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How to make video insights count in your research

Published 18 Mar 2021 4 minute read

Online qual
Select Child

Clients love videos. They are a way to bring their customers into the boardroom and to put faces to personas. When a brand sees its consumers, it can bring real and immediate value to the insights it is offering.

There are also times when gathering data via video allows you to capture insights that you would not access via text. So, when should qual researchers gather video footage? And – critically – what do you need to know about capturing, analysing and storing that footage?

Let’s get looking!

1. When are videos useful?

Analysing video is a time-consuming process (more on that later). So, be judicious about how much footage you ask for! Request videos when they’re the best tool for the job/ best way to capture a key behaviour. For example, to:

  • Break the ice.
    At the start of every study, participants introduce themselves. Framing this activity as a video task can help you:
  1. Provide personal context
  2. Ensure that participants get used to sharing video from the very start. This allows them to get comfortable with the process and to practice recording to your requirements. This will increase the overall effectiveness of this media format during your project.
  3. Check that the people who have signed up are who they claim to be. Consider it a friendly form of authentication for your participants!
  • Witness a behaviour or location.
    You don't always want to rely exclusively on what people tell you. You need to capture the context in which their emotions, thoughts and behaviours take place.
  • Compare what people say and what they do.
    This is related to the previous point. Sometimes, people aren’t aware of their behaviours or they’re motivated to present themselves in a certain ‘edited’ light. For instance, people might say that they have relatively healthy food behaviours. However, ask them to video the content of their fridge and food cupboards or video their meals over a few days, and the results may give a very different impression.
  • Support surfacing insights.
    Participants often cite behaviours or personal nuances during their text responses that they want to know more about. If you can see that a video would enhance these insights, request it! Top tip: We always recommend using research tools that allow you to iterate activities on the go, focus on specific individuals or simply allow participants to provide media on their terms.
2. Capturing video
  • Rules of engagement:
  1. Videos involve capturing Personal Data so make sure your participants have been informed that you will be asking them to take videos during your study.
  2. Make sure you have obtained written consent at recruitment for them to participate in video tasks including who will observe the footage and whether the video is part of the end client deliverable
  3. Make sure they know how to use the camera! This may sound like an unnecessary step, particularly as videos are simple to capture on  mobile research platforms. However, it’s always worth making sure that your participants are confident about what they’re doing and asking them to use a standard format and resolution when they film. This will make it easier for you to create a degree of polish for any client video you want to make.
3. Analysing video

Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. The time it takes to analyse videos is one of the primary reasons why you need to be judicious about how much footage you request.

You can pay for video transcription software or third-party services that allow for a phrase or tag searching (for example, LivingLens or Voxpopme). If you don’t have a budget for these tools, you need to think carefully about how much video analysis you can undertake.

You also need to think about the purpose of the analysis. That’s because you may well want your video footage to serve a dual purpose. One: to help you gain critical research insights. Two: to form part of the material you want to show to the client.

Let’s start by looking at what’s involved in analysing video purely for research:

Imagine a 14 day-study involving 40 people, with each person providing two videos, which are each one minute long. Just to watch each video once will take an hour and twenty minutes.

However, unlike text, you cannot easily scan a video for a phrase or idea. So, in most cases, it will take several viewings to get to grips with both the content and subtext of the video.

To add further complication, you will likely have to watch multiple videos during a single analysis section, jot down a plethora of notes and attempt to keep a comparative train of thought running throughout. This might be fine when you are fresh-faced and ready to research, but in the wee hours (burning the midnight oil ahead of an impending deadline), it can become problematic.

That’s why it’s important to save your video questions for when they will matter. Make them work for you and request only the ones that you need.

Now let’s think about analysing your video to create a client edit.

For your clients you will need to find clips that are:

  1. Audible

  2. In focus

  3. Say something important.

The inconvenient truth is that a lot of the footage that you are sent will not meet those criteria. So, you have to:

  1. Extract the moments that are useable
  2. Create a narrative from them
  3. Stitch it together.

As a rough guide, one minute of edited footage will take an hour to produce. So, be aware and:

  1. Build in the time a client video will take to produce
  2. Manage expectations: this won’t be a professional, polished video, influencer-style. It will be raw, real and there to give a flavour of some of the insights contained in your final report.
4. Downloading and storing video

The final, critical, issues to consider are downloading and storage. In terms of downloading, you need to think about:

  • The size of the files you are planning to import and how long they will take you to download. The bigger the file, the slower the speed.
  • How long a platform will hold your files before deleting them. In other words, at what point will you have to download your data to another device?

That brings us on to storage. This is where you need to think about...

  • Where are you planning to store the data? Do you have a device with sufficient capacity to hold the information you’ve accumulated?
  • How long do you need to keep the data to finish the project?
  • Are your plans in line with current GDPR guidelines?
  • If you are sharing a video with a client, how will they be sharing and storing it? Are they GDPR compliant?
  • You must obtain participant consent for all of the above (when applicable) and also ensure your client contracts cover all activities

Want to capture participant videos and test drive the best mobile research platform on the market? Take me to Together!

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