The Complete Guide to Quantitative Market Research

The Complete Guide to Quantitative Market Research

Quantitative research is a chief category in the research sphere, along with qualitative research. An encompassing aspect of market research, it can include both primary and secondary methods of extracting data. 

Although used interchangeably with qualitative research, quantitative research is a distinct process that should not be confused with its counterpart. In fact, it is the opposite of qualitative research.

Let’s navigate through the waters of quantitative research in this complete guide.

What Defines & Makes Up Quantitative Research?

As its name suggests, quantitative research is the process of aggregating quantitative, or numerical data for research purposes. This data is used for a number of applications. These include:

  • Quantifying opinions, behaviors, attitudes and problems
  • Making generalizations
  • Forming predictions
  • Discovering patterns
  • Determining averages
  • Testing relationships

Quantitative research generally relies on a larger sample size in order to quantify any issue or variable. In order to achieve this, this research method involves using mathematical and statistical means. 

This type of research answers the “what” and the “how much” of a subject within a research endeavor. As it forms generalizations, this type of method involves surveying a larger population, using measurable data and processing all the data first and then analyzing it from a statistical standpoint.

The Four Main Types of Quantitative Research

There are four main ways to perform quantitative research. Aside from their methodology, these sub-categories also seek different types of answers and conclusions.

1. Descriptive Research

This is used to determine the state of variables. It describes the situation and environment surrounding a variable or topic. As such, it is used for arranging comparisons, outlining sample characteristics, overlooking emerging trends and confirming existing phenomena.

The data is collected by way of observation. Descriptive Research is used to form a hypothesis, but only after having aggregated all the necessary data.

2. Correlational Research

This research method is used to examine the relationships between different subjects and variables. Analyzing relationships is necessary to either test a hypothesis or a prediction. Because this research focuses on relationships between fixed variables, other outlying variables are not part of the investigation.

Correlational research is in direct opposition to experimental research, as none of the studied variables are manipulated. Correlations can be either positive or negative, with different degrees of the relationship’s strength.

3. Experimental Research

This method is used for finding whether there is a cause and effect relationship among variables. This kind of research relies on the scientific method. Unlike correlational research, experimental research involves manipulating variables.

Researchers would manipulate a variable to uncover its effect on another one. This method is frequently referred to as true experimentation, as no experimental undertaking leaves all variables unchanged; at least one must be influenced in some way. 

This includes manipulating, randomizing or reverting back a variable. The variables are then measured, calculated and compared.

4. Survey Research

The final research method is crucial to understanding behavior. In market research, it is often used to acclimate a brand with its target market’s desires, needs, points of contention and behaviors.

Surveys allow researchers to ask pointed questions to either discover their target audience or get a granular sense of their opinions. As such, they can be conducted within one group or many, for the sake of comparison.

Instead of turning to survey panels, which are likely to have skewed or biased results, researchers should use a random sample of people. A non-panel-based survey will garner more respondents that aren’t motivated by professional compensation.

Surveys can be administered by mail,  in-person, on the phone, or digitally. The latter has even more options: online surveys, third-party surveys, emails and in-app.

Examples of Questions for Quantitative Research

Survey research has a far larger scope of questions than do the other three types, as researchers can ask practically anything to conduct their studies. However, there are some best practices in survey questionnaires, such as focusing on your industry, your product and the desires of customers.

Learn more about asking insightful market research questions. Here are a few examples of quantitative research questions in the three other categories.

  1. Is working from home the best option to improve productivity for employees with long commutes?Variable: Working from home and in-office
    Demographic: Employees with long commutes
    Quantitative Research Type: Experimental
  2. How has the coronavirus changed employment for white-collar workers?
    Variable: Employment types and statuses
    Demographic: White-collar workers
    Quantitative Research Type: Experimental
  3. How often do working people travel for a holiday?
    Variable: Amount of times respondents travel during a holiday
    Demographic: working people
    Quantitative Research Type: Descriptive
  4. How much would you pay for a subscription to an entertainment magazine?
    Variable: payments for a magazine subscription
    Demographic: women aged 14-44, those interested in celebrities
    Quantitative Research Type: Descriptive
  5. What is the difference in smartphone usage between Millennials and senior citizens?
    Variable: Time spent on using a smartphone
    Demographic: Millennials and seniors
    Quantitative Research Type: Correlational
  6. Does the leadership style of car shop owners predict the job satisfaction of car salespeople?
    Variable: Leadership style and job satisfaction
    Demographic: Car shop employers and salespeople
    Quantitative Research Type: Correlational 

When to Use Quantitative Research and How to Analyze It

The quantitative research method has specific use cases. You ought to consider which is best for your particular business, which includes your strategy, your marketing and other facets.

The core of quantitative research is to quantify a phenomenon (a problem, an inadequacy, and a slew of other occurrences) and understand its prevalence. Researchers do this by observing large portions of a population.

You should use this form of research whenever you need to be presented with the state of things at a higher level, or from a bird’s eye view. This Is because this type of research can identify links between various factors, look for correlations and discover cause and effect relationships.

Researchers can then use the results of their findings to form predictions. This is useful in market research when launching a new product, brainstorming product ideas or innovations or growing a customer base.

To analyze this research, it should first be made quantifiable and objective. Researchers should pin down the scales and units of measurements in their various studies. Then, they should organize them into easily interpretable formats.

For example, once you gather the numerical data, you can enter it into a spreadsheet. Thereafter, you can organize it by desegregating it into graphs, charts and tables. Finally, you should draw data-based conclusions from your study. You can also do further sleuthing via advanced analytics.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Quantitative Research

Quantitative research has a bevy of benefits; it also has some hindrances. You should peruse both the positive and negative qualities of this research type before setting out on any major research project. The following may help you choose one form of research over the other, or use aspects of both.


  1. Larger sample pools: the larger the group of respondents, the more accurate are the results.
  2. Highly structured: Surveys, questionnaires, and other tools for recording numerical data
  3. Focused: The design of the study is determined before it begins
  4. Theory-based: Research tests a theory to provide support/proof
  5. Designed to Be Analyzed: Numbers/statistics exist as tables, charts, figures and other non-textual forms for easy analysis.
  6. Objective: Steering clear of bias as the research is separated from the data & only objective responses are sought.
  7. Direct comparisons of results: The study can be set in different cultural environments, times or different groups of participants with a statistical comparison of results.


  1. Focuses solely on numbers: This can be limiting as researchers may overlook other data and larger themes.
  2. Superficial Representations: It cannot adequately describe complex concepts (ex: feelings, opinions) it only shows the numbers behind them. 
  3. Several factors can invalidate results: A hypothesis and a model for collecting/ analyzing required; any mistake can lead to bias and inaccurate illustrations.
  4. Erred Structure: If any data is missing or if measurements are not clear, biases easily take precedence.

The Final Word on Quantitative Research

Market research is far too encompassing to fully complete, especially in a limited amount of time. To tackle market research, begin with a research method. Quantitative research is often a good starting point, as it shows you the existence of a problem by way of quantifying it.

Aside from confirming the existence, it can help confirm a hypothesis, find correlations and prove cause and effect relationships. A hard set of data can also help you make educated predictions.

While the three types of quantitative research methods are useful, they do have several disadvantages. The fourth one, ie, survey research helps fill in the gaps and inadequacies of numerical limitations. Interestingly enough, they too can be a source of hard data and numbers. 

Either way, market research is sure to benefit from incorporating surveys as part of the processes.

Frequently asked questions

What is quantitative market research?

Quantitative market research utilizes the techniques of quantitative research in order to better understand the target market. In quantitative research, the information gathered from surveys and questionnaires is converted into numerical values so it can be easily analyzed.

What types of questions do quantitative research answer?

Quantitative research seeks to define “what” and “how much.” It is used for identifying patterns, making predictions, establishing averages, and quantifying opinions, attitudes or behaviors.

What are the four main types of quantitative research?

The four main types of quantitative research are survey research, correlational research, descriptive research, and experimental research.

What type of surveys are used for quantitative research?

Quantitative surveys are best suited for quantitative research. In this type of survey, there are no open-ended questions, and all responses can be assigned a numerical value. In most cases, a quantitative survey is distributed to a large and random sample of individuals.

Why are large sample sizes important when conducting quantitative research?

A small sample size can lead to inaccurate results. The larger the sample size (i.e. the group of individuals who receive the survey), the more likely it is that the results will be statistically significant and accurate.

How to Conduct Real Estate Market Research Like a Pro

How to Conduct Real Estate Market Research Like a Pro

Conducting real estate market research is a considerably different feat than conducting any other kind of market research. This is because this vertical, by its very nature, is packed with market intelligence that can be applied not simply to real estate companies, but to buyers and agents, along with those looking for a new property.

