Online Research Communities

Online Research Communities

Imagine a group of your target consumers, or your customers, together in a room next door that you can enter at any time and get answers to your most important questions. That's exactly what an online research community is and they are now one of the research tools used by consumer brands and agencies.

Online research communities provide an quick and agile way to learn about the people that matter the most, and to explore new ideas and evaluate new concepts. The are sometimes called customer advisory boards, insight panels, MROCs and many other things. They connect brands to consumers and surface valuable ideas and insight to inform your decision-making and support growth; from proposition development to communication campaigns. Our technology (and others) lets you engage consumers in a highly structured way so you can capture thoughts, feelings, ideas and feedback when it matters the most.


What happens in an online research community?

Participants are recruited that match your target profile - either from external sources such as panels or from your existing customer data. Once onboarded, they are tasked with answering questions and completing activities such as diaries, discussions, polls, surveys and stimulus response. They can upload pictures and video as well as type how they feel, helping you better understand the triggers and motivations. Responses are probed so you can dig deeper, and in return participants earn rewards along the way.

Why use online research communities?

Explore lifestyles, surface ideas and evaluate concepts. Research communities help you unlock consumer-centred creativity and engage brand advocates. They the most adaptive and rapid way to understanding what consumers think and how they relate to products and services in their lives. You can test messaging, concepts and propositions, or co-create new solutions.


Quick or slow, they’re always efficient. Research communities are a very efficient way of finding out what you need to know. Some, such as OMD’s 'Your Voice' UK, run for years and others for a matter of days or weeks. We can advise you on lean and agile research methodologies that get you insights as quickly and effectively as possible.


Deep, rich insight when it matters. Online qualitative research delivers deep, contextual insight in real time. It adds colour to your 'big data' and lets you explore fresh ideas with consumers. Marketing is shifting from a position of brand control to one of brand collaboration with consumers. Where does your organisation stand on this?


Large communities or small intimate groups. Size doesn't matter! Communities can be a few people for deep cultural immersion, or there can be hundreds of your customers or target consumers all providing their feedback and sharing their everyday lives.


Online research communities are more agile. Compared with in-person research, online research communities are a highly flexible and more iterative way to conduct research. There’s also no physical barrier to participation with most global citizens now online. Using Together, you can run communities anywhere in the world in 35 different languages, getting answers and insights rapidly.

Nine Ways

Want to find out more?

With help from our industry friends we put together this useful guide ' 9 Ways To Improve Your Online Research Communities'. Download it now with the link below..

Download my guide

You'll be in good company

Research communities are used by the world's leading consumer brands, delivering significant value and driving growth

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