Research Solutions

New Research Techniques

How to Use Social Media for Market Research?

Social media isn’t a perfect source of market research: It’s not a representative sample and, for small businesses, it’s simply too small of a sample.

o 95% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are likely to follow a brand through social media channels.

o Buyers report spending 20–40% more money on brands that have interacted with them on social media.

o 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to friends and family.

Market research methods on social media

Three qualitative research approaches fit social media:

1. Qualitative content analysis (number of likes/comments/shares). The number of Likes can be a vanity metric, but assessing the engagement rate of consumers on social media may suggest the attractiveness of a marketing message or product.

2. Social listening. Passively gather feedback from your customers or monitor opinions about your brand or competitors.

3. Polls/questions. Ask questions directly in social media feeds, encouraging users to share thoughts and feelings.

The State of Social report, suggests that most brands use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Below are strategies and tactics to conduct social media market research on each platform.

How to use Facebook for market research?

Around 97% of B2B and B2C companies use Facebook, which offers four main ways to conduct qualitative research:

1. Polls
2. Contests
3. Call-to-action posts
4. Brand mentions

1. Polls

On Facebook, posts that ask questions receive more Likes than any other type of post. It doesn’t require much time or effort to create a poll on Facebook, get valuable feedback, and analyze your data.

2. Contests

A chance to win a prize can motivate fans to provide their email addresses, send you user-generated content (e.g. photos, videos, testimonials), or offer valuable feedback about your product.

3. Call-to-action posts

In honor of a new product launch, M&M’s announced three flavors in a post with a call to action to ask followers to leave their thoughts in the comment section:

Notably, M&M’s made a simple poll into an open-ended question: Rather than simply gathering quantitative data, they got thousands of responses that reflected the strength of consumer sentiment and offered new content ideas, like developing a recipe that uses jalapeno M&M’s for “monster” cookies or promoting a game of M&M-based roulette:

4. Brand mentions

The most valuable insights may come from those who don’t follow your brand. Some 96% of those who discuss brands online do not follow the brands’ profile.

How to use Twitter for market research?

With its 280-character limit, Twitter is an efficient source of market research. There are two primary ways to collect qualitative data:

o Social listening
o Polls

1. Social Listening

Monitoring digital conversations, also known as social listening, is a method of observing customers’ behavior to learn about their thoughts regarding a company or product.

2. Polls

Twitter polls are time-limited: They end between 5 minutes and 7 days after being posted, depending on the duration set by the creator.
Once your poll is over, results can be viewed publicly, and the winning choice is shown in bold. All participants receive a common push notification from Twitter. Thus, Twitter polls have a dual purpose: Creating social media engagement and offering market research. Taco Bell uses simple Twitter polls to monitor fans’ preferences:

How to use Instagram for market research?

Instagram has over 1 billion users, including company accounts for some 25 million businesses. There are three primary methods to collect market data on Instagram:

1. Question stickers and polls
2. Emoji slider
3. Brand mentions

1. Question stickers

The Instagram Stories feature, with ephemeral content that vanishes within 24 hours, has achieved 500 million daily users. Since this content has a short lifespan, the “FOMO effect” can motivate users to pay attention and take action faster

2. Emoji slider

Instagram released the emoji slider in May 2018, adding a layer of emotional context to consumer feedback within the platform. Posts with emojis have a 15% higher interaction rate

3. Brand mentions

Like all large companies, Whole Foods constantly manages a barrage of satisfied and dissatisfied customers on Instagram—sometimes within the same post. Not surprisingly, unhappy customers hasten to complain about their experience:

There are six common methods for gathering qualitative data on social media, many of which are possible on multiple social channels:

1. Polls (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
2. Contests (Facebook)
3. Call to action posts (Facebook)
4. Brand mentions (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
5. Question Stickers (Instagram)
6. Emoji slider (Instagram)

5 Ways Businesses Can Use Social Media for Marketing Research

1. To Gain a Better Understanding of Target Audiences.

Social media profiles contain plenty of information to help determine which demographics are supporting a brand. Ages, birthdays, gender, social groups, world views and hobbies are all laid bare for business to gather and study. In addition, since more than 75 percent of people who follow or befriend companies on social media are already customers — and the rest have heard about the company from peers and are thinking about patronizing them, then businesses can be assured that they truly have real buyers and often loyal buyers sharing views or responding to requests to take surveys.

In studying the comments of loyal followers, businesses can put together a true picture of how and why people are using their products and services, when they are using them and in what context. This very intimate feedback can help companies fine tune their brand’s image, message and marketing campaigns so that it link customers’ lingo, tone, leisure habits or cultural connections to a product.

