Participant recruitment options

Learn about the different ways you can recruit participants for your UserTesting studies.


On this page:



Recruitment options

Watch our short video to learn how to find participants:

UserTesting offers several options to find the right people for your test. The two main options you will see when creating a test are:

  • Build audience: Choose this option if you want to recruit members from the UserTesting Contributor Network or your own network of contributors created on the UserTesting platform.
  • Create link: Choose this option if you want to send a one-time test link to anyone outside the UserTesting platform.
    audience recruitment options usertesting.png
    Note: You will see "participant" and "contributor" used interchangeably in our help content. "Contributor" is a UserTesting term you will see on the platform.



UserTesting Contributor Network

Available to: All subscription plans

The UserTesting Contributor Network allows you to select people UserTesting has already recruited worldwide. Use the UserTesting Contributor Network when...

  • You need immediate feedback from contributors.
  • You want to recruit contributors from around the world.
  • You want UserTesting to handle the contributor recruiting process for you.

How it works

  1. Choose Build audience when creating a test.
  2. Click Select audience to open the Audience builder.
    Select audience userstesting
  3. Choose how many contributors to recruit.
  4. Select the device contributors should use for the test.
  5. Select filters to help you set demographic criteria.
  6. Add Screener questions for potential contributors to answer to qualify for your test.
  7. When you launch your test, your sessions will start to fill with UserTesting contributors who meet your audience criteria.


  • In the demographic filters, make sure to specify France in your country filter and French in your language filter. This will ensure that you recruit people who speak French and are from France (if this is the demographic you need).

    French and France usertesting.png
  • Using too many filters may lead to your test filling more slowly.
    • Consider using screener questions to capture more contributors in case demographics change frequently.
    • Contributors are asked to update their demographic information every six months.
  • Contributors get once chance to answer the screener questions for each test.
    • They do not get to “try again” for that test—unless you alter the screeners.
    • Small changes to screener questions render them “new."



Custom Network

Available to: Ultimate subscription plans

Custom Network allows you to ask your customers, fans, employees, and others to be on networks you create on the UserTesting platform. Use Custom Network when...

  • You want to test with audiences that are harder to find and not readily available on the UserTesting Contributor Network.
  • You want to do continuous testing with the same group of employees, partners, or customers.
  • You want to test niche audiences that you’ve already identified, like people who use a specific software tool your company offers.

How it works

  1. Select Contributor networks from the left navigation panel.
    contributor networks navigation panel usertesting
  2. Go to the Custom Network tab.
  3. Click the Create network button.
  4. Name the network. 
  5. Add custom filters, if needed.
  6. Invite people to join.
  7. In the Audience builder of your test, select Custom Network under Contributor network options.
  8. Select your Custom Network from the Which network do you want to use? drop-down menu.
    select a custom network usertesting


  • You are responsible for recruiting people for your Custom Network.
  • UserTesting handles the onboarding process and collects demographic information like age, gender, and income.
  • You can choose to have UserTesting compensate contributors or have an unpaid network.
  • You cannot give reviews or ratings for contributor performance.
  • Keep in mind that, oftentimes, members of your Custom Network are not experienced at testing. You may need to remind them of testing procedures (for example, to speak aloud).
  • Ensure that you are testing with customers who have a relationship with you. Pilot your onboarding and testing strategy with a small group of those customers before committing to a full launch.
  • Be sure to invite people to take tests on a regular—but not too frequent—basis. Set expectations around how frequently they may be contacted.
  • Make sure to reach out regularly to contributors with updates and ideas, and to get confirmation from them that they wish to remain in the network.



Favorite contributors

Available to: All subscription plans

Favorite contributors allow you to test with a network of favorite UserTesting contributors from previous tests. Use favorite contributors when...

  • You want to send a follow-up test to contributors you tested with before.
  • You are conducting a longitudinal or diary study where you need to test with the same people over a period of time.
  • You have a niche demographic you've recruited that you want to use again.

How it works

  1. Go to the Sessions tab of a completed test.
  2. Click Add to favorites next to the participant's username.
    add to favorites usertesting

  3. Add the participant to an existing favorite contributors network or Create new.
  4. In the Audience builder of a new test, select Favorite contributors to recruit from that network.



Specific contributors

Available to: All subscription plans

Specific contributors allow you to test with a particular UserTesting contributor in mind. Use specific contributors when you...

  • Need to follow up with a contributor for additional feedback.
  • Run a longitudinal or diary study and need to send multiple tests to the same contributors.
  • Want the same contributor to provide feedback on an updated version of a prototype or design.

How it works

  1. In the Audience builder, select Specific contributors under Contributor network options.
  2. Add the usernames of the contributor(s) you want.
    Tip: Find contributor usernames on the Sessions tab of a previous test.
  3. Fill out the optional Other requirements field.
    Tip: Use this space to explain study details, why you are reaching out to the contributor again, or any requirements the contributor should complete before taking the test.



Recruitment integrations

If you have accounts with Fuel Cycle or Rally, you can recruit participants with our UserTesting integrations.



Invite Network

Available to: All Flex plan subscriptions

Invite Network allows you to recruit your contributors by generating a test link to send via email or social media to anyone you like, from internal employees to a database of existing customers. Use Invite Network when you want to...

  • Send a one-time test to a specific group of people.
  • Be in charge of how you communicate with and compensate your contributors.

How it works

  1. Select the Create a link option when creating a new test.
  2. Choose how many contributors you need.
  3. Fill out the Audience settings.
  4. Insert logos and any other branding material.
    invite network audience settings userstesting.png
  5. After finishing the test plan, launch the test.
  6. Copy the test link provided.
  7. Use the provided email template, or write your own, and send the link to your participants.


  • Invite Network provides greater flexibility and gives you control over and responsibility for screening, communicating with, and compensating contributors.
  • You have the option to not collect emails from participants.



Rate and replace contributors

Rating contributors

  • Providing feedback to contributors who take your test ensures that contributors provide useful insights into the experiences and products you are testing.
  • Rate the contributor from the Sessions tab or in the video player.
    rating contributor french usertesting.png
  • Rate contributors using our five-star system:
    5–Extremely helpful
    4–Very helpful
    3–Somewhat helpful
    2–A little helpful
    1–Not helpful
  • If you give a one or two-star rating to a contributor, you will be asked to give a reason.
    rating reasons french usertesting.png


Replacing contributors

If you experience a problem with a contributor, you can request to replace them.

  1. From the Sessions tab of your test, click the Actions button next to the session.
  2. Select Report a problem.
    report a problem selection french usertesting.png
  3. Alternatively, select Report a problem from the video player of the session you’d like to report.
    report a problem video player french usertesting.png
  4. Select Contributor, then choose the reason for why you’re reporting a a problem contributor french usertesting.png
  5. Choose how you want to resolve the problem.
    resolve problem french usertesting.png
  6. Click Submit report once completed.


Things to note:

  • You can refund the session only. (Available only for Admins).
  • If you replace the contributor, or refund the session, you will no longer have access to this session video or its data. If you selected personally identifiable information (PII) as the main issue, your only option will be to replace the contributor with a different one.
  • As a Viewer or Collaborator, you cannot refund the session.
  • Specific contributors cannot be replaced automatically, and the replace option will not be available. You must refund the session and manually add them to a new copy of the test.



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