online market research

Attaining All Research Goals with Online Market Research

Attaining All Research Goals with Online Market Research

online market research

Online market research is the foremost method of modern market research, owing to its speed, accuracy of execution, ability to reach millions and plenty more.

You shouldn't, however, mistake this kind of research for one subtype (such as keyword research or internet database research). That’s because this kind of research is an umbrella term that encompasses many methods and approaches.  

You may be wondering, is online market research relevant to your business?

Well, 81% of customers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Thus, if you aren’t already conducting this kind of research, your customers already are to judge your business.

Thus, you’d be remiss not to conduct it. You wouldn’t want to miss out on sales opportunities.

After all, 68% of companies increased sales with market research. And online market research is the dominant form, for a variety of reasons.

This article expounds on online market research, its various types and its importance, along with how and which campaigns you can apply it to. 

Understanding Online Market Research

As its name implies, this is a form of research conducted entirely online, utilizing a variety of means to gather critical customer insights.

As such, it is the direct opposite of offline market research, which is predicated on using various non-digital, and non-internet-related sources to conduct research on customers.

The reason that online market research is used specifically to collect customer insights is that it is a form of market research, which involves all the activities used to study your target market — the group of customers most likely to buy from you. 

As such, market research is a kind of research driven by the study of the following topics, as they relate to your customers and industry:

  1. Customer preferences
  2. Customer behavior 
  3. Needs
  4. Desires
  5. Aversions
  6. The customer buying journey
  7. Demographics
  8. Psychographics
  9. Lifestyles
  10. Sentiments and attitudes, especially in relation to your business.

Online market research involves using a variety of methods to facilitate research campaigns. Because of this, it is not bent on using just one method. Instead, it involves all the activities and tools available to study your customers and the industry at large.  

You can use several forms (or subtypes) of this research, or you can use this research to accompany other forms, such as real-time market research and offline market research. But you don’t necessarily have to.

That’s because this kind of research includes many different kinds of methods and tools, allowing you to reap all the customer intelligence you need. 

The Types of Online Market Research

Given that this research is largely an umbrella term for a range of online activities for researching your customers, you ought to know what kinds it includes.

As the market research industry evolves, the following list will change, as some methods will die out and more will be added. This is because this kind of research is reliant on technology, specifically, the internet, which is constantly progressing.

types of online market research

The following lists the names of various forms of this kind of research:

  1. Internet research
    1. A secondary research method that typically involves searches on search engines.
  2. Keyword research
    1. This is especially used for understanding the demand of products and services.
  3. Market research software
    1. These are platforms designed to automate the research process and are typically used in agile research. 
  4. DIY market research
    1. This is a kind of research that businesses and researchers can conduct on their own through a variety of tools.
  5. Syndicated research
    1. This is virtually the opposite of DIY research, as researchers use a research firm to conduct the entirety of their research campaigns. In this context, they do so digitally.
  6. Real-time results research
    1. Closely tied with real-time research (a kind of ethnographic research), it involves using a platform that offers customer data in real-time.
    2. This is its own category, as not all market research software offers this.
  7. Competitor research
    1. This involves paying close attention to your competitors’ digital properties to observe how they carry out their offerings and how their customers engage with it.
  8. Survey panels
    1. Much like syndicated research, this too is external, as a company amasses a research panel to partake in research campaigns. 

The Importance of Online Market Research

If the above sections, which delve into the many capabilities of online market research didn’t convince you of its importance, the following will.

First and foremost, this kind of research allows you to understand your customers in great depth, the kind you wouldn’t have access to in other forms of research. That’s because it’s far easier to reach people online, rather than via mailed surveys or interviews.

Secondly, it enables you to understand how viable a product is in your industry before you launch it, to avoid low sales. In addition, it can help you innovate and improve upon already existing products. 

That’s because there are various ways to conduct product research, such as via general internet research. Or, you can do this through a market research tool that you would only get from a market research platform. For example, the Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter is a pricing model that provides data for consumer price preferences. 

You can also use this kind of research to improve your entire customer experience, from the first impressions of your business, to browsing your digital properties to finally making a purchase and beyond.

