There are two emerging areas and one persistent issue in online market research that keep my brain going overtime these days as I work with the TrueSample team on the product vision for TrueSample. They are:
1. Real-time sampling and social media sampling
2. Mobile surveys
3. Representivity in online sampling
We know that we can eliminate fake, duplicate, and unengaged survey respondents from online sample panels or even mobile sample panels, but to take TrueSample to the next level and address the emerging market research data quality concerns that arise with new sampling methods and survey modalities or to solve the ever-nagging issue of representivity, we have to think bigger and more out of the box. There are more nuanced biases and risks to account for, and we are building a solution that will get us there.
Just some random thoughts to share with you:
Real-time sampling and social media sampling are here to stay – like it or not. Despite researchers’ concerns about the quality issues that arise from real-time or social media samples, these sampling methods hold much promise, if used wisely. The key is to understand what the actual market research data quality issues are — rather than just dismissing these methods altogether. And once we understand them, we can build technology that automatically addresses the issues in a consistent and repeatable way.
It may be obvious, but — the value of mobile surveys can only be unlocked when we know how to keep mobile respondents engaged. I’m just not sure this nut has been cracked yet. Sure, there are companies using mobile surveys in innovative ways — like obtaining quick ratings for new movies or having consumers scan barcodes for appealing products in stores. But if anyone is thinking that we can move our existing concept tests or attitude and usage studies to a mobile device, they’ve got another thing coming. I say we need to walk before we run… we have to start measuring and quantifying respondent engagement on mobile devices using tools like TrueSample SurveyScore. We have to understand what works and what doesn’t, and we have to build data models that help us to design effective surveys for a mobile audience.
In some cases, traditional identity validation may decrease representivity in online samples. This may sound controversial coming from someone whose product provides identity validation as one of its features. But common sense says that if you’re using name and mailing address as a way to validate the identity of a survey respondent (like most panel companies are these days), then you may be rejecting survey respondents who are “real” but do not have a constant or long-term address, like 18-24 year olds. This segment, along with other “high velocity” segments, such as Hispanics, need to be verified using new and different data sources. Luckily, we’ve already identified a solution that is now a part of TrueSample and we’re conducting analysis of its impact on market research data quality as we speak. So stay tuned for more info soon, and please, share your thoughts on these new innovations in Market Research with us in the comment section below.