Lastly, since social media reaches millions across the global each minute, a company gets a very comprehensive view of all those who purchase their products — for more than can be gained in a focus study or surveys.

2. To Obtain Raw and Real Consumer Opinions about Products and Services.

Formal requests sent by companies to customers after a transaction often attract guarded, polished and superficial responses — that is if the customer responds at all. Social media allows businesses to eavesdrop on real thoughts that buyers have about products and services.

If customers love something, they may tweet about it, post a photo of themselves using it on Facebook or do a YouTube video review. Then, other buyers may comment to support the customer’s view or counter it. Also, social media users may link to bloggers who’ve written an review of a product. This allows companies to figure out what well-respected online personalities are influencing customers.

Businesses can establish relationships with such bloggers, sending out promotional products or test items for review. Studying and analyzing such feedback is essential for any business. In just a hour or two each day or week, businesses can scour social media mentions or use software that tallies brand mentions and related keywords in order to compile useful data.

3. To Reduce Marketing Research Time.

One of the attractive benefits of using social media for marketing research is that feedback is instant. As soon as a customer posts something, it’s available to be read by businesses and anyone else in real time. Since customer’s tastes and needs can fluctuate, this fast relay of information ensures that the data will be timely, accurate and not obsolete.

4. To Analyze Every Aspect of a Marketing Campaign.

Twitter has been a boon to many businesses because of its trending lists and hash tag search options. Businesses can uses both these functions to research not just overall reaction to a company or product but reactions to individual features, uses, costs or quality.

Hashtags allow a company to shape and organize responses; researchers can solicit views about a specific trait of a product, service or advertisement and then tell followers to put a telltale hashtag to respond to specific questions. This allows for ultra customized feedback about anything. In fact, if you drum up enough discussion about some quality, feature or use of a product, you might get it trending.

5. To Follow Up on Marketing Behavior

Because friends and followers forge actual relationships with a company and interact with them over time. Businesses can follow up on consumer behavior, repeatedly asking for feedback on feedback. They can ask for clarification on views, solicit more in-depth responses and even have long-time customers agree to participate in trials of new products. Social media allows relationship-based marketing on a far larger scale that was possible before.

The Impact of Technology on Market Research

1. Advanced Analytics

Analysing the data is as important as collecting the data. With increased avenues of data collection, it is crucial for agencies to be able to analyse data methodically. Technological advancements have made the analysis of data today real quick and easy. Agencies can now strengthen customer relationships and maintain communication with advanced analytics which can further result in customer retention. Companies on their part develop in-house modules to make sense of mountains of data to then convert it into meaningful reports.

2. Social Media

Social media is transforming the interaction and communication between individuals throughout the world at the same time it is impacting business and communication tremendously. Market research is no exception and is witnessing an expansion of the landscape from the time social media has stepped in. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. are helping in transforming this sector big-time. Social media is extremely engaging for users and has evolved to become a genuine and transparent platform for data. Without compromising on the user privacy and other confidentiality requirements market research can collate valuable data that could go a long way in helping brands and companies in understanding their customers better.

3. Data Collection

New age software enables researchers to be more specific and focused in measuring data and feedback, making the process of interaction and operation effortless and uncomplicated. It is a substantial tool for any business to collate insights and to learn more about their consumers.

The best part of technology in market research is mobility. Whether in the office, out in the most remote areas or on-the-go, the advanced software can collect feedback and consumer insights and engage both the consumer and the researcher more effectively.

4. Creation of new research roles

Evolution of technology is resulting in the creation of new roles. These technological advances are a godsend for those who are unemployed and wish to build a career. For some departments to adapt to the changes is very difficult as they are used to working in a certain manner. Therefore, new roles to strategize as well as process the vast data from social media and mobile data and to further ensure that this data is translated efficiently is vital.

Emerging Market Research Technologies

1. Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality, in the sense of ‘looking at 3D stuff whilst wearing a silly looking helmet/pair of goggles’ seems to have been around for ages. However, the nearest most people got to it was a View Master (the underwhelming 3D effect slide viewer you looked into and clicked through images). It finally gained some ‘real world’.Virtual Reality in research however, is still likely to be limited to the research facility because of the equipment required and need to make sure that participants are taking part in a safe environment. Here’s something we can really work with now; imagine a task in which you ask your participants to go into a supermarket and rate packaging and PoS, receiving prompts as they go around the store. Or what about designing a transport check-in system, where participants can move around the area to show where they would expect to see certain elements rather than where they actually are?

