So, in addition to our panels, we have surveys to learn more about what you and people like you like to read, eat and purchase.

We take the information you give us and use it to help businesses where you live give you more of the kind of media, products and experiences you’ll enjoy. 

Nielsen Surveys

You could be on your way to getting gifts or rewards just for having your say! Nielsen surveys are short-term commitments that let you represent your community. Our surveys can cover a variety of topics, or may just ask you to keep a record of what you’re watching or listening to. 


Showing companies how people prefer to spend their free time.


Giving brands insights to help them better serve customers like you.


Helping content creators improve their programming based on your media habits.

Learn more about Nielsen Surveys where you live

How it works

Participating is simple

Be invited or sign up

Participation in some panels and surveys requires an invitation from Nielsen to ensure that participants are representative across geographic areas, and we don’t take volunteers. For these panels and surveys, Nielsen will invite you to join by phone, mail, online or even visit you at home to speak to you in person. For other panels and surveys, you can volunteer to sign up now.

Learn more>

Participation has its rewards

Each panel and survey is different. But when you join, you’ll share information about your media and consumer habits. Nielsen panels and surveys offer gifts to thank you for participating.

Learn more>

Your privacy is valued

We use information about you and your household for research purposes. It is strictly confidential—we will not use it to advertise, promote or sell goods and services directly to you, and we do not allow our clients to sell directly to you. We also ask that you do not share if you participate with Nielsen online or with people outside of your household. We are committed to protecting the personal information you provide us.

Learn more>