What platform should you select for conducting online market research?

Business Focus

Best platform for online market research :

You have an excellent product idea to test in market, but before the product launch you would like to conduct a market research. You like to know your customers’ demand and perceived value for this new product. The key challenge here is to reach your customer segment and ask their views about what they expect from a similar type of product you planned.

There are two broad ways to reach clients –

1) Conventional market survey – here you have to select 100 prospects ( survey samples ) and send them survey questionnaire. You can appoint a market research company to collect sample information related to your product or

2) Do it Yourself Model : You can visit or contacts 100 prospects and get their inputs or views about your product . Conventional method such as face to face survey and telephonic interview are very time consuming and costly. If you are a small business owner or online entrepreneur, these methods require few hundred dollars investment for collecting customer insights about your product.

Then, what is the alternate method?

We suggest you going for online market research using online survey taking platforms. Select your customer segments (may be 100-200 customers) and send them emails for taking survey.

What is the best platform for online market research ?

Lately mobile is becoming a popular platform for taking online survey. In last few years, we have observed phenomenal growth of smart phone and tablet users in US . This influences marketers to reach survey respondents over mobile devices such as tablet, Smart phones.

Recently The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) has started “Foundations of Quality” (FoQ2) research initiative to find reliability of mobile platform for survey taking.

Why should you select mobile platform for online market research ?

1. Mobile platform is an emerging and cost effective platform for taking survey. As per Pew research, there is a sharp increase in Tablet and smart phones owners in US – Smart phone users increased to 56 % in 2013 from 40 % in 2011 . Tablet users increased from 11 % to 34% in 2013.

Mobile phone increase

Increase in mobile phone Usage

So there is an increasing market of mobile users and we can administer our survey questions on this segment for quick response and quality survey data.

2. The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) initially discounted mobile as a survey taking platform, but their sponsors insisted to take mobile as a medium for survey taking. So we have found a increasing trend among companies to take data from mobile users in market survey initiative.

As per Techcrunch , mobile data make 15 % internet traffic and we have 1.5 billion users worldwide .

Now questions how could engage mobile users for survey taking?

This is an important question. You send mails to 200 users (opt in users from your regular mail subscription list ). What is the chance that all of them would participate in your survey ?

As per Marketingland report , if you have a permission based marketing list , then email opening rate is 48 % . So based on this data only 50 % will open up your mail mail and 30 % of this users would probably complete the survey .

Email opening rate

Tacking survey on mobile may be cost effective, but getting completed survey response from bulk emailing would be a challenge to get enough completed survey response .

In our example : Out of 200 emails you get: 200 * 0.50 * 0.30 = 30 completed survey response.

If you are sending bulk mail to hundreds of emails owners (not from opt in/not permission based contact lits ), then open up rate would be less, hence the less completed survey responses .

Next logical question is how to engage mobile users to take complete your survey. Success depends on many parameters while designing questionnaire for mobile or laptop users.

( Source : surveymonkey )

Here are few online market research tips for successful mobile survey!

When you plan to conduct online research or online market research, you need to analyze following points:

1. Plan your survey based on habit and usage pattern of your target segment: Make a Plan to survey whether you are targeting gen X or gen Y or particular ethnic group. As different segments have different ways to access online content.

Based on findings from FOQ2 survey of mobile respondents for online survey questionnaire revealed the following facts:

• 18 -29 years : use smart phone for taking online survey
• 30 -45 years segment: use desktop or laptop for survey taking .
So you need to understand habit and usage pattern of your target segment.

2. Design questionnaire in such a way that encourage online respondents to complete survey on their devices.

Research findings are:

Time to complete survey

a. Time to complete the survey is inversely proportion to screen size. If desktop users take 10 min to complete a survey, then smart users take 14 min to complete that survey .Look at the survey completion time on different mobile devices.

b. You should select the number of questionnaire based on the type of mobile device used in your target segment . If your target segment is young people using smart phone, then make the questionnaire shorter. And if your target segment is older generation and predominantly use PC or laptop, then you can add few more questions in the survey questionnaire .

3. Give more importance to  layout and design of survey questionnaire : We have found that so far major online business owners or market research firms give more importance to website designs for mobile or others hand held devices . Your website may be look good on smart phone screen. When you share a web link with your customers for survey taking, we have found more than web design aspect, respondents are more comfortable with layout and design of survey questionnaire. So you need to give equal importance in placing texts, images or videos in the survey so that respondents should find it easy to complete these tasks .

Tips are here:
a. Questions should be clearly written and easy to understand .
d. Send the survey questions at suitable time. Based on Survey monkey data : majority survey invitation send during weekend between 5AM and 4PM PST.

4. Develop questionnaire based on language preference of your target segment :  if your target segment is any ethnic group , it is better to go for the questionnaire in their regional languages . If your customers segment consists of 30 % Hispanic population, then it is better go for 2 set of questionnaire. One set is in English and other in Spanish. Research has found that it improves the survey response rate.

5. Develop proper segmentation strategy for online market research : Small business owners have limited budget for online market survey. So they need do the proper segmentation carefully, may be with the help of any online research companies or doing it on your own.

How to do segmentation : Some quick tips :
a. You can take the help of Google trends using focused keywords representing your product or services.
b. Select the regions showing high search volumes. You can get city wise data for high volume keywords .
c. Look at local database or association to define sample size . You can choose 50 people or business for survey taking. If you have any opt in database , then you can send them mail as a news letter form and requesting their views about your new proposed product .
d. Alternatively, You can appoint a online market research company for generating a list of respondents with emails or telephone .

6. Using online survey tool to send your survey questionnaire :  Once you have target segment ready with email data , Then you can use survey monkey for designing questionnaire. But keep in mind usage pattern or age or some common habits of target segments while designing the length of survey .

You can do some local test to check suitability of questionnaire in terms of quality of response and response time, completion time etc .
Based on the above views, you can do necessary modifications . Now you are ready with a set of updated questionnaires and you can send the questionnaire to your respondents.

Conclusions :

We have found conducting online survey requires understanding your segment carefully . You can start with some secondary research to understand your segment . Then you should carefully select proper media for reaching them . We find mobile is a cost effective platform conducting online surveys . You can appoint offshore team such as any experienced Virtual assistant company to conduct online market research , design questionnaire , conducting survey etc . This saves lots of time and money . While selecting virtual assistant company for market research , you need check their credential and feedback before appoting them for project . But , if you have time , you can definitely do it on your own . Use the above tips for online market research and let me know your views .


Please read our other blog posts :

Top 10 YouTube Video Marketing tips from top virtual marketing assistant company in India
The importance of Qualitative Health Research


About Author :

Gobinda Roy is the ex- co-Founder of Ennovation Consulting ( now on leave ) and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 14 years. He is alumnus of India’s premier Institute IIT Kharagpur and has over 12 years of corporate experience. . He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing online and marketing research strategies for companies in the US , Australia , UK and across Europe. He is co-founder of Lakshay Foundation and mentor at India’s top Business School CIIE, IIM Ahmadabad. You can Contact Gobinda at : Facebook , LinkedIn

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