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Online Market Research

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Online Market Research

Online market research can take a number of forms - from long term communities and panels, to online focus groups which are a couple of hours long, all the way down to 2 minute surveys.

When considering short online surveys, it is generally recommended that these be kept as short as is possible for the subject material - due mainly to the fact that it is very easy for a respondent to simply click of the survey and continue browsing the web. That said, there are certain methods that can be used to increase response rate and limit the number of drop outs; these include informing respondents of how far through the questionnaire they are (often through a percentage bar in the top corner for instance); making the length of the survey clear at the outset, and designing the survey to be as engaging and as interesting as possible. Open ended questions may also be kept to a minimum to ensure the survey is as short as possible.

Online surveys can be delivered in a number of ways - including via email invitation, on paper (asking respondents to type in a link directly for instance), through social media and through website popups among others.

Online market research also includes qualitative methodologies such as online focus groups - where stimuli can be shown on screen for instance, and online communities and panels. Panels often have a more quantitative element as they are essentially large databases which hold information about numerous respondents. Surveys can be sent out the panel members in order to save on the time and cost of having to free-find individuals to take part in the research. Many local councils operate 'People's Panels' to quickly solicit the view points of local residents on key issues. DJS Research operates an education market research panel known as VoicED, which allows education professionals to give their opinion on developments within the learning and skills sector. The site which members join can be visited here: VoicED education market research.

Communities are more qualitative orientated and involve respondents joining an online forum of sorts. Researchers can pose questions and allow respondents to reply, or they can choose to simply obeserve respondents' conversations. Communities may last from a faw days to several months or even years.

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