With a good CX, you’ll be able to delight your customers across all touchpoints, building a strong relationship with them, in turn. This itself has a wide variety of benefits for your business. 

A good relationship with your customers fosters consumer loyalty, which you’ll need in order for customers to come back to your business time and again. You wouldn’t want to have a “one and done” customer. 

Thus, by conducting this research and pleasing your customers, you’ll be able to increase your customer retention rate. Retention is paramount, as it is both more profitable and attainable. 

For example, increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. In addition, acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing one.

Thus, it’s crucial to maintain adequate customer retention. By running online market research, you can also maintain or even increase your customer lifetime value, the quality of your customers in relation to the length of their patronage of your business.

This metric also ties in with retention and is a must to keep your business competitive.

What Campaigns and Macro-applications Online Market Research Can Support

One of the strongest abilities of conducting online research is that it can support a wide variety of business campaigns. This includes aspects of all areas of your business, as your customers affect it beyond the scope of marketing and selling.

While there are too many to list, here are some of the major campaigns and macro-applications this kind of research supports:

  1. Concept testing 
    1. This is ideal to do before you introduce any new products into the market.
    2. You can test a variety of concepts to see which resonates the most and which has the highest demand. 
    3. This is also used to ask customers themselves to pitch concept ideas for products and services.concept testing 
  2. Customer development
    1. Conceived by an entrepreneur, this is the mid-portion of the lean startup model, which is designed to tackle the problems in product development. 
    2. It requires first fully evaluating the product opportunity and then proving that the solution proposed will meet market demand and customer needs.
  3. Writing a business plan
    1. Before you embark on any new business, you’ll need to know whether your idea would be viable.
    2. Thus, you will need to create a business plan as a framework for all your new business undertakings. Learn how to do market research for a business plan
  4. Advertising research
    1. There are a variety of ways to use this form of research to test ad campaigns.
    2. You can conduct A/B tests of ads, run surveys, view existing ads in a similar business and more. 
  5. Brand tracking
    1. These campaigns involve measuring all your brand-building efforts, such as brand reputation, awareness and perception against key metrics. 
    2. There are various methods to keep track of your brand health, but using the brand tracking survey is one of the simplest and most accurate sources of this campaign. 
  6. Consumer analysis
    1. Analyzing your customers is the core of market research.
    2. There are various online approaches to conducting this research, including secondary and primary sources, which you can use to build your analysis.
  7. Purchase frequency
    1. Create specialized analyses, such as the RFM analysis to learn about customer buying patterns and behaviors. 
    2. Conducting online research can also help you increase your purchase frequency.
  8. Customer satisfaction
    1. Satisfying your customers involves using a variety of avenues to get them hooked on your products/services, engaged in your social and other posts and keeping your business top of mind. 
    2. Use research to test your customer support and engagement sessions.
  9. Business relationships
    1. Learn more about how your business customers, vendors and partners feel about working with you, or what they seek from the industry at large.
    2. You can do so via B2B surveys
  10. Learning how to lower bounce rate
    1. One of the many metrics you’ll contend with on your site, your bounce rate is one you’ll ideally want to lower.
    2. This involves testing your site’s UX and user-friendliness.
  11. Conducting global studies
    1. You’ll need to appeal to global customers beyond the ability to serve them. Conducting research will help you understand their cultures and norms to better market to them. 
    2. The right platform will make it easy to conduct global market research.

Forming Strong Business Campaigns 

Online market research guides and supports a vast variety of business matters. As such, you should never forgo conducting this research, as it reveals much about your customers and industry, and most importantly, informs you on the actions you need to take. 

You should therefore select your market research platform carefully. A strong market research company will allow you to fulfill all of your online market research activities. 

We suggest using a survey platform that offers a wide range of capabilities and functionalities. This will ensure valuable campaigns that are rich in insights, that also provide you with ease of survey deployment and analysis. 

Pollfish survey software allows you to create a thorough survey data collection, one you can customize to your liking, view however you choose and organize it to the max.

In addition, with our vast array of question types, you can create any type of online market research survey to support your research campaigns.

Researchers can leverage a wide pool of information on their respondents by accessing the data in their survey results dashboard.

When you have the support of such a platform, you can tackle all your research needs.