Therefore, as a business, you’ll find a lot of overlap between business-facing research and research that the target market can stand to study. However, even when you come across information that seems more suitable for consumers to review, it is of high value to your business as well.

Why? Because it is crucial to tap into the minds of your target market, to see exactly what they’re presented with. This intel will also grant you comparisons between your own offerings and those in the real estate market. 

The Main Uses of Real Estate Market Research

Research for the real estate vertical can be used for a variety of purposes. The chief goal of market research for this industry is to discover if your business will be successful in a particular location.

Unlike other industries, real estate has an enormous focus on location and the brick and mortar aspect. It is self-explanatory as to why that is, nonetheless, getting a deep understanding of your target market is also essential.

Here are the key uses of market research for this sector:

  • To understand changes and trends in the real estate market at large
  • To understand the current housing/ space rental markets
  • To compare prices of similar properties with yours
  • To be informed on how much you can charge for rent (particularly for investment properties)
  • To gauge your own prices as reasonable, too high or too low
  • To be able to market your properties successfully (gain better reach, prospects and sales)
  • To choose the proper investments

How to Conduct Real Estate Market Research 

The following lists the necessary steps towards conducting a sufficient market research campaign within the real estate market. You’ll notice that this vertical demands doing an analysis on various elements. These remain constantly in existence in the sector, so it is critical to understand how to study each.

You’ll also notice that observing your target market doesn’t occur at a single step, rather it should be done in a variety of stages.

Step 1: Narrow down a region/neighborhood 

Since real-estate is location-based, you must first settle on a region or a neighborhood you are interested in serving. If you are undecided, consider a few areas that you’d like to learn more about. 

Identify the target market of your neighborhood. You can do so via secondary research, by finding the demographics of your intended neighborhood. There are several sources that fetch this data, including Neighborhood Scout, Census demographics data, for example for New York City and Movoto.

Aside from gleaning the target market, these tools gather other key info like crime, local schools and even real estate data. 

Step 2: Study Your Competition 

Once you have narrowed down a few neighborhoods to research, along with their respective target markets, it’s time to focus on the competition.

That means looking further into secondary sources. To do so, check for websites that provide real estate agent, vendor, supplier information in specific localities. BiggerPockets and  Parkbench neighborhood marketing platform, for example, provide information on local real estate agents and vendors.

As for a neighborhood itself, look into The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This website provides data on recently sold properties in specified areas.

You can also check The FNC Residential Price Index. This platform features exhaustive and up-to-date data on the real estate market from public records and valuations. This index also shines a light on market trends.

Step 3: Observe Your Desired Neighborhoods

Aside from looking at your direct competitors in the particular neighborhoods you set your sights on, you should also look into each neighborhood’s supply. This refers to the number of properties currently on offer in the neighborhoods. 

Then, you’ll need to find how in-demand a particular neighborhood is. To find this, you’ll have to survey your target market, or even the broader market of consumers seeking to find a residence or space to move into.

If you survey your target market, you can get their opinions about moving into a neighborhood. The more responders who prefer a neighborhood, the more expensive its properties become. In short, demand dictates the competition of a region.

As part of your neighborhood observation, peruse several listings of the available properties, office space, apartments, or whichever real estate is most relevant to you. Pay attention to the prices in particular and compare them with your existing ones, or the ones you set out to charge.

This will give you a real-world view of pricing and pricing expectations of your target market.

Step 4: Analyze the physical elements of a neighborhood/property

Analyzing the properties of a neighborhood and the real estate you seek to sell requires not merely examining the physical properties of a home. Rather it also involves inspecting public utilities and services, along with general environmental aspects.

Here are the most pressing aspects to inspect that affect a property’s standing:

  • Water resources
  • Soil
  • Transportation in the area
  • Regional climate
  • Utilities offered and their functionality

Afterward, you will need to inspect the property itself.

  • Size and square footage
  • Number of rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, other rooms)
  • Age of properties (newer buildings tend to have a higher value)
  • Amenities (decks, fireplaces, gardens, balconies, etc.)
  • ANy recent or noteworthy improvements/ restorations

Step 5: Gauge how the neighborhood has been faring

After you examine the physical characteristics, you should get a deep read of how the neighborhood has been faring. This includes delving into the economics, construction and business performance of the region. 

When developments are underway, they could impact a neighborhood’s properties. At times, they may incite new companies to arrive in the region. Some may impact the local economy positively, while others may worsen it. 

An uptick in commercial real estate is usually a sign of a healthy local economy. This will stoke the interest of buyers and with more sales, the cost per property square foot will be on the rise.

Research the demographics of the neighborhood. This will allow you to be clued in to the target market as well as giving your buyers more insights. An elderly population, for example, is great to highlight to retirees and others within this age range.

But perhaps younger buyers are seeking a neighborhood with other young professionals.

Moreover, age and ethnicity are not enough to determine how a neighborhood will fare — and neither how your business will either. You’ll need to understand your target market at a deeper level.

That is where surveys rear their usefulness again. A survey with the right questions will give you all the answers you need to understand how to best appeal to your target market. It can also give you more insight as to the price and style of real estate your consumers are seeking. 

A Wavering Market 

The real estate market is notorious for its rising costs, whether they concern rent or ownership. Unfortunately, this market has also been under the mercy of rocky times, such as the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic. They have negatively affected sales and demand, especially for urban areas such as New York City.

Due to an exodus from Covid-19 hot spots, which were mostly urban, (at least early in the pandemic) suburban real estate has soared.  

Despite the wavering market, any real estate business has much to gain from conducting real estate market research. There are several secondary sources available (though not all are free). For primary research, surveys help carry out the bulk of understanding your target market. They will provide your firm with answers directly from consumers themselves, on all your most sought-after questions. 

Frequently asked questions

What is market research?

Market research is the process of gathering information about target customers and markets in order to improve or introduce a product, feature, or service.

What is the goal of real estate market research?

The main goal of real estate market research is to understand if a real estate business will succeed in a specific location.

What factors should be considered while conducting real estate market research?

During a real estate market research project, you should seek to understand the following: changes in the market as a whole, current demand for and pricing of housing or commercial space, how your own prices compare to market averages, and current real estate marketing trends.

How can surveys be used during real estate marketing research?

A survey can provide real-time insight into market demands such as pricing, style, and how to appeal to your target audience.

How can demographics be used to plan marketing efforts?

By understanding the demographics of a target location, you can better understand the types of housing the population requires, their price points, and how to market to the various segments.

Marketing & Market Research: How Customer Insights Inform Digital Marketing

Marketing & Market Research: How Customer Insights Inform Digital Marketing

We live in a time of increasingly rapid market shifts, so it’s important to continuously test channels, tactics, and audiences and reflect on the strategies you employ. With marketing market research as an ongoing activity, you can understand changing consumer preferences and market dynamics, and adapt your campaigns before your competitors do. 

When collected and interpreted effectively, the intelligence you gain from marketing market research will boost the effectiveness of any marketing campaign, and generate stronger engagement with your target audience. 

It provides a deeper understanding of how your value proposition is perceived and helps you deliver compelling messaging to your customers on the platforms they frequent the most and in a format they will enjoy consuming. 

Categories of Marketing Market Research

Broadly speaking, there are five different categories of market research that are relevant to digital marketing:

  1. Brand research: Gathering insights that help with developing and managing a company’s brand identity. This could take many forms, from understanding which charities your audience supports to planning corporate partnerships, todesigning imagery, using cultural references, language, and color palettes.
  2. Customer research: Providing insights into the demographics, attitudes, and behaviors of customers (or prospective customers) and identifying niches to take advantage of for your messaging, targeting, or campaign deployment.
  3. Campaign efficiency: Measuring the effects of your message’s efficiency (whether it’s getting through, and that your target market is responding to your campaign favorably).
  4. Competitor research: Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, and/or asking consumers about their own perception of other brands in your niche.
  5. Product development: Crowdsourcing knowledge and opinions to inform the design of a product or service. This involves digging into the experience of using something, also widely known as UX (user experience)which can uncover previously unknown customer pain points and motivations. 

Marketing departments are interested in usability testing, so they can see how customers interact with product features in real time. This can reveal hidden bugs and unseen obstacles. 

However, the five categories mentioned above are the ones that yield data that will inform your digital marketing strategy, because they give you insight into your audience’s values, behavior, experiences, and perspectives. 

