Digital Delivers Unprecedented Research Opportunities - But We Must Take Time to Listen


Digital media is changing the Market Research industry landscape forever – in multiple positive ways – according to speakers at Confirmit’s ‘Digital Media: Making MR Great Again’ event this week.

Industry experts from consumer insight specialist Join the Dots, data technology company Lucid, data solutions provider Norstat and emotional intelligence software provider Realeyes, discussed the innovations that MR businesses are harnessing to create value for clients in a changing research world.

Alongside Paul Quinn and Miguel Ramos of Confirmit, they explained the power that tools such as video, audio, social media, chatbots and AI have to deliver richer stories and context-driven insights that support strategic decision making.

Rosie Ayoub, UK Managing Director of Nortstat, explained that although it’s impossible to predict the full impact of digital, researchers can already harness today’s technologies to deliver much deeper insights than before. Looking at the potential research power that chatbots may deliver, she said: “While the distant future of data collection is beyond our wildest imagination, we can try to conceive where current technology may lead us in the coming years. Our studies have already shown that giving chatbots a personality, for example, really increases engagement.”

The speakers also raised a note of caution, querying whether researchers are taking enough time to actively listen to and understand social and digital channels. With internet users due to spend a total of one billion years online in 2018, Ellie Osborne, Research Director at Join the Dots, explained that “digital is a huge opportunity to gain an insight into people’s lives that we’d just not be able to get through traditional research methods alone.”

Join the Dots took this one step further by highlighting the role that researchers can play in making sense of the digital landscape, being ideally skilled and experienced to put structure around the wealth of unstructured data that digital channels deliver.

Arno Hummerston, VP Marketing and Product Innovation at Lucid, underlined the challenges that this amount of data presents for those across the research industry, particularly when it comes to analysis. He explained that the limits presented by technology, compliance, regulation and lack of data sharing from big social players makes measurement incredibly hard, yet many believe faster, better technology should be able to provide us with all the answers quickly and easily.

Of course, a critical part of research is asking questions. But this fundamental premise also came under the spotlight, with Realeyes’ Director of Customer Development Peter Haslett demonstrating that digital has the power to provide us with more answers than ever before without asking a single question.

The combination of rapidly evolving emotion recognition technologies and the increasing acceptability of using video to share everyday life stories and experiences offers real opportunities for the research community to gather detailed consumer insight without the need for traditional surveys.

The event enabled delegates from across the MR industry to discuss the widespread opportunities and challenges that the newest wave of digital experiences present, and the huge potential they promise for capturing insight with greater context than ever before.