Definition of Nonprobability Sampling

Nonprobability sampling is a type of sampling method used in digital marketing research, where the selection of subjects or participants is not based on a probability or chance, but rather on convenience, judgment, or other non-random criteria. This sampling approach is less rigorous compared to probability sampling and may not produce representative results of the target population. However, nonprobability sampling is relatively easy and cost-effective to employ, making it a popular choice for exploratory research or when resources are limited.


The phonetics of the keyword “Nonprobability Sampling” can be broken down into the following:Nonprobability: /nɒnprəˈbæbəlɪti/Sampling: /ˈsæmplɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Nonprobability sampling does not rely on random selection, making it less likely to be representative of the entire population.
  2. It is often chosen for its efficiency, convenience, and lower cost compared to probability sampling methods.
  3. Some common types of nonprobability sampling include convenience sampling, quota sampling, purposive sampling, and snowball sampling.

Importance of Nonprobability Sampling

Nonprobability sampling is an important digital marketing term because it enables marketers to efficiently target specific segments of a population without adhering to strict random selection criteria.

This sampling method prioritizes convenience and budget constraints and allows marketers to make important decisions based on data gathered from a representative subset of their target audience.

By employing nonprobability sampling in their research, digital marketers can gather valuable insights regarding consumer preferences, behaviors, and trends more quickly and at a lower cost, helping them create more effective and targeted marketing campaigns that drive conversion and improve overall business growth.


Nonprobability sampling plays a significant role in the world of digital marketing research, where acquiring data from a diverse audience is crucial for informed decision-making and strategic planning. The core purpose of employing this sampling technique is to gather insights and information from a specific, targeted segment of the population without following a probability-based selection process.

Marketers often use nonprobability sampling for its time and cost-efficiency, allowing for rapid yet insightful conclusions as a means to better understand consumer behavior, preferences, and perceptions of a brand, product, or service. By employing nonprobability sampling methods such as convenience, judgment, quota, or snowball sampling, digital marketers are equipped to tailor their marketing campaigns more effectively and achieve desired outcomes.

For instance, marketers may use convenience sampling to collect feedback on a new advertising campaign by surveying consumers who are readily available to them, such as people in a shopping center or online forum participants. Similarly, quota sampling can be employed to examine the preferences of certain demographic groups, providing a clearer picture of how different market segments respond to specific marketing initiatives.

As such, nonprobability sampling is a valuable tool that supports the development of targeted marketing strategies, enhances communication with consumers, and ultimately drives the growth and success of businesses in the digital age.

Examples of Nonprobability Sampling

Nonprobability sampling is a sampling technique in which the probability of each individual being selected for the sample is not known, and the selection is based on the researcher’s judgment or convenience. Here are three real-world examples of nonprobability sampling in digital marketing:

Customer Feedback Surveys: A digital marketing agency may use nonprobability sampling to collect feedback from customers. They may send out a survey to a specific group of customers, for example, those who have recently made a purchase or engaged with their brand on social media. In this case, the sample is not selected randomly, and not every customer has an equal chance of being included in the survey.

Convenience Sampling for Social Media Campaigns: Suppose a digital marketer wants to test the effectiveness of a new social media advertising campaign before deploying it on a broader scale. They may choose to run the campaign on a select group of followers who frequently engage with their posts for convenience, rather than randomly selecting users from their entire follower base. This approach is a nonprobability sampling method because the selected participants are based on convenience and are not representative of the entire population.

Expert Interviews for Content Creation: A content marketer might decide to create a blog post or report based on expert opinions to add value to their brand’s website. To gather insights, the marketer might reach out to industry experts they are familiar with or who have high visibility in their sector. This process is an example of a purposive sampling methodology, a type of nonprobability sampling, as the participants are selected based on specific characteristics, and the sampling method does not guarantee that every potential participant has an equal chance of being selected.


FAQ – Nonprobability Sampling

1. What is nonprobability sampling?

Nonprobability sampling is a type of sampling method where the selection of individuals or elements in the sample is based on the judgment of the researcher, convenience, or other nonrandom criteria. This method does not follow the principles of probability theory, which means that the likelihood of each individual in the population being selected for the sample is not known.

2. What are the main types of nonprobability sampling?

There are four primary types of nonprobability sampling: convenience sampling, judgmental or purposive sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling. Each type follows different criteria for sample selection, based on the specific research aims and resource constraints.

3. What are the advantages of nonprobability sampling?

Some advantages of nonprobability sampling include ease of implementation, lower cost, and the possibility of obtaining valuable information from specific subgroups or hard-to-reach populations. It is often useful for exploratory research or pilot studies, where a full probabilistic sampling design may not be feasible or necessary.

4. What are the limitations of nonprobability sampling?

The main limitation of nonprobability sampling is the potential for selection bias, which occurs when certain members or groups in the population are over-represented or under-represented in the sample. This can lead to inaccurate or ungeneralizable findings. In addition, nonprobability sampling methods do not allow for the direct estimation of sampling errors or the calculation of confidence intervals for the results.

5. When is nonprobability sampling appropriate?

Nonprobability sampling may be appropriate in situations where the research question requires in-depth analysis or exploration of specific cases or phenomena, rather than generalizable findings about a larger population. It can also be justified when probabilistic sampling is impractical, too costly, or not necessary given the research goals. However, researchers should be cautious about drawing broad conclusions based on nonprobability samples and clearly acknowledge the limitations in their findings.


Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Convenience Sampling
  • Quota Sampling
  • Judgment Sampling
  • Snowball Sampling
  • Purposive Sampling

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