Researching Channels & Content Formats for Marketing

Successful marketing campaigns convey a compelling message in the right place, at the right time, to the right people. And to have an impact, you need a media strategy that makes sense in the channels and platforms on offer. With this in mind, your early research can focus on:

  • Marketing channels: Part of understanding your audience persona is to know about which channels you can reach them on, and what state of mind they’re in while using them. If your campaign goal is immediate sales, you need to find out where your audience is in a need state – i.e. where they’re ready to buy.

    For example, your audience might be socially active on Instagram, but not ready or willing to buy. This could lend itself to a brand-led awareness campaign. But for direct sales or lead generation goals, the right channel might actually be Google Search.
  • Content formats: Naturally, each channel requires distinct formats and structures for content. For example, if surveys indicate that your audience browses YouTube to educate themselves about DIY, this could be a perfect channel for how-to video content or direct response advertising campaigns promoting your new drill range. 

While market research can’t help you analyze the success or failure of your tests on different digital channels, asking the right questions sets you up with educated hypotheses. This is superior to relying on your gut instinct alone, and means that you’ll get started on the right foot. 

Survey Strategies: How to Get Insights for Your Marketing

Survey strategies have adapted with technology, and many businesses have moved away from traditional approaches towards online methods. Here are three of the most popular online survey approaches around right now:

  1. Online panels: Online panels collect responses from opted-in panelists who are recruited to participate in specific surveys. With online panels, you can also track trends in responses over time from the same people. However, they have downsides, including panel fatigue, conditioning, and declining participation over time.
  2. Assisted crowdsourcing: This method invites respondents to participate in a survey through social media. It can have huge penetration, yielding a lot of data. But biases can be introduced by quota sampling, which can lead to serious polling errors.
  3. Random Device Engagement (RDE): RDE organically engages respondents (a.k.a.. organic sampling), who are randomly picked from the target audience through the devices, software, or apps that they’re already using. Participants respond to a survey in exchange for an incentive within the delivery platform. Pollfish uses this methodology.

RDE is the immediate successor to Random Digit Dialling (RDD), improving massively on this method by targeting the user’s unique ID – which can be tracked across multiple devices and platforms. This also helps prevent fraud, and the quantity of paradata available when using RDE allows for considerable bias correction within the results. 

By merging machine learning technology with organic sampling methodologies like RDE, at Pollfish we can increase the value of your data by extracting authentic responses from an engaged and representative audience. Combined with massive coverage and programmatic delivery across over 140,000 partner apps, this yields instantaneous and reflexive responses.

These responses are taken randomly from a target sample, who can participate in the surveys without unduly disrupting their normal engagement with their device. This means that your research is conducted in a natural atmosphere, rather than in an unfamiliar environment. 

Gaining Insights Quickly for Your Digital Marketing

Market research surveys can help you set up your marketing campaigns with a better chance of targeting the right audiences with the right messages in the right channels. However, not all survey strategies are created equal, and not all will get quality data in a reasonable timeframe.

Programmatic delivery using organic sampling and RDE allows you to get hold of insights quickly, without sacrificing the data quality. This fast-moving intelligence is particularly useful for marketers who are testing different digital channels and messages to work out the best strategies for generating leads, sales, or brand awareness. 

Do you want to distribute your survey? Pollfish offers you access to millions of targeted consumers to get survey responses from $0.95 per complete. Launch your survey today.

Frequently asked questions

What are the five categories of market research?

Market research can be broken into five main categories: brand research, customer research, campaign efficiency, competitor research, and product development.

What is a marketing channel?

The term marketing channel refers to the area in which a company can reach prospective customers in order to sell their product or service.

What are some examples of marketing channels?

Marketing channels include social media, online advertising, salespeople, catalogs, and in-person experiences.

How can market research help improve a marketing campaign?

Market research provides a better understanding of the target market so a company can create a message that will be compelling to those customers, thereby achieving greater ROI on that campaign. It also helps them understand the platform and format that will be most effective in reaching this audience.

What is assisted crowdsourcing?

Assisted crowdsourcing is a survey method that uses social media to source the survey respondents. It is typically able to gather responses from large numbers of people, resulting in a great amount of usable data.

How to Conduct Retail Market Research Like a Pro

How to Conduct Retail Market Research Like a Pro

retail market research Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar, a click-and-mortar, or a pure-play brand, you need to conduct retail market research, that is, market research specific to the retail sector.

That is because, in today’s age of mass information circulating at speed, we exist in a market jungle, as market trends oscillate and customer expectations sway, while your competitors are becoming more adaptable.

To stay ahead and survive this market jungle, you need to get acclimated to performing the correct form of market research.

Let’s learn how to conduct market research for the retail sector.

The Makeup of Market Research

Market research, as we’ve covered aplenty, is a wide umbrella term that pertains to studying several facets of a particular market to gauge the profitability and success of your product or service.

This includes gathering information on the following:

  • Trends in the sector, vertical and niche
  • Your target market
  • Segmentation within your target market
  • Your competitors (tactics, launches, performance, etc.)
  • The sector at large

retail market research

It is made up of two sets of research: primary and secondary. The former deals with gathering research that you, as a business, conduct yourself. The latter involves consulting with information that has already been researched and is publicly available (not always for free).

Primary research requires using the following methods to collect information:

  1. Surveys on your target market and closely situated markets
  2. Interviews (in-person or over the phone)
  3. Consumer reviews
  4. Focus groups
  5. Sales records
  6. Employee feedback

Secondary research has a more encompassing set of documents and sources:

  1. Trends sites (Google Trends, Google Alerts)
  2. Keyword searching and SEO platforms
  3. Research agencies
  4. Statistics sites
  5. Market research sites
  6. Competitor sites
  7. Case studies

Techniques Particular to Retail Research

retail research

The above provides fundamental information about performing market research — in a general, all-purpose sense.

Since you would need to turn to both primary and secondary data throughout the market research process, you should be able to detect and distinguish these resource types, whenever you come upon them.

Above all, you need to know which exact platforms, websites and tools to use for collating information on the sector of retail. In market research, you move from the general to the specific fairly quickly, and you’ll need information specific to your vertical.

This is especially important if you serve a niche market.

Primary research techniques speak for themselves, as you would need to gather original insights and data from those mentioned above. Secondary sources particular to the retail sector, on the other hand, need to be laid out.

Secondary Research Sources for Retail

Here are a few secondary sources for market research on the retail vertical. Note that many of these platforms aren’t free, but their intel is indispensable.

  1. For understanding the retail industry:, specifically the Retailing Market Research Reports & Industry Analysis page, which links to a wide variety of internal research reports. These reports cover the many sub-sectors of the sweeping retail vertical, such as the clothing market, department stores and other related topics such as market analytics.
  2. For understanding customer personas: MakeMyPersona You should constantly be up to date on your buyer personas. This free tool from HubSpot generates personas; all you have to do is answer some questions about your ideal customers. The tool then creates a detailed document on your target market.
  3. For economic data in the retail sector: Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) A division of the US Census Bureau, this program provides economic data on employment, job expansions/ contractions, number of establishments, number of startups and more. This platform supplies annual measures on different business subsectors.
  4. For competitor analysis: County Business Patterns (CBP) Another division of the US Census Bureau, this program presents subnational economic data based on various retail industries. This includes the number of establishments, employment, annual payroll and more to analyze economic changes over time.
  5. For understanding your customer base: Facebook Audience Insights If your business has a Facebook business page, this tool will provide demographic information, along with some behavioral insights into your followers. It shows you their age, location, income, employment type, spending behaviors and even lifestyle (Facebook’s category).
  6. For multipurpose research: Think with Google An all-in-one market research platform providing guides, data reports, infographics and content to reap insights on the retail industry and your target market. You can use specific tools to grow your store, find your audience and stay up to date with the latest research within your particular retail subsector.
  7. For keyword research, SEO and competitor analysis: SEMrush This platform offers over 30 tools to analyze 3.7 billion keywords and 4 trillion backlinks. It allows retailers to find new organic competitors, as well as those in Google AdWords and Bing ads, to analyze their competitors’ budgets, strategies, ad copy, display ads and keywords.

Wrapping Things Up

Retail is one of the most expansive verticals, as it can include virtually any business that sells products to consumers. It requires both primary and secondary research methods for a thorough analysis and interpretation.

Secondary research for the retail sector involves a distinct set of secondary sources for quality research campaigns. A successful research endeavor will allow you to provide meaningful products and experiences for your customers, communicate with them more productively and improve your standing within your submarket.

Although the above examples of secondary research are invaluable, there are many other online tools for your disposal. Social media, for example, is excellent for market research, as it can connect you with your customers to get their perspectives firsthand, along with their data. 

Frequently asked questions

What is retail market research?