2. Wearables

At present, the need is mostly centred around health, with the majority of apps being developed around that use case. There is clearly a lot of data you can glean from wearables – with participants’ permission. Heart rate could tell you about their reaction to a product, marketing contact or a service encounter (though you would still need to ask further questions to ascertain the reasons for an increase in heart rate – it may be because an ad was exciting, or because it made them angry).

Wearable technology is led by innovation. Disney’s new MyMagic+ system, which offers theme park visitors a wristband they can use to enter the park, purchase concessions, pay for rides, access hotel rooms, and more. While offering these conveniences, it also tracks all of these activities to give Disney detailed insights into visitor behaviour and preferences to analyse the performance of various marketing and product development initiatives, and highlight needs for further customisation. These insights can be used to improve the service at all stages.

3. Internet of Things

The amount of data we can collect from these devices is vast. Imagine an energy company wants to understand their customers’ energy use over Christmas. Previously, they could only see how much each customer was using when a meter reading was submitted, and maybe analyze this in conjunction with a survey or diary study about energy use over the period. Now a combination of Smart Meters and wirelessly connected central heating controllers could mean a much richer stream of data around which to start the conversation, and design offers accordingly – even at a personalized level.

4. Visual Tracking

It is the technology which tracks the activity of eye. What we look, ignore, pay attention to and how our pupils respond to different stimuli? The conceptualization of tracking the eyes is fundamental but its operation and explanation is relatively difficult.

Explanation of visual tracking data can be done in various ways but the most used one is to study the movement of one or more candidates across a computer/mobile screen. Each eye particulars are observed and translated into a set of pixel groups. After this one can see the areas where the person focused on the screen then the interpretation can be done.

This process helps in knowing which features were seen, which content is looked first or ignored and any other gaze- related queries.

5. Scanning Technology

Scanning technology is when the customers are allowed to carry their own scanning devises in the mart, through these they can scan the item they want to buy and see the available offers. The preceding purchasing behavior of the customers was only on the loyalty but with this method one can know the different aspects on which customer thinks, gives first preference to which ad or item, company, category of products, spending levels and buying behavior.

6. Sensory Research

Sensory Market Research analyzes the brain waves and the heart rates and skin responses to the products. Through this sensory research, we are able to get a broader picture of consumers’ responses to the products and services. It can deliver not only the data, but also heat maps which are valuable in determining the product features, pricing, packaging and positioning of the products in domestic and global markets

7. Mobile ethnography

Blending qualitative and quantitative methodologies, mobile ethnography methods such as real-time experience tracking (RET), give researchers unparalleled access to the impressions brands make on individuals as they go through their day keeping an online diary (often synced with desktop for greater flexibility and depth) within a structured approach that prompts them to input detailed information, upload images, and stream video.

RET attempts to eliminate the potential cloudiness caused by time and the disconnect of trying to imagine a situation while seated at a desktop computer by obtaining the insights from participants as they interact in the real world, offering what many say is a more honest and reliable assessment of their journey as consumers – helping identify the touch points and their effectiveness along the way.

10. Automatic content recognition

In a multiscreen world, automatic content recognition (ACR) technology may play a pivotal role in connecting experiences across devices. By recognising the audio or visual “fingerprint” of content, a mobile device can identify the television programme, online video, or song an individual is being exposed to at that precise moment. Most commonly, this technology is seen in apps like Shazam, but it is also being incorporated directly into devices. While this clearly has implications for creating a targeted convergence of online and television advertisements, it also opens doors for market researchers to identify and deploy surveys to users immediately based on the content they are consuming in the moment.

Alternately, ACR could be used to customise a questionnaire in the moment by picking up on cues in the survey respondent’s environment to ask questions tailored to that particular content.

11. Natural language questioning and processing

Made famous by Siri, natural language processing and understanding has made considerable advances in the last few years, and is seeing an increased level of integration within market research tools. As natural language processing becomes more sophisticated, so do the insights it can glean from analysing the vast amounts of social sentiment data being created by the proliferation of social media activities.

12. Biometric data

As camera technology in computing and mobile devices has advanced along with image processing algorithms, developers have been able to capture and analyse details about human-machine interactions on an unprecedented level. Leading the charge are technologies that track eye moments and facial expressions to offer deeper insights into perceptions and behaviour.

For example, Realeyes aims to help advertisers gauge the emotional impact of their campaigns by analysing the facial expressions of individuals via webcam as they respond to their advertisements – and this data can be collected, analysed and delivered in real time.