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Online Qualitative Research

Online qualitative research connects you directly with target audiences. It’s used to elicit valuable human insight from customers you know and consumers you'd like to know.

Online ‘qual’ is about having an open, exploratory and analytical approach to understand what people think, feel, say and do. It's used by those involved in consumer facing roles including marketing, customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), product and service design, strategy and those working in communications. Research is carried out using online platforms in either a community setting or on a one-to-one basis. Participants perform tasks and activities designed to creatively probe what they really think. In the right hands, research tools can deliver powerful customer insights that are used to help with everything from decision making and implementing new customer-centric directions, to delivering superb advertising campaigns, targeted messaging and better products and services.

What do you really want to know about people?

The insight from n=10 people can be more valuable than n=10M data points. The findings can be extrapolated, tested on wider audiences and then applied at scale. Marketing 'big data' has made it simple to segment audiences, understand digital trends and predict ‘how’ a consumer will interact with you in an online environment. However, the numbers tell you nothing about the consumer context and ‘why’ people click on a link, what really interests them about your brand, product or service and how they behave offline. Online research enables an understanding of cultural contexts: what’s going on in that customer's life, what they think, what motivates them and why they behave in the way they do.

Why use online research?

Online qualitative research offers many advantages over traditional offline qualitative research methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews (IDIs). Specifically, online qualitative research can help you:


Remove guess work and improve decision-making. Researchers can probe and put a lens on target audiences, getting you the answers needed to develop truly consumer-centric approaches, unlocking customer-led growth as you go.


Cover ground quicker. It’s quick and convenient for researchers and participants. Turnaround time, from start to deep-insights can be as little as 7-10 days. Designing and executing great online research that utilises agile and lean methodologies is critical in this respect, as is recruiting the right participants and online moderator.


Deliver more impact for less cost. Doing research online removes the logistic costs associated with research in a physical environment. Further can help recruit the right participants, design and set up the online research, moderate the study then help you explore the insights and results. Alternatively, our technology makes is very easy to run research projects yourself!


Participant engagement is high. The physical and logistical barriers to participation are removed, communities are virtual environments that participants find novel and convenient. Many traditional research biases are mitigated using online methodologies. Mobile research is carried out by people using their smartphones, what could be easier?


Simplify your international or multi-market research. Research is unbounded by geographical location. It can be carried out easily in many different languages using online research technologies, without having to leave your desk. If you want to explore new target audiences overseas then online qualitative research is the perfect way to augment the market research you may have completed already.


Capture moments and events as they happen. Participants use mobile apps to respond to tasks and activities. Our mobile research platform, Tandem, makes it easy to get real time insight from people that matter the most, in the most important moments such as when they are making product decisions, unwrapping new products or in social events and gatherings.


Want to know more about online research?

Check out our resources area. It's jam-packed with best practice on all aspects of online qualitative research. You can download guides, presentations and videos for free.

A Guide to Qualitative Research Methods

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