Retail market research is the process of gathering information about target customers and markets to determine or improve upon the success of a retail venture.

What types of primary research are useful in retail market research?

The most relevant types of primary research for the retail sector are surveys, consumer reviews, focus groups, feedback from employees, and sales reports.

How is secondary research performed?

Secondary research is performed by gathering and reviewing previously published information in order to gain insights to support a market research project.

How are buyer personas used in retail market research?

Buyer personas are a good way to define and understand the various customer segments that are likely to purchase from your retail store.

What information can Facebook Audience Insights provide about your retail business?

A shop’s Facebook business page can provide a wealth of information about its followers, including age, location, employment, income, spending behaviors, and lifestyle preferences.

How to Conduct Ecommerce Market Research Like a Pro

How to Conduct Ecommerce Market Research Like a Pro

Whether you’re setting up an ecommerce business from scratch or planning to launch a new line of products in your online store, market research is a crucial starting point.

In this article, we review key ecommerce market research methods that will help you build an in-depth understanding of your target audience and secure success in the competitive world of online shopping.

Discover Key Industry Players and Trends

When you’ve got what seems like a winning idea for an ecommerce business, it’s important to test the viability of the idea by reviewing the market landscape in your vertical or niche. 

Your first step should be to use secondary market research methods to check there’s a need your business can fulfill. Accessing public databases, journals, and industry reports will help you understand more about the current state of the market you hope to enter. You’ll also want to research your main competitors and collect data you can analyze to determine what makes them so successful.

Another option is to examine the market trends surrounding your business idea, either manually or using a tool such as Google Trends. By uncovering changes in search demand for relevant keywords, you’ll be able to see whether your niche is a passing fad or a steadily rising trend. 

So, let’s say you want to start a business selling artisan chocolate online – you might find that “organic chocolate” and “ethical chocolate” are trending up in your market. Not only is this a good sign that your carefully crafted treats have a future online, but you can also use that data to adjust your business proposition and focus on its sustainable credentials.

Conduct Keyword Research to Get the Full Picture

Keyword research is a good place to begin getting a basic understanding of your audience. Although later, you’ll want to move on to explore your target market and ideal customer in more depth, possibly using an online survey

Well-known and widely-used keyword planner tools include the Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and a slew of others. Another simple method for keyword research is to run a query on a search engine like Google, then peruse the SERP (search engine results page).

For example, let’s say you sell artisan chocolates; a relevant term would be “artisan chocolate.” When you run the query, scroll to the bottom of the SERP and take a look at the list of related keywords that consumers have searched. This in itself will help you generate new keyword ideas.

For our “artisan chocolate” keyword we might find: “artisan chocolate gift box”, “artisan chocolate near me” and the names of some well-known artisan chocolatiers. The artisan chocolatiers you find are important in this example, as they represent the other purveyors of this product in the market. As such, it allows you to understand your competitors. 

You can also use these to begin developing a very broad outline of your target audience. 

For example, “artisan chocolate near me” may suggest that consumers are looking for a local shop to find luxury chocolates. What are some ways you could create that local feel despite being a pure player (an ecommerce- only business). 

Establish Your Ideal Customer Profile

Once you’ve carried out your secondary research and you’re confident there’s a market for your ecommerce products, you can move on to develop a detailed profile of your ideal customer. This stage is focused on primary market research methods, such as research panels, focus groups, interviews, and online surveys. But which method should you choose for ecommerce market research?

Research panels have become significantly more time and cost-effective since you can conduct them online. However, they still have their share of setbacks. Using the same panelists’ time and again can result in “panel fatigue”, where participants become bored and don’t put the same care into their answers. In addition, professional panelists – attracted by the financial incentives – can try to provide the “right” answers so they’ll be asked to participate again, a recipe for skewed results.

Online surveys, on the other hand, can provide much more authentic, reliable insights into your target audience. Pollfish uses an innovative organic sampling method, where in-app surveys collect data from respondents in their natural environment. Participants opt in to take the surveys and are rewarded by bonus points or privileges within the app itself.

With “m-commerce” ( mobile device shopping) predicted to reach 45% of the U.S. ecommerce market by the end of 2020, market research focused on active app users has a major advantage for ecommerce businesses. You can find out more about your audience in the very environment where they may be ordering your goods, for example. This can be done by A/B testing mobile content and interfaces, along with choosing a survey platform that is distributed across publisher apps.

Review and Monitor Social Media Conversations

Social media listening is another important part of ecommerce market research, and it can combine secondary and primary research techniques. Using social media, you can “visit” the places where your potential customers are meeting online and discover more about their wants, needs, and pain points.

An automated social listening tool will allow you to gather quantitative data on key trends and topics related to your business idea from the major social media platforms. However, it’s also worth manually reviewing groups, pages, and threads involving your target audience to gain qualitative insights. One advantage of this is that you can learn the “language” of your audience and then reflect this in your messaging.

To return to our artisan chocolate example, you might review groups related to chocolate enthusiasts, home-bakers, or sustainable living. You could then record common concerns you find there and run a survey to identify what would entice your audience the most when buying chocolate online.

Before you let these insights direct your go-to-market strategy, you can test them for their broader applicability. For instance, Pollfish allows you to design surveys with different types of questions, so you could take the following statements…

  • “I know where the chocolate is made.”
  • “The cocoa is Fair Trade and organic.”
  • “The chocolates are hand-made in small batches.”
  • “The chocolate includes the highest quality ingredients.”

…and ask respondents to rank them in order of importance, select one or more answers, or select “Other” and type their own statement.

Run Analytics on Your Ecommerce Site

Now that you’ve completed your first stage of market research, determined that there is a market for your business idea, gained insight into your target audience – and now your ecommerce site is up-and-running. Time to sit back, relax, and watch the profits come in? Not yet. This is a crucial moment to continue your market research, augmented by the real data on sales, site traffic, product feedback, and more that should now be flooding in.

You should have analytics tools (e.g. Google Analytics) set up on your ecommerce site so that you can build up a thorough picture of how site visitors and customers are behaving. You can then analyze this data in order to keep improving your business. 

For example, if you recognize a high level of cart abandonment, perhaps you need to optimize your checkout flow and reduce the number of steps. Or you might notice a pattern in reviews where the customer complains they weren’t expecting their chocolates to contain alcohol; that points to the need for greater clarity in your product descriptions.

An ongoing cycle of research, testing, and action will make your ecommerce site an effective base for your business and ensure it’s a pleasant shopping experience for your customers.

Beating the Giants of Ecommerce With Deep Research

Ecommerce is a landscape dominated by giants (we all know who we’re talking about), but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get stepped on. Once you have the expertise in your niche, you can provide intrigue around your product and thus, high demand for it. So find your target audience, convince them of your unique value, and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Frequently asked questions

What is ecommerce market research?

Ecommerce market research is the process of collecting information about the target customers and markets of an ecommerce business or the ecommerce sector in general.

How can secondary research help improve an ecommerce business?

Secondary market research can help a business understand the current state of the market help the business understand whether or not they can compete. This information can also help the business understand what makes other ecommerce businesses successful in similar verticals.

How can keyword research help guide ecommerce market research?

Keyword research can give an ecommerce business a better idea of the demand for their products or service. A higher search volume is likely to indicate an increased demand for a particular product or service.

What is a customer profile?

Customer profiles are detailed descriptions of the various market segments that may purchase a company’s products or services. Customer profiles are created using information from primary research, such as surveys, research panels, focus groups, and interviews.

How can website analytics help improve an ecommerce business?

Monitoring a website using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics, can help a business understand how users behave as they move through a website. By identifying and fixing potential problems, the company can continually improve their ecommerce business.

Mastering the Different Types of Consumer Surveys

Mastering the Different Types of Consumer Surveys

consumer surveys

Consumer surveys are critical tools for sharpening your market research efforts, but they go far beyond that. They also help inform your advertising, marketing, product and sales strategies — they’re that powerful.

However, choosing the right survey for your needs may prove to be difficult, as there aren’t merely many different insights your brand may target, but there are also so many survey types to choose from.

We’ve covered the three main types of survey research methods. These methods are mainly centered on the frequency of survey distribution, while some of them include thematically-oriented sub-types.

Luckily for researchers, marketers and business owners, there is a multitude of survey types and subtypes. Some of these survey types fall within the aforesaid three main survey research methods, while others can be categorized as methods of quantitative or qualitative research.

Let’s get familiar with the various types of surveys for consumer research and other avenues of research.

Brand Awareness Surveys

This type of survey is generally the first you should consider conducting before you undertake any other survey types about your customers.

It is most ideal to run a brand awareness survey when you’re well-acquainted with your target market. However, you can conduct this survey even before you’re fully aware of who makes up your target market.

