With the world of market research on the brink of a new technological boom - virtual and augmented reality, advanced gamification, artificial intelligence-driven processes, and so much more - it is easy to forget the impact of the humble video.
What has become one of the most basic modes of communication after face-to-face, phone calls, and online messaging, videos have been a staple in market research throughout all stages of the experience, even in this technology-obsessed era. So, we need to remind ourselves of the power videos hold.
Videos have been used for a long time in market research, initially to record face-to-face focus groups and vox pops for later analysis. This was the original use of videos in the data collection stage, but when videos really came into their own was alongside the rise of online market research.
Online research broke down the many geographic barriers that restricted the scale and scope of market research, allowing it to flourish into a behemoth of insight generation that industries can rely on utterly. Online and videos go hand-in-hand – with commercial technology able to transmit live video directly to researchers (facilitating live online focus groups), and recordings, researchers have access to consumers who can test products, answer questions, and hold debates all from the comfort of their own living room, bedroom, wherever they feel most comfortable.
But while videos are still very useful in this way today, with the advent ad refinement of smartphones in the 2010s, consumers can now record their own videos or even live stream their experiences with a brand, allowing researchers to see the world in the eyes of the consumer, gathering rich, qualitative data in real-time for the most up to date and accurate insights.
Called ethnographic research, this lets researchers observe how consumers live their lives; through this, the use of videos has increased dramatically and there are a good number of different ways for videos to be used in the data collection stage, to name a few:
These regular recordings are brilliant for longer-term studies, as they usually illustrate natural changes over time. Researchers monitoring video diaries can draw out data that will inform the resulting insights over time, evolving and refining the accuracy so that any decisions that are made can be made in confidence. These types of studies can be used for any type of research, but product and service testing are two of the most frequent uses of video diaries.
UX website testing
When user experience research expanded to online services, these videos were recordings of a desktop screen as the participant moves through the motions of exploring a new website, or going through a set of motions if they’re testing out a new service or page of a website. This still happens; however, we’ve now expanded this to other technologies such as tablets and smartphones too.
These are brilliant for quick temperature testing of a subject, and can be gathered by researchers face-to-face with participants out and about, or can be sent in to researchers from wherever. Vox pops are also great for initial research into what customers and consumers already know about a subject, before moving onto the next stage that seeks to better inform their knowledge.
Online focus groups
Online focus groups can be recorded with technology similar to that used for online UX recordings. While researchers can see in real-time the reactions of participants when asked certain questions or shown certain resources that they are required to comment on, recording the session allows researchers to go back through the videos and pick up on anything they might have missed during the live session. Automated facial analysis processes can also be applied to the videos in order to shorten the analysis stage and allow the researcher to focus on drawing out valuable insights.
Throughout all of this, it’s important to note that videos in the data collection stage aren’t all taken from the consumers’ end. Researchers can make videos too for participants to view – videos to introduce the research experience participants are about to get involved in, videos to explain how the platform works, videos to introduce certain tasks and explain how to contribute to discussions… videos are a versatile medium that connect researchers and consumers in a variety of ways. But researchers aren’t the only ones who need to connect to the participants, stakeholders and the wider business stand to gain a lot from this connection too.
Connecting Stakeholders in Insight Activation
With consumer trends and wider businesses evolving with the times, it’s time our insight activation strategies did too. Too long have board meetings been governed by quantitative statistics that are clinical and disconnected from the participants they came from – so it’s time to look to creatively reengaging stakeholders and the wider business to the consumers they look to attract, and the customers they serve. Videos are a simple and effective way to do just that.
Videos of participants collected during the data collection phase will put a face to the statistics that can still be served alongside these videos. Seeing the participants in person will go a long way to connecting stakeholders and other personnel directly with customers, and also engage them more with insights and recommendations we serve. In this sense, video testimonials and vox pops are brilliant for supporting the insights researchers generate.
But videos can also be used to engage the wider business in other ways, we don’t need to show them clips of the participants themselves (although with the right consent this can be done too); animated videos are a brilliant substitute for email newsletters, as they’re engaging but brief enough to communicate powerful insights in mere seconds, which can then be taken into account during the decision-making processes of individual employees throughout the day.
Videos have become essential pieces in the market research puzzle. Not only do videos provide great ways for researchers to track changes over time, but the insights they record are brilliant for maintaining focus over many subjects at once. While videos now can be requested from researchers, consumers are recording all the time. On social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. researchers have the capacity to gather video data from consumers who might have already covered the topic they’re looking to research.
However, looking at this in a more generalised sense, the role video plays in market research can be boiled down to this simple truth: Video allows people for all places to contribute to market research in a way face-to-face research simply cannot.
As a graduate of Creative Writing, Emily has a passion for content creation. She brings our global vision to life through her excellent writing and editorial skills across a broad selection of our content, and manages communication through social media channels. You can follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.