Referring to video as a “technology” can seem rather quaint, seeing as how the first cameras to capture color images emerged in the 1950s, and video telephony was born in the late 1960s (courtesy of the AT&T picturephone, which reportedly cost over $500 million in R&D).
Even in the world of market research, video has been around for decades. For example, it is common practice to record (with participant consent of course!) focus groups for further analysis, and to compare different sessions. However in many ways, we are just now tapping into how video can enhance and elevate market research, so that it generates even more insight and intelligence for businesses, associations, and all other organizations that rely on market research-derived data to make faster and smarter decisions.
Considering the above, here are three exciting and innovative ways that video technology is improving market research now, and into the future:
Video ethnography has been around for decades, and is probably best known in popular culture as the social science behind the notion of reality TV show “stars”. When they take a few moments out of their (ridiculous) lives to head into a small room, click record on a portable video recorder, and pour out their heart and soul time after time, we get a look into their customs and culture.
However, what has changed in recent years is the proliferation of smartphones and tablets that have built-in video cameras, which in turn have given rise to mobile ethnography. This enables market research participants to record aspects of their day-to-day life (e.g. shopping at the grocery store, buying a car, returning an item at a store, etc.), and to leverage device technologies such as QR code scanning and SMS messaging to provide even more insights about what they’re thinking, feeling and doing. This in turn is providing researchers with penetrating, and in many cases unprecedented insights.
Online Focus Groups and Market Research Online Communities (MROC)
Online focus groups and MROCs have been around (in one form or another) for decades. However, the emergence of web conferencing technology, combined with the availability and affordability of high speed internet bandwidth, have elevated these methods and made them far more valuable and insightful for market researchers.
For example, in addition to (or sometimes rather than) having participants compose a response to a list of potential product names, researchers can engage them through web conferencing (i.e. video) to glean body language, tone, and other cues. At the same time, many participants find it simpler and easier to talk about what they’re experiencing, feeling and thinking versus writing them, which increases engagement and reduces attrition (i.e. people dropping out of a market research project before it has completed).
On top of this, all video interaction can be easily stored and shared among researchers and other stakeholders. Even thousands of hours of video can easily fit on an external hard drive no bigger than the size of a smartphone, or stored in the cloud.
Qualitative Facial Expression Recognition Technology
Qualitative facial expression recognition technology is a method of using video to capture extremely fast “micro-expressions” at the point-of-experience — and therefore reveal incredibly useful insights, since emotional reaction precedes cognitive reaction.
For example, a participant who is shown a product package may think, believe and say that they find it “pretty” or even “beautiful.” However, qualitative facial expression recognition technology may reveal that the participant’s initial reaction was one that suggested concern or confusion. Perhaps this is because the packaging reminded them of something alarming (e.g. a weapon), but they quickly dismissed the idea — or rather, to achieve congruence, their brain dismissed it for them!
The above are just some of the exciting and innovative ways that video technology is improving market research now and into the future. To learn more, and to exploit these advantages to generate profitable business intelligence, contact the Communications For Research team today. You’ll speak with our co-CEO Colson Steber to determine whether video technology should be a part of your market research plans.
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