That is because you want to ascertain who knows about your brand; sometimes this can be consumers who narrowly fit within your target audience and sometimes this can be those who are not potential customers.

The latter is important in that although those consumers may not be interested in your brand, they may pass it along to someone who is, since they know about it.

Band awareness, nonetheless, is so much more than whether customers know about your brand. It includes:

  • Awareness of what your brand stands for
  • What the company is trying to achieve (beyond just selling something)
  • The meaning behind your company name or logo
  • How you differ from your competitors

As such, this survey type doesn’t merely measure, as it largely seeks to market your brand and everything it has to offer (including style and experiences).

Here are a few considerations to concentrate on for your brand awareness survey:

  1. Understanding whether your consumers acknowledge your company when they see it.
  2. Gauging how well your target market can recall your business by way of memory.
  3. Discovering how loyal your customers are loyal to your brand, especially in times of crisis.
  4. Ascertaining what customers associate with your brand.
  5. Bringing to light opinions on your logo and branding components.

When you’re in the midst of a marketing campaign and would like to work out how consumers are reacting to it, you can do so with this kind of survey. Here’s precisely what it can help you:

  • Identify which strategies and investments are most effective and which are under-performing.
  • Confirm if the opinions of your business are in accordance with how you intend on positioning your brand.
  • Pinpoint sentiments and associations about your brand that can help uncover more business opportunities.
  • See how your offering or experiences can improve.

Here are some useful questions to ask in brand awareness surveys:

  1. When you think of this product, what brand comes to mind?
  2. Which of the following have you tried? (Multiple selections)
  3. When was the last time you used this product category?
  4. How many of the brands have you heard of? (Select all that apply)
  5. When you think of this product, what brand comes to mind?

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

consumer survey

The most commonly used types of surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, like their name implies, gauge customer satisfaction.

Businesses can use these surveys to measure how content their customers are about a number of their experiences. These experiences include a business’s:

  • Product
  • Service
  • Online shopping
  • UX
  • Events

Since the participants’ responses are direct ratings of a range of offerings, businesses can make educated decisions on how to change their offerings or their overall CX. The responses can also show businesses which aspects of their business are profitable, so the businesses can, in turn, double down on those.

Customer satisfaction surveys are generally short and rely on several visual measurement tools as ratings. These include:

  • Stars and other shapes to determine how good or bad an experience was
  • Numbered scales
  • Color-coded scales

Like other surveys, customer satisfaction surveys rely on questionnaires (if the above units weren’t adequate for research).

Understanding how pleased your customers are is crucial for innovating your product, service and customer experience (CX). It can also determine the following:

  1. Whether or not a consumer intends to buy from you and is loyal to your business.
  2. Negative feelings towards your product, service, employees or experience.
  3. Knowing and making sure that customers are satisfied will reduce churn and increase customer lifetime value.
  4. Efforts to retain happy customers.
  5. Who to ask for (ex on social media) for good public reviews or testimonials.

Here are some examples of customer satisfaction questions to use in the questionnaire portion of your consumer survey:

  1. How would you rate your shopping/web/service experience?
  2. How likely are you to buy from this brand or this type of brand again?
  3. Was your issue resolved today?
  4. Did you find what you were looking for?
  5. How do you generally feel about the service of [insert industry or specific brand]?
  6. How would you rate the quality of [product, service, customer service representative experience]?
  7. Did you have an overall positive or negative experience with [the service, company, etc]?

Event Evaluation Surveys

This type of survey relies on gaining a more specific understanding of a customer experience, which, in this case, is an event. This survey type is essential to use if your business hosts events, whether they’re grand-openings, marketing events, webinars, etc.

These surveys are also crucial to understanding your target market, even if you don’t host or take part in any events. This is because your customers’ opinions towards certain events can help you tweak your offering or your messaging more to their liking.

It can also allow you to see how your customer base spends their time and money, which is critical to market research.

Here are a few pointers on how to improve your event and business in general via event evaluation surveys:

  1. Ensure your survey captures honest and in-the-moment perceptions from the attendees.
  2. Keep these surveys short, as many people won’t want to answer a survey after participating in an event.
  3. Find a way to tie the event with your product or service.
  4. Put your customers’ needs in the questions.
  5. Allow customers to discover your brand if you didn’t host/take part in the event.

As for the specific questions to ask in an event evaluation survey, we’re narrowed down a few effective ones:

  1. What motivated you to come to this event?
  2. What were your favorite aspects of the event?
  3. What were your least favorite aspects of the event?
  4. How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend or colleague?
  5. Did the event answer your questions and concerns? (can be open-ended)
  6. What did you think of the
    in the event?
  7. Will you consider checking out [brands in the event or a similar brand not in the event]?

Lead Generation Surveys

lead generation survey

The purpose of these surveys falls more within the confines of gathering contact information from your target market. They can also help reveal the types of people who make up your target market, as they deal with questions about your consumers’ job roles and preferences.

This survey method is a great way to both learn and reel in potential customers. As such, this type of survey should be used early on in your research. But it is not meant to be rigidly conducted at this point.

You can use it throughout your marketing and market research campaigns to build up a list of quality prospects.

Since the object behind lead generation surveys is to gain leads via their contact info, there are a few things to take into consideration.

  • Use only a few form fields, as too many tend to be unfavorable among users, especially if they are C-level executives who deal with their company’s finances.
  • The most important fields are names, job roles and email addresses, especially in the case of B2B businesses.
  • An opt-in button to get their permission to be contacted through their email address.
  • Questions that ask for their preferences within your industry about your offering
  • Interactive content (GIFs, quizzes, etc.) to set your brand apart.

As for the questions, remember to ask questions that will help your brand determine whether the prospect is an MQL. The following lists a few question examples for lead generation surveys:

  1. What is your role in the company?
  2. Are you in charge of your team’s budget?
  3. How do you intend on growing your business?[or gaining customers, questions that deal with growth/scaling]
  4. Would you consider buying this [ex: software]  to improve your revenue and overall business goals?
  5. How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends?

Job Satisfaction Survey

This type is an example of a survey delving into a specific topic or theme to better understand your personas and user base. Since employment is a major factor in the quality of life, it is wise to pick your consumers’ brains on this topic.

In fact, 51% of American workers have reported that they get a sense of identity from their jobs. Since jobs define who the public is, or at least a large percentage of it, your business can stand to create surveys centered on job satisfaction.

After all, participants more satisfied with their line of work and income are more likely to spend.

A job satisfaction survey is similar to an employee satisfaction survey, but offers a much more intimate view. That is because the latter deals with all members of an organization, whereas the former deals with the personal outlook of an employee to measure their satisfaction.

Here are a few questions designed for this survey type:

  1. What does your job represent to you personally? (Answers can include: just a way to earn money, a way to be involved in something important, a way to better myself, etc.)
  2. How would you rate your satisfaction with the work you do? (Can use a scale)
  3. How meaningful is your job to you? (Can include a scale)
  4. Do you feel empowered to make purchases?
  5. If yes, on what kinds of items? (Answers can include media, travel tickets, products in your niche)

Choosing the Proper Type of Survey

While the above lists several fundamental survey types for your market research campaigns, these are just a drop in the bucket, in terms of quantity. There are various other survey methods, both based on survey research methods and on specific topics.

The true value in surveys comes from their ability to give you full control of the questions, thereby the topics for your consumers to answer. That’s why, before you settle on the types of surveys to use, you should first find a practical and user-friendly survey tool.

This way, you can be sure that you’re gaining the maximum satisfaction in your survey process. Once you find an exceptional survey solution, you can comb through the different survey types and choose the best one for your business.

Frequently asked questions

What is a consumer survey?

A consumer survey is a research method used to understand how satisfied consumers are with products, features, or services. It can also be used to understand how consumers feel about potential or new products and services. There are several different types of consumer surveys, including brand awareness surveys, customer satisfaction surveys, and job satisfaction surveys.

What is a brand awareness survey?

A brand awareness survey is used to understand how familiar your target market is with your brand. It can be conducted with existing customers or with a larger population to understand how you compare to other brands.

What is a customer satisfaction survey?

A customer satisfaction survey measures how satisfied existing customers are with your products or services. They tend to be short surveys that are deployed at a certain point in time, such as after making a purchase.

What type of events can benefit from an event satisfaction survey?

Any type of event that people attend, whether in-person or virtually, can benefit from the use of an event satisfaction survey. They are often used to understand satisfaction with conferences, marketing events, and webinars.

What is a job satisfaction survey?

