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As a member of an online data collation team that supports leading market researchers... my answer is yes. Harnessing Web 2.0 is having a significant impact on market research.

There are two areas 1) programming and hosting surveys and 2) online sample solutions.

First, please let me try to explain the impact on programming and hosting surveys in meeting social network demands. From our experience we have grouped this impact on surveys into three areas, they include:

1) Dynamic Questions: The surveys are becoming much more customized to meet social network members' preferences and thoughts. Rather than static questions we are seeing researchers designing questions that are formed based on a respondents answers to one or more previous answers.

2) Interactive Media: The social network is a highly engaging environment. It demands high impact images that interact with the respondent. This is beyond playing a video ad, radio, print or web page. In one example researchers are requesting that respondents’ likes and dislikes are done using an image. They simply click on the part of the image they like (a picture of a car) and parts they dislike. Then for reporting purposes all the respondents results are represented in a cluster map which is overplayed on top of the original image (i.e. all the points, using one color for likes and another color for dislikes, are shown on the image of the car)

3) Complex logic. We are seeing researchers stretching the imagination of what surveys can do to prepare for social network capabilities. A patient chart study is a good example where complex logic is required. Today researchers are looking to have the surveys programmed to instruct physicians to pull patient charts, gather longitudinal data (i.e. for diabetes studies gather blood sugar levels over time) and presents this data at the end of the survey for product / concept evaluations by the physician.

And for online sample solutions, please let me explain the Web 2.0 impact on how researcher recruits people over the internet to participate in online surveys. Again, we have grouped the impact on sample into there areas, they include:

1) Online communities: Traditionally online sample solutions are provisioned through online panels. Members of these panels are fully opted-in, verified and willing to participate in online studies. For instance in healthcare we know of over 400,000 physician’s world wide willing to participate in online research. Most of these physicians are recruited through what we referred to as a pseudo online community. The physician joins a group / web site and receives education, journals, reports, free clinical software tools (medical calculators) etc, then they are asked if they would like to be part of a panel for online research. The ones that agree are requested to participate in online surveys. Today there is only one online community that we know of where physicians truly participate in a social network. This is sermo. For more details please visit their site at

2) Virtual Incentive: Typically people are given an incentive to participate in an online survey such as sweepstakes, money or a point system where they can be exchanged for gifts or money. With social networks, we are seeing a virtual incentive. For instance to gain access to generation Y sample target is extremely difficult. However through using facebook these members can be easily reached, with a 29% response rate. One method is using Fluffy Friends “munny” for compensation. Yes believe it or not “munny.” Please see facebook and the Fluffy Friends application for details. This community represents about 160,000 daily users. We are looking forward on seeing how this virtual incentive matures within a social network.

3) Digital Fingerprint: New methods are required to identify respondents as more and more are recruited from social networks. A respondent may join multiple social networks and multiple online communities within a social network, and ultimately be recruited to take the same survey twice. This is where digital fingerprints are needed. One method takes 150 points of data from the respondent’s computer to create a unique fingerprint. Then regardless of the community or panel they belong to they can be identified.

In my opinion the biggest impact on market research from Web 2.0 is keeping up with rapid innovation

I hope this helps


Steve I think that your comment is more interesting than my original post.I think that your parting thought really grabs the whole premise of the post - keeping up with the technology is what is going to be the crux of successful forward progress.

If we look at the real core of these systems they are designed to bring people together and provide them space for interaction and conversations. In so many ways that is the real gold mine in market research - captive audience willing to converse.

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