Online qualitative research is a popular research methods that enables you to understand why people (ie. your customers or target consumers) do what they do, and what their attitudes and behaviours are. It's a method used by researchers to unearth rich contextual insight and help their clients make informed decisions.
Online qual, as it is sometimes called, is about having an open, exploratory and analytical approach to understand what people think, feel, say and do. Research is carried out using research technology technology platforms in either a group setting or one-to-one, and can be either live or asynchronous (sequential).
The participants that you recruit are tasked with structured and un-structured questions, activities and exercises designed to surface conscious and non-conscious thoughts, feelings and emotions. These interactions also allow the capture of important moments and experiences as they happen.
Online qual delivers rich, contextual customer insights that are used to inform new strategic initiatives such as NPD and innovation, and to develop and evaluate new concepts.
What do you really want to know about people?
Insight gleaned from engaging just 10 people can be more valuable than questioning several thousand. 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 qual research?
There are many advantages of using online qual over face-to-face research, and many researchers see it as a superior method. Specifically, online qual research will 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 cost of travel and hiring facilities. With more time to reflect and ponder your next steps, online qual also enables you to deliver insight with greater impact and removes the group effects of face-to-face research.
Go deeper. To get a true understanding of what's taking place, researchers must follow up initial questions and probe deeper. The asynchronous nature of online qual allows the time to probe more, and deeper than face-to-face research, and it gives you more time with each individual participant.
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.