A job satisfaction survey seeks to measure how satisfied employees are with their job. It can help a company improve many operational aspects, including retention rates, hiring processes, profitability, and management style.

The 3 Major Types of Survey Research Methods

The 3 Major Types of Survey Research Methods

Within the ever-evolving and accelerating market research space, there is a litany of surveys making the rounds. Businesses are scrapping to get all the necessary consumer insights into their hands, and this is a fitting approach to satisfy any target market.

That’s because surveys allow you to gain an edge within your niche and outperform your competitors. While nothing is guaranteed, researchers and marketers have long been turning to surveys to observe the minds of their customers and potential customers.

Before perusing through the aforementioned litany of surveys, you ought to know about the different types of survey methods. That’s because there’s no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to survey research. 

Business needs vary, as do their industries, customers and campaigns. Let’s navigate the three most salient types of survey methods.

Survey Research — Beyond Distribution Type

In survey research, there are four types of distribution methods — but we won’t be covering those too much in depth. That is because they are widely known and seen. It’s virtually impossible for you or your business to not have heard of them in a limited capacity at the very least.

However, for the purpose of organizing the in-depth survey methods we discuss later into the deployment types, we’ll briefly mention them here. The four different types of survey deployment methods are:

  1. Paper surveys
    1. Written questionnaires
    2. Mail-in surveys
    3. Newspaper surveys
  2. Online surveys
    1. Online forms
    2. Proprietary surveys (on brand sites)
    3. Email surveys
    4. In-app surveys
    5. Third-party surveys
  3. Telephonic surveys
    1. Cold calling
    2. Anonymous respondents
  4. One-on-one interviews
    1. In-person and onsite interviews
    2. Less anonymity

All of these survey deployment types can serve both qualitative and quantitative research needs. The ones you choose to incorporate into your market research campaigns is ultimately up to the needs of your business. Some businesses prioritize ease, some prefer quick insights while others prefer cost-savings.

Now that you know survey distribution types, less delve further into specific survey methods.

Cross-Sectional Survey Studies

Cross-sectional surveys concentrate on a very specific point in time and exist as a quick overview of a small population sample. This method is ideal for situations wherein quick answers are needed to gain knowledge on standalone, or single situations. 

This survey method is based on three conditions: 

  1. the distribution of surveys to small samples 
  2. within large populations and 
  3. conducted over a small period of time.

The sample pool is drawn from specific variables, usually, only a few to narrow down a unique and usually small population. The findings are recorded within a short period of time and are studied and archived within that one specific point.

The variables are not manipulated as this type of research method is for observations only. This approach cannot measure causation between certain occurrences (ex. Inactivity and weight); rather, it measures the correlation between occurrences.

Longitudinal Surveys

The antithesis of cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal surveys study variables over a longer period of time. This can be anywhere between weeks and on the far end of the spectrum, decades. 

As such, they require more input in terms of several aspects, including participants, time and money. In this regard, a larger pool of participants is used and studied for much longer.

Similar to cross-sectional research, this method is also observational and studies the exact sample pool for the duration of the study.

Longitudinal surveys come in three main sorts:

  1. Trend surveys: 

    1. Study trends
    2. Observe how participants’ tendencies change over time
    3. Ask the same questions at different points in time
    4. Don’t necessarily study the exact same participants throughout, since the focus is on trends
  2. Panel surveys:

    1. Focus more on people than trends
    2. The same participants are studied throughout the duration of the study
    3. Tend to be more expensive and difficult (tracking & keeping up with the same people for years on end)
  3. Cohort surveys:

    1. Regularly study a group of participants that fall under a specific category
    2. Don’t require the same participants to take part every year
    3. Examples include those born within the same decade, workers of the same industry at the same time, other common life experiences

All three of these kinds of surveys help researchers study how people change and, as longitudinal research, they are also part of correlational research.  Longitudinal surveys help businesses and researchers scrutinize developments and changes.

They allow researchers to assess whether the changes are due to age, life factors or trends.

Retrospective Surveys

This survey method is yet another type based on frequency. It combines aspects of both cross-sectional and longitudinal survey methods. 

Retrospective surveys observe changes that occur over a longer period of time, much like longitudinal surveys. However, like cross-sectional surveys, they are facilitated just once. As such, responders discuss happenings from the past. These include feelings, attitudes, experiences and beliefs.

The findings are thereby longitudinal in nature, but performed in a cross-sectional fashion, ie, without requiring the long amounts of time to collect the data, like in traditionally longitudinal studies.

This scaling back on timing and monetary savings are the major advantages of this type of survey method. However, it does have its fair share of drawbacks, mainly those of memory distortion. For example, memories from the recent past may be vivid or clear enough to provide researchers with accuracy.

But memories of the more remote past, or even those of both the recent and distant past, when compared against one another, may lead to inaccurate answers.

Settling on the Correct Survey Method

Before you conduct any survey research, there are several questions you can stand to ask yourself or your own business. These should help you narrow down the proper survey method and distribution channel for your survey research. 

Here are some questions to consider which method is most suitable for you:

  • Do you need to gather long-term, continuous research or are you looking to gain insights on the current timeframe?
    • This will help you decide between choosing a cross-sectional or longitudinal survey study.
  • If you prefer a long-term study, are you willing to persist in obtaining responses from your sample pool, or do you want to pursue different respondents each time?
  • Would you prefer to survey the same group of respondents in the long term?
  • How often do you need survey responders to take part in your survey research campaign?
  • Are you looking to understand the development of people’s behaviors or trends within your industry?
  • If you don’t need to conduct a survey across a large span of time, do you need to question respondents about the past?
  • Do you need to study a specific category of participants, or can they fall within a more broad category?

As a business, you should cross-reference your responses to these questions with the information above. That way, you can make an educated decision about which survey method and (survey types) are best for your business. 

Frequently asked questions

What are the four methods of survey distribution?

The four survey deployment methods are paper surveys, online surveys, telephonic surveys, and surveys conducted via in-person interviews.

Why are cross-sectional surveys conducted?

Cross-sectional surveys are used to quickly get answers about a specific scenario at a certain point in time. They focus on a small sample size to provide a general overview of a specific scenario or situation.

What is a longitudinal survey?

A longitudinal survey studies a pool of participants over a set period of time. The period of time can range from weeks to many years. It is performed to understand how the respondents change or develop over time.

What are the three types of longitudinal surveys?

The three types of longitudinal surveys are trend surveys, panel surveys, and cohort surveys.

How is a retrospective survey different from a longitudinal survey?

Retrospective surveys are performed to observe changes that occur over time, but they are conducted only one time. The survey is performed to understand how the respondents feel or react to something that happened in the past.

Market Research Trends Dominating 2020 — and Beyond

Market Research Trends Dominating 2020 — and Beyond

2020 has seen its fair share of downsides, to put it mildly. But the year has also seen advancements on the market research front. Indeed, there have been several trends coming out of the woodwork or making headway in innovations on existing trends.

These trends have steadily become forces to reckon with when it comes to collecting research on the markets.

In this article, we’re going to give a rundown on some of the biggest market research trends dominating 2020. These have held a sturdy weight in the space and we foresee them to carry onto the next year(s) due to their magnitude.

The Use of Blockchain for Security, Elimination of Data Silos & More

The advent of the blockchain has powered the cryptocurrency industry — but it hasn’t stopped there. A decentralized ledger system, the blockchain’s first line of storage was cryptocurrency transactions, but it is capable of storing virtually any kind of data.

Due to its immutable nature, all recorded transactions cannot be corrupted or modified in any way. The blockchain also operates in a members-only capacity. It extends security with features such as proof of member identity and verifiable transactions.

Aside from stronger security, blockchain technology provides the following to the market research industry:

  1. Less oversight required, with approved members only using a particular blockchain

  2. No need to deal with additional intermediaries.

  3. Much less prone to hacking due to encryption, peer-to-peer oversight and decentralization.

  4. Better protection for data, as it is stored into blocks and broken down from large databases.

  5. Elimination of duplicate responders, since nodes can identify consumers with their data

  6. Reduction in data silos, since data is decentralized across a network of users

  7. Ease of interoperability between blockchain participants to share data.

The Rise of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning has risen over the years in implementations across industries. To put things into perspective, machine learning uses artificial intelligence for gathering patterns to peruse current happenings and predict future behavior.

Using a breadth of algorithms, machine learning stores data to glean customer activities and behaviors, which it uses to predict future customer activities. AI also assists in market research through a number of ways.

Firstly, it has been setting trends in the process of deep learning segmentation. Market segmentation has long been used for developing customer personas in the ad tech, marketing and market research verticals. Deep learning segmentation is a segmentation framework that has been improved by AI, as AI identifies patterns too intricate for humans to understand or make use of without biases.

