When is the Right Time to Use Online Research?
You might ask yourself, why would I use an online or mobile approach for qualitative research? Isn’t it basically the same as doing in-person qualitative but in the virtual world? Well, while it’s similar to in-person qualitative, technology-based approaches hold a whole new world of possibility and are beneficial in many situations.Here are seven of my favorite reasons for using a tech-based research approach:

  1. Reaching a target with a low incidence. Are the people you wish to talk to difficult to locate?  Is it difficult to find them within a single market or even geographic region? With online qualitative, you can recruit nationwide without sacrificing any specifications of your target consumer since you are able to cast a wider net.
  2. Getting busy, hard to reach people in the same place at the same time. For example, your project could require you to talk to pediatric heart surgeons, working mothers, moms with newborns, or CEOs. These busy people do not have the time travel to an in-person focus group, but often can go online multiple times throughout their day, at their leisure, to complete the interview or assignments.
  3. Recruiting those that are less mobile or have difficulty leaving their home.
    Sometimes, we need to recruit those with health issues or other attributes that do not allow them to be in contact with others or make it challenging to travel to a focus group facility. Conducting your research online can eliminate these concerns completely.
  4. You wish to discuss a sensitive subject. An online platform makes it easier for a respondent to share information that may be personal in nature since they are not face to face with a moderator, other respondents, or thinking about who is sitting behind the mirror. Out of sight, out of mind!
  5. Save money and no need to travel. You can often conduct online research with
    more people than you can for in-person qualitative for the same cost or less. Not only is it more convenient for the respondents to go online and participate, YOU can go online at any time too!! You also save money by not traveling. And since you are not traveling, you now are able to read your kids a story and sleep in your own bed.
  6. Quick Turnaround Time. You want insights and fast. Since there is such a larger pool of people to recruit from, researchers and online facilities are able to recruit people very quickly. In fact, they often can recruit for your study without an algorithm in as little as three days. Shorter recruiting time often results in quicker study execution and uncovering insight that matter at a faster pace.
  7. Consumer engagement over an extended period of time. Personally, I believe this is the most compelling reason to do online research. You have the opportunity to interact with the respondents for multiple days rather than only a few hours. This often leads to richer learning and deeper insights into the consumers’ relationship with the brand/product.  Also, how many times have you thought of something on your flight back or drive home that you wish you had been able to ask during the focus group or interview? With online research, you can!!

How Does My Recruiting Strategy Change for Online Research?

Ok, so now you may have decided that tech-based research is for you, but how do you change your recruiting approach?  Well, you don’t really have to.

Typically, any type of respondent that may be included in in-person focus groups is able to participate in an online study provided they have a computer and the knowledge to use it well. However, at Insights in Marketing, we take this tech-savvy requirement one step further by making sure that the respondent has high speed internet and uses the Internet for something other than checking email on a regular basis. We also require that all of our participants have the capability and knowledge to upload photos and, in some cases, video clips in addition to providing written responses. We believe that this makes the findings that much richer and helps bring consumer feedback to life.