Online Qualitative: Easing Respondents into New Technology
August 25, 2023

Online Qualitative Research: Easing Respondents into New Technology

Brands are embracing online qualitative research for many projects, finding it effective and successful. Respondents are not always as ready. Tech savvy respondents may find online easy or even easier. Still research includes people with all levels of comfortableness on the technology spectrum. That’s good to remember especially as the advantages are also undeniable. So, let’s discuss those two areas of online qualitative here.

In this article, I discuss:

Making online qualitative research easy for all respondents

People feel better about what they know and have experienced, but online qualitative research can be a little less intuitive for some possible respondents. Where we often see focus groups represented on a favorite TV comedy or in a movie, people are a little less likely to experience online qualitative until they are part of a project. Whether the research is nationwide, in a specific market, or a single zip code, recruitment of respondents is about making sure that everyone is comfortable, excited and engaged.

As we are even more focused forward with online qual, our team has developed additional robust strategies to support respondents. Let’s discuss those.

Identifying with the Concern

We always want the best people who represent the market of the brand! Still, that can sometimes present a challenge regardless of the size of the footprint for the project. With online qualitative, potential respondents can occasionally be concerned about their ability to use the technology, so we have embraced support to encourage everyone to be part of online qualitative research. Recruiters answer questions about the project, the research and the steps involved in participation.

Let Respondents Know What to Expect

Surprises can be great, but not always so in marketing research. If videos are expected, individual homework or a one-on-one interview, we prepare the respondent as part of the recruitment process, and make sure they are comfortable. When a respondent knows up front what is part of the project, we have the opportunity to make sure that they are educated in how to do the assignment that is a vital part of the research, feel valued, and also be successful. We are here to help the less tach-savvy people who have thoughts to share.

Don’t just tell people, show them

We love when our clients provide an information packet or screen shots of what the platform will look like, and the experience that the respondents will share with them and with the client. Showing respondents how user friendly the platform is can go a long way with the less tech savvy people for research. Also, a friend on the inside never hurts! Respondents have the contact information of our team to guide them if they feel overwhelmed or challenged by the technology that they are likely using for the first time. We are excited, and they get excited, too.

Advantages of online qualitative research

Thinking about your future research projects, whether you select traditional in-person focus groups, online research, or both, the methodology has benefits and limitations. Methodology is a critical decision to make the appropriate choice for your research.

1. Flexibility for participants

As the research project is virtual, participants will have more flexibility. Respondents from San Diego can be in the same group as those from Philadelphia. Online crosses time zones and even countries, if needed.

2. Urban, Suburban & Rural, all in one

Location and transportation are not issues when the focus group is online. Instead of being limited to the size of the venue, with online focus groups you can have as many participants as deemed necessary from anywhere that the brand feels is their target market.

3. On the go

Many participants will likely have jobs, schools, and families to care for during this challenging time, which stretch them a bit further. By utilizing platforms that are available in mobile and desktop formats, participants can be part of the study wherever they are, and the time commitment is really just the 90 minutes of the actual group.

4. Probable cost savings.

Technology costs can be higher or lower, depending on the platform, but it is likely the project will save on cost. In addition to the cost of travel, it is a bit lower cost to recruit the respondents, and incentives tend to be a tiny bit lighter.

Online qualitative recruitment is another tool that we have on our tool belt here to help you get the right respondents for your research.