Marketing Research Sector: Online marketing research – some key questions

Yesterday, I had a presentation at the social media forum regarding online marketing research. 

Here is the copy, FYI.

Following are key questions which were raised in the session plus in the recent survey which i conducted online about internet marketing research. I am thankful to everyone who participated in the survey and also to the participants and organizers of the media forum. I am trying to answer key queries to the best of my knowledge. Hope you will find the answers useful.

  • Question 1 – Online marketing research is cheap and in many cases it is free etc ?
    • ANSWER – First thing first, cheap is a relative term. In labor intensive markets technology is expensive and vice versa. This theory applies to MR as well, in most countries of Asia the cost of face to face is lower than a scientific sample driven online survey instrument.
    • Cost of a survey is dependent on the following
      • Target audience: the difficult the audience i.e. the lower their ratio in population  the higher the cost 
      • Survey monitoring:
      • Depth of questionnaire: the deeper, longer the questionnaire the higher the cost 
      • Cost of the survey instrument development: printing, software etc
      • Quality controls: the usual quality control is 20% back-checking at each stage; however it varies on client demand. The higher the check the higher the cost
    • Free! There is no such thing called free lunch. Either there are hidden costs or hidden implications.


  • Question 2 – Anybody can conduct an equally good marketing research online?
    • ANSWER – Marketing research at its best is reliable estimation of Universe that helps users to understand and/or forecast the consumer trends
    • A good MR is dependent on the following
      • Objectivity: How tightly the objective is being defined and how thoroughly that has been captured through questionnaire/survey instrument
      • Sample structure and field work quality controls – guidelines for traditional research are public however online sampling guidelines are still not very public 
      • Analysis and reporting
  • Yes, everybody can conduct a project online but what differentiate a good researcher from a bad researcher are the aforementioned points. So its upto the user to decide the quality of research, researcher and research agency. I find marketing research buyers guide published by ESOMAR very useful on this front and recently MRS have created this index online for buyers (I have never used it myself, but you might find it useful)

  • Question 3 –  Online research is suitable only for products that are targeting teens 
    • ANSWER – It all depends on internet penetration and usage pattern of the country. In the western world any segment can be targeted and captured from women to teens. However in Asia mostly are teens. And if we look closely at the internet stats of UAE it is teens, women and working adults of upper SECs can be easily targeted for online MR. But before you jump the gun try and understand internet habits of your target segment.


  • What are the coming trends in the field of marketing research
    • Measuring influence of Social media consumers on brands: Well many specialist companies have evolved across the globe that can do that for you. I am listing a couple of them

                                                               i.      Onalytica

                                                             ii.      TNS cymfony

                                                           iii.      Radian6 (UK)

                                                           iv.      Nielsen BuzzMetrics

                                                             v.      Millward Brown Precis (UK)

                                                           vi.      Collective Intellect 

Also see: list of companies measuring multiple online consumer variables 

  •  Video research: with YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world, there is a clear direction towards video content. There are many companies which are measuring video content however I believe the only one which measure sentiments is visible measures 


  • Using virtual games: Some companies are using virtual games for marketing research e.g. market truths. And the trend is bound to go upwards on this front.  

Additional resources:

 Interesting paper by MRS published in 2007

Very interesting issue of ESOMAR: (just an advice) always read issues posted by one industry about the competing industry with caution and care. Enjoy reading

10 questions about online marketing research

In case you want to go through the presentation that delivered you can find it on slide-share


3 responses to “Marketing Research Sector: Online marketing research – some key questions

  1. Intenet marketing research stand alone is not sufficient.

    In my opinion, future is multi-channel surveys, where we merge cati, capi, hapi (pda) and online interviews.

    When you tell us about “Online research is suitable only for products that are targeting teens “…, ups… no totally correct but I think that it’s much accurate. However, if we use cati/mail/online merged, results of survey are better. CATI will allow us to push the sample and request the interview by mail.

    • Hi Roberto,

      Thanks for sharing a thoughtful direction i.e. multi-pronged surveys.

      As far as merging many survey instruments for one quantitative survey might lead to a technical problem of weighting the data, because of the difference of smapling frames. But if we use multiple survey instruments for different stages of the project that aims at covering different variables I think from technical percpectives it should be okay. What do you say?

      My statement about teens is basically a comment/question raised to me in a recent seminar and the answer to the question is it all depends on internet penetration (have edited it to make it more clear)

  2. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything.
    However just imagine if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this
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