This way, businesses can both make sense and make use of big data, rather than have it go to waste or not understand it to its maximum potential.

AI has also provided the market research industry with:

  1. Processing large sets of data

  2. Identifying trends within a complex system

  3. Cutting costs by reducing the time to conduct market research

  4. Building up layers of insight for a more precise customer understanding

  5. Performing repetitive and manual tasks faster than humans

  6. Understanding qualitative and quantitative data via Natural Language Processing (NLP)

  7. Eliminating human bias by processing information only

Automation Continues Aiding with New Innovations

Automation is on the rise across multiple industries, to the point where roughly 60% of all occupations contain at least 30% of automatable activity. It is thus no surprise that automation has made its way to the market research industry.

Much like artificial intelligence, automation procedures reduce manual intervention so that more windows of time open up for humans to work on other matters.

For research purposes, automation has revolutionized many researching tasks, with the innovations of social listening, sampling, quota collection, survey distribution and more. These reduce the need for interviewing and searching for survey participants, among other changes.

Here are some of the ways automation serves the MR industry:

  1. DIY survey platforms allow for streamlined aggregation of primary research.

  2. Application of more tech-based, automatable solutions (ex: in-app solutions)

  3. The elimination of the need for sourcing and requesting samples

  4. Survey re-routing so participants only get relevant questions (Ex: if they answered X, they are taken to question Z, skipping a few other questions)

  5. Allowing researchers to more easily handle larger sets of data.

  6. Storage and quick access to a variety of customer data

  7. Sending reminder notifications to participants so that they finish their surveys

Based on a study of 924 respondents, via NewMr & Greenbook

The Simplification & Prevalence of Mobile Surveys

The mobile space is growing, both in terms of traffic and app development. As such, the market research industry has pushed surveys to take part in the mobile experience.

Mobile surveys have been significantly making strides, as 30-40% of surveys are completed on a mobile device. With mobile the growing number of mobile users and mobile traffic, this device has lent itself to be a key battleground for rounding up the thoughts of consumers.

Mobile surveys are trending in the MR space, along with some of their own, unique features. Here are a few:

  1. Unique templates to match brands’ style

  2. The capability of granting a white-label feel

  3. Adaptation to a multitude of mobile websites and apps

  4. Short surveys zeroing in sub-niches and subtopics

  5. Seamless integrations within various mobile formats

  6. In-app data analysis

  7. Adoption of a low code platform

Remaining on the Lookout for More Trends

Market research is an expansive practice, neither fixed on one type of research method (primary or secondary). Rather, much like customer expectations themselves, it is constantly evolving and accelerating in some respects.

In order to keep a leg up on your vertical and target market, your business must stay on top of trends in the MR space. This includes emerging trends, along with established ones that are still carrying weight and innovating new sub-trends.

All the aforementioned trends in this article have seen steady popularity in that these tend to be cost-effective, time-saving and quashing of one or several inconveniences. Your business can therefore stand to adapt some of their innovations or practices.

Stay on the lookout for more market research trends. We’re always watchful to provide the latest trends. That way researchers and general business owners can become more competitive and relevant to their target market.

Frequently asked questions

How has blockchain technology improved survey market research?

Blockchain allows for complete control over how surveys are distributed and responded to. When using blockchain technology, a company controls exactly who takes the survey and can prevent any gaming of the system.

What applications does the use of AI have in market research?

AI and machine learning have made it much faster for researchers to process huge amounts of data and identify trends within those data sets. This results in cost and time savings for the research team. It is also used to understand qualitative and quantitative data.

How does automation benefit market researchers?

Automation reduces the amount of work that needs to be done by researchers, freeing up their time to be used for more valuable operations. Additionally, automation can be used to dynamically deliver survey questions to respondents based on their previous answers.

How popular are mobile surveys?

Approximately 30 - 40% of all online surveys are completed on a mobile device.

What are some of the recent trends in mobile surveys?

Mobile survey technology is always evolving. Some of the latest trends include the ability to deploy very short surveys to a sub-niche, in-app data analysis dashboards, and deployment of surveys across a variety of websites and apps.

The Advantages of Conducting Mobile Surveys

The Advantages of Conducting Mobile Surveys

Mobile surveys have revolutionized the market research space. These useful tools for understanding a target market help uncover revenue and scaling opportunities for all kinds of businesses. 

As one of the most tried and true methods for unlocking your target customers’ desires and needs, surveys not only allow you to understand your customer base but also inform you on the overall landscape of your industry. 

This is because you can formulate questions that are not necessarily about your own product/service, but rather a similar one, an innovation to an existing offering or an entirely new one.

The tactic of surveying a pool of consumers is not new, although it has undergone a revolution, from the snail mail surveys of the ‘90s, to the phone surveys of the ‘00s and today’s internet surveys. 

Nowadays, mobile surveys have been making headway — and for good reason. There are several notable reasons as to why it’s advantageous to conduct mobile surveys.

A Mobile-First World

We are no longer living in a digital world, that is, in a digital-only world. We are living in a mobile-first world, and this is not a generalization. It is true by a number of objective measures. 

First off, over half of all web traffic is on mobile. This is no meager chunk of internet traffic, so it is safe to assume that many of your site visitors are there by way of mobile apps or mobile websites. 

Secondly, this strong presence will soon break away from the halfway point of internet traffic. That is because mobile traffic is predicted to grow by 25% by 2025. Clearly, mobile traffic, although weighty, is not stagnant and will continue to increase, perhaps significantly dominating desktop and tablet traffic combined.

But there are more ways in which mobile is taking a large share of the internet traffic pie. 91% of internet users access the internet through a mobile device. Here are a few other ways in which mobile use is surging on the internet.

Mobile Use Yields Mobile Convenience

Although desktops, laptops and tablets are all getting thinner as technology evolves, the go-to device for on-the-go usage is still the mobile phone. It’s the smallest and most portable device out of all four device types. 

And since people use mobile for making calls more so than landlines, they are frequently within reach of their phone. 

However, it would be unwise to assume all commuters and walkers travel with their laptops or tablets in tow. Despite this, it is far safer to infer that most people on the go carry their phones with them.

This does not merely apply to travelers. Internet users partake in the mobile internet experience in the following scenarios:

  • Between sending text messages (especially if they are working remotely)
  • While reclining and/or resting
  • Between meetings
  • While waiting in line for any service
  • While talking on the phone (especially if it’s via speakerphone)

While all of these appear to be ordinary occurrences, they are apt opportunities to send surveys. That is because many of these situations paint a picture of the users being inactive, unoccupied or simply idle. 

In this case, a well-put-together survey may assuage their boredom. This would expose your survey to millions and allow it to capture real-time users. 

An Innate Simplicity

Since phones are smaller and allot far less real estate than desktops or tablets, businesses and content providers are forced to simplify their interface so that only the most important online elements fit. 

In short, they would take a mobile-first approach to design. This is positive news for your business — at least for your UX/ digital department, in that they would need to apply fewer elements and effects per page. 

When users are sent on a survey via your mobile website or app, the page they open should be as bare as possible, ideally with just the survey questions and media files. (The menu should exist as a hamburger in this instance).

This is a breath of fresh air for users as well. It is because of the hectic nature of many internet pages, which bombard users with distracting content (think ads, unsolicited videos/music playing, too many links, photos, etc.).

The minimalist nature of mobile thus makes for a much more convenient environment for survey respondents. 

Speed to Insights

With so many internet users surfing the web on their phone, your survey is bound to get responses exceptionally fast. This is especially true if your survey targets high-traffic apps. To truly reap this benefit, your survey provider should deploy surveys over a vast network of popular apps.

Luckily, at Pollfish, it does. We partner with 140,000 app providers so that active users on high-traffic apps are exposed to your survey instantaneously upon opening the apps.

Additionally, the mobile experience, when produced correctly, is known for speed. Think about it; it is much easier to see all of your tabs when browsing on desktop. But on mobile, you can’t see them laid out all at once; usually, it requires doing some swiping, otherwise, only one tab is shown. 

That’s why on mobile, users are prompted to answer quickly so that they can return to their customer journeys on the apps/mobile sites they’ve been using.

Mobile Surveys: All Rainbows and Sunshine?

Closing off, we want to conclude that while conducting surveys on mobile has ample advantages, it also carries some disadvantages. But these shortcomings are not necessarily insurmountable.

That’s why we’re sharing them, so that you can optimize your mobile experience to obtain the most out of your surveys.

