Social media has been a part of our lives for about a decade now (maybe more if you were an avid MySpace or Friendster user), but still there appear to be few research companies harnessing its true power to get in touch with consumers and capture their opinions in real time.
On the topic of new social tech, there is an abundance of pushback. "What is the data telling me?" "How can it be coded/normalized/interpreted?" "Does it fit with our current approach?" "How can I filter inappropriate content?" -- these are just a few of the many valid concerns around using new media in research. Social data is unstructured, and doesn't give us access to probe users in the way we might in our current research platforms, both in the qual and quant world.
But are we leaving something on the table? Can we leverage the fact that hundreds of millions of people are on Instagram, willing to share their lunch with you, show you what their #OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) is? Don’t we want to know what consumers are eating and wearing?
A newcomer on the social scene that has my gears turning is Periscope. The app lets users live stream video from their mobile device, and lets their followers on Twitter know when a broadcast begins. Could we tap into an app that is already gaining popularity (it made headlines for amassing 1 million users in only 10 days), and let the consumer tell us when she is ready to take us along for a shopping trip, brush her teeth, or engage in whatever ritual/experience we are interested in?
|What is this couple shopping for? I bet they'd be willing to show you!|
There is no question that logistical issues abound, to which I say "bring it on". This is what we in the online MR space do daily -- tackle logistical and technical issues to get access to our consumers where they work, live, and play.
As an industry we are creative enough to sort out the logistics, and researchers everywhere should be paying attention to an app which, on its homepage, implores us to "Explore the world through someone else's eyes"
About the Author: Anthony Germinario is Director of Technical Product Management at BuzzBack, where he is focused on developing and integrating unique respondent and reporting experiences for online research. He has earned his PMP certification and holds a B.S.B.A from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. You can keep up with him on Twitter @AGermBB and on LinkedIn, as well as on BuzzBack’s blog.