Market research, like any other social science tends to reinvent itself, and in this sense, online research in recent years is gradually acquiring greater importance in the methodologies applied in the area of ​​market research.

According to a study by Telecyl Mk 360º, 61.9% (*) of the companies, object of the study, carry out online research. Half do it internally, that is, with the company’s own staff and they allocate less than 10% of their market research budget.

The most used technique by companies is the online survey (93.6%). In lesser proportion, the techniques of discussion groups or in-depth online or Mistery shopping online interviews are used (around 10% each). Online surveys are usually done either by sending the survey via email (78.1%), by hanging the survey on the web (34.2%) or by using a panel of online surveys (31.5%).

Most companies combine online research techniques with traditional ones. Only 5.1% use online techniques exclusively.

Novel techniques: The most innovative online research techniques in the market are the virtual community, Webmonitoring and Test of usability of Web pages.

Usability test of Web pages: It is about testing how users use a product or Web service to detect strengths or weaknesses. Percentage of use: 44.9% of companies that use online research perform usability tests of their Web pages.

Webmonitoring: It consists of analyzing what is said about a product or service from online digital media, blogs, multimedia storage platforms, etc. Percentage of use: 26.9% of the companies that conduct online research use the webmonitoring technique.

Virtual community: These are spaces created by companies to collect feedback from consumers, customers, parties or employees. On the one hand we have communities where there is interaction between users such as social networks and on the other the online panels where the user does not interact is limited to receiving surveys. Percentage of use: less than 2 out of 10 companies that use online research have created a virtual community (15.4%).

Utilities of online research: According to the companies surveyed, Customer Satisfaction Studies are the main utility of online research (83.3%). The use is reduced by half in the Studies of brand positioning or products (44.9%). While it decreases around 20% in the Pretest studies of products and services, Studies to measure the impact of Marketing campaigns and actions (Pretest and posttest), Market sizing studies and segmentation and Studies of habits and type of consumption.

Advantages and disadvantages of online research: The main advantage of conducting online research is the rapidity in carrying out the research (60.3%) due to the reduction of the execution periods of the field work. Other outstanding advantages: being a cheaper alternative to traditional research (32.5%), the wide coverage that can be reached (15.9%) and the greater sincerity in the answers (14.3%).

While the main drawbacks of this technique are, in the opinion of the respondents, it is not possible to verify the identity of the interviewee (38.1%) and the lower quality of the data (31.7%). Followed by low response rates (14.3%) and low Internet use in certain population groups (9.5%).

Future trends of online research: There is a clear tendency for the future to increase the use of online research, both at a general level and at a particular level in the companies surveyed.

Mainly in the research of social networks (61.9%), followed by Web 2.0 analysis (40.5%) and Web analytics (34.1%). These trends will be used more in the Marketing Departments than in the Quality Departments. The study was presented by Montserrat Martín, director of Telecyl Sociological and Market Research, who presented the results in the framework of the conference “New clients, new research” organized by the Excellence in Management Club and which had the collaboration of Telecyl Mk 360º.