How and when to use online qualitative research for better insight

Published 04 Oct 2018 11 minute read

Online qual
Online qual

With the continued advancement of digital technology, analytics and online market research platforms like Together, brands and their research and insight teams now have more tools, methods and options available to conduct consumer and customer research that gets to the heart of what people are thinking, faster.

Coupled with advice and guidance on 'how' to design great research and analyse your data, the results that we are seeing far exceed what traditional qualitative research methods could achieve. What’s more, limitations of the old-world techniques are removed and large-scale multi-market studies are now simply a few clicks away.

Here are some examples of what you can do with online qual research right now.

Mobile ethnography

The consumer becomes the researcher, recording their thoughts, feelings and decisions using their mobile phone creating pictures and video. This allows researchers to observe people’s everyday lives without the need to be there in person. Researchers can capture behaviours and the context of what’s taking place. They can also see events and moments as they happen

Mobile ethnography is a less invasive and more natural way understand what people think, feel and do. But beware the curse of the over question!

Usage, Attitude & Behavioural Studies

Conduct highly engaging multi-day 'deep-dives' to understand and explore product usage, consumer behaviours, competitive landscapes, as well as the emotion and psychology of purchase decisions and product or service use.

Concept Testing

Capture responses and thoughtful feedback on your ideas and concepts in a range of formats including video, sketches, words on a page, logos, or other stimuli. Combine both qualitative and quantitative questions to be able to quickly read and analyse the feedback you’re seeing.

Customer Experience (CX)

Online research platforms are designed to help you capture and make sense of customer’s complex journeys. You can understand the decision-making process and emotions that drive engagement with your brand, product or service, through the path to purchase and beyond.

Consumers including in-the-moment video capture and mobile diaries allow participants to share deep, rich insight into their attitudes and behaviours as they happen.

Pre-focus Group Homework

Focus Groups aren’t going away, but now you can quickly and easily get to know your respondents in advance. Using our digital methods such as discussions, blogs and diaries to optimise your groups.

The end result are better prepared and onboard participants, a richer dialogue come the focus groups and the ability to focus on higher priority activities come your discussion group.

Journaling & Product Usage Diaries

Mobile research tools enable consumers to write regular journals that share critical moments and experiences as they happen or soon after, no matter where they are. Rich moments such as product unwrapping or when the user experiences difficulties are easily captured and analysed.

In-Home Usage and Testing

A bit like diaries but layered with questions and activities, you can quickly and easily elicit valuable feedback and insight on how people use and engage with your products and services in a real-world setting. Their experiences can be shared using pictures, videos or the written and spoken word.

Innovation, Idea Generation & Product Development

By working with mainstream consumers, early adopters, those on the bleeding edge or even laggards, you can get to the problems that need solving and work with them to come up with new ideas and solutions. Further’s rigorous methods then enable you to test and develop the concepts in a highly collaborative way.

Shopper Missions and Shopper Safaris

Create activities that see your participants out on a trip or doing their regular shop and there’s a lot you’ll learn. Participants can share what they are seeing, what they are thinking and, most importantly, how they are making their decisions right there in the aisle. Soon after the shop, you can get your participants to reflect on their journey and decisions to put a different lens on events.

Longitudinal Research Communities

Long-term (or ongoing) research communities are like having a room full of your customers or target audience that you can walk into and ask questions of at any time. They are ideal to respond to both tactical and strategic research questions that you or your business has, and they enable you to see and track the shift in behaviour over time.

Short-term (or pop-up) Research Communities

Designed with a specific beginning and end, short-term research communities are best created to help answer one or two strategic or tactical business questions. Utilising a range of methods and tools including projective exercises, diaries, discussions and stimulus response, participants are engaged over periods ranging from one week to three months.

Beware, you’ll capture a lot of data, but worry not as Together’s powerful backend moderation and analytics capabilities helps you effortlessly sort through and do your analysis.

Brainstorms (internal or external)

In the same way that you can bring consumers together online, you can use Together to get your staff together to brainstorm new ideas, share experiences and solve problems, no matter which country or office they are in. LinkedIn used Together to develop a new Learning & Development solution and it blew them away.

Trend Research / Scouting

Recruit your scouts, send them out into the world and task them with reporting back what they see and learn from the fringes of society. You can create activities that capture events, networks, influences and cultural phenomena and harness these learnings before they become mainstream.

Reaching people who are hard to reach

As researchers, we're sometimes briefed to engage with segments that are quite niche or hard to reach. Online qual is a great enabler in this respect. For a start, it requires no physical presence. Those with disabilities or health issues - or even those for whom travel, or the notion of being in a group or face-to-face environment, isn't pleasant can be engaged remotely using technology.

Build your own methodology

The expert research team at Further designs research to meet the needs of a range of client and use cases, including creative exploration, concept testing and evaluation, brand positioning, development and idea generation. We can integrate with other types of study, including quantitative research and large-scale analytics, always bringing a fresh perspective and rigour.

If you’d like help delivering better research, request  a demo or book a consultation.

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