Here are a few:

  1. Mobile apps have to be made for a variety of operating systems and phones. As such, researchers should make sure their app can support several mobile devices.
  2. Some file sizes of surveys along with the apps themselves may be too large for users’ phones, as phone space is limited. This is primarily the app providers’ issue, but it will affect researchers’ survey usage as a result. 
  3. Not all mobile users have access to a sturdy data plan, so they may be wary of using up their data to take a survey.

There are surely going to be other forks in the road with the mobile survey experience, but mobile is king. That being the case, the shortcomings aren’t outweighed by the benefits. 

The key is to ask the right survey questions to gather the most relevant insights about your industry and the minds of your target market.

Frequently asked questions

What is a mobile survey?

Mobile surveys are surveys that are completed by respondents on a phone or a tablet.

How can the use of mobile surveys improve response rates?

Respondents can complete mobile surveys at a time and place convenient to them, which may increase the response rate of the survey.

How do mobile surveys allow businesses to reach a wide audience?

Mobile surveys can be deployed in a variety of ways. The use of traditional methods, such as email, allows businesses to reach existing customers. But they can also reach a wider audience by deploying the survey with app partners, who display the survey on high traffic apps to reach a new audience.

How does mobile design affect the response rate?

Mobile users expect a fast experience without interruptions. The response rate may be low if the survey takes too long to load or is interrupted by pop-ups and other distractions.

Can I deploy the same survey on mobile and desktop?

Yes. By using a professional app platform, you will be able to easily create a survey that can be used on a variety of devices, including phones and computers.

What is a Consumer Research Panel, and How Can it Help?

What is a Consumer Research Panel, and How Can it Help?

A consumer research panel is defined as a group of individuals brought together with the express purpose of providing opinions, insight and feedback on products and services. In simple terms, a consumer research panel is the participating audience in market research campaigns.

These panels are used in a wide variety of campaigns, including those on advertisement research, product testing, and other initiatives that require the input and insight of a target audience.

Panel members are selected to represent either a particular group or the general public, with panels made up of tens (and sometimes hundreds) of thousands of people. Businesses can then segment the panels based on certain criteria and demographics to ensure they’re reaching the right audience with their questions.

Consumer Research Panels: Why Do They Matter?

Thanks to the internet and social media, sales channels are becoming increasingly saturated, with consumers bombarded by messages and offers morning, noon and night. With this in mind, businesses are now, more than ever, searching for marginal gains in order to outmaneuver the competition.

And while products and services can share price points and features, consumer research panels can help business owners understand a key intangible when it comes to standing out from the crowd: customer experience (CX).

For example, if your competitor is operating under the (false) assumption that their product or service is meeting their customers’ needs, quality consumer research can help you set your business apart and establish it as a market leader.

The goal of these panels is to actively listen to — and act upon — meaningful insights from your target audience. When you understand how your product or services makes them feel (good or bad), you can make the necessary adjustments to position your offering more effectively.

How is a Consumer Research Panel Put Together?

Consumer research panel participants are often recruited via online channels. Participants are then organized based on certain factors, such as gender, age, location, profession, and personal interests. The more information gleaned at the recruitment stage, the better, as it allows you to target an incredibly specific and targeted audience.

Usually, participation is incentivized – with panel members receiving rewards in exchange for their time and insight. Rewards can range from cash and gift cards to money-off vouchers and points, which can be redeemed against products or services.

Once a panel has been formed, research can be conducted. Questionnaires are sent to a select group of respondents designed for a particular target audience.

How Does it Differ From Other Types of Customer Research?

A consumer research panel gives you the opportunity to evolve your ideas, involving the same target group throughout for feedback on your iterations. This helps you ensure that you’re moving in the right direction as you make changes to your product, service, brand or message. 

Using a panel is, therefore, in stark contrast to focus groups or other one-off surveys. These tend to be “once-and-done” endeavors, where you receive feedback in isolation, based solely on what’s put in front of the group or survey recipients at the time. 

This can make actionable insights harder to come by, especially if you’re unable to reconvene the focus group or reach the same survey respondents to gauge their opinions on the changes you’ve made.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Online Consumer Research Panel?

Online consumer research panels allow you to efficiently connect with target market segments, collecting valuable feedback in the process. This method of research has the following benefits: 


  • Higher response rates from motivated respondents: Panel members are often highly motivated to respond as they’ve opted-in to take part in the research. This can result in a higher quality of feedback.
  • Current insights from a representative audience: When maintained properly, a consumer research panel offers an up-to-date picture of your audience’s thoughts and behaviors. 
  • Quicker and lower cost: Consumer panels can deliver faster insights at a lower cost when compared with other research methods – especially with focus groups, which require time and expenses to run, thus taking longer to coordinate and screen respondents.
  • Feedback can be implemented faster, too: The data received from online consumer panels can be analyzed quicker, with trends and patterns spotted and sorted with just a few clicks. This means that if there’s an overriding consensus that something isn’t working, you can change it quickly before it’s too late.
  • Anonymity means nothing’s off-limits: The online nature of a consumer research panel means you can freely ask questions regarding sensitive information, including sexual health and activity, alcohol and drug use, relationship status, and other questions on private matters. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Consumer Research Panels?

Unfortunately, online consumer panels aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. They do, in fact, have some clear and obvious drawbacks, which include: 

  • Small sample sizes and limited availability: Depending on your industry and target market, you may experience difficulty in finding respondents due to age, location, or lack of internet access, all of which could skew your data. 
  • “Bad eggs” can derail your research: There are certain types of consumer panelists who can throw your research into disarray. From bots and fake accounts to professional survey takers – who are more interested in completing your questionnaire in record time than delivering accurate insights – consumer research panels can suffer from a lack of transparency and data quality if managed poorly. 
  • Online survey fatigue: Chances are you won’t be the only one trying to reach your target audience with a questionnaire. Online surveys have never been more popular, but this level of popularity can lead to jaded recipients simply ignoring or deleting your invitations.
  • Risk of panel dropouts: Using the same panel for months on end won’t guarantee that it’ll stay intact. Participants may drop out over time, meaning the quality and accuracy of the feedback could be affected.
  • Lack of clarification or follow-ups: Other, more qualitative methods of consumer research will often involve a trained interviewer, there to prod and probe a respondent into expanding on an interesting point or observation. This is lacking from online consumer panels, making it difficult to clarify what someone meant if their feedback is vague

Examples of Consumer Research Panels in Action

As we touched on earlier, there are a number of ways in which a research panel can be used in pursuit of valuable insights and game-changing feedback. Here are a few examples:

  • Product testing: Some research panels can be incentivized to provide feedback in exchange for an early look at a new product – so long as they provide an in-depth response based on their first impressions and overall experience. This is particularly useful pre-launch, allowing you to gather feedback and make improvements. 
  • App onboarding: Similar to product testing, you can use a research panel to test the onboarding process for an app or piece of software. This will put your interface at the fingertips of the very people you hope will use it post-launch, giving you a vital glimpse into their experience and enjoyment.
  • Ad testing: Marketing companies and digital agencies can use consumer research panels to test the impact of a particular advertisement or campaign, ensuring that it makes a connection with the target audience and encourages them to take action.

An Alternative to Conventional Consumer Research Panels

Used properly — and with a reliable and vetted panel of respondents — consumer research panels can help your business gain a competitive advantage. At least, that’s the idea. Because, as more and more companies are discovering, consumer panels are on the downswing. Those drawbacks we mentioned above are becoming more prevalent, making quality feedback harder to find.

Here at Pollfish, we don’t use panels of professional survey takers. Instead, you benefit from our market research methodology by sourcing real people who are online right now. We let you survey people who are going in and out of applications, through our partnerships with publishers. It’s a randomized yet targeted survey distribution method, and you reach verified respondents who have real insights. 

With over half a billion people in our network, we never have to worry about data quality. We can simply remove those bad eggs and retain only the best, most authentic, and most useful information.

Frequently asked questions

What is a consumer research panel?

A consumer research panel is a marketing term that describes bringing a group of people together with the goal of understanding their thoughts, ideas, and opinions on a product or service.

How are the members of a consumer research panel chosen?

Researchers select members of a research panel based on key characteristics of their target audience. This can include certain demographics, interests, lifestyle choices, etc.

Why are consumer research panels conducted?

Consumer research panels are conducted to help business owners gain deeper insights about their target audience. The insights revealed in a panel are different from those that can be obtained by doing research or reviewing hard data.

What is an online consumer research panel?

An online consumer research panel differs from a traditional research panel because it is conducted entirely online, rather than in-person.

What are the benefits of online consumer research panels?

Online consumer research panels can be deployed faster, can reach a larger sample size more easily, are cost-effective, and provide anonymity for respondents, which may result in more honest, in-depth feedback.