Behavioral research is disrupting the market research industry and it’s time you discover its capabilities. When you set your fears aside, you’ll see that these new research methods are actually quite innovative. You may even surprisingly find that you’re familiar with some behavioral research methods already. Whereas other techniques will seem like something out of a science fiction film.
From monitoring physical activity to tracking online behavior, the market research industry is continually creating new ways to observe and understand consumer behavior. Before we dive deeper, make sure you don’t drown in information: First, you should understand the difference between behavioral and declarative data. Then, come back and dip into these innovative behavioral data collection methods:
Social Media Listening
Analyzing what’s being said about your organization, products, or competitors on social media is considered social media listening. For those who love numbers though, social media listening is different than social media monitoring in the sense that you aren’t quantitatively collecting the numbers of likes, retweets, mentions, etc. Listening is a qualitative form of behavioral research where you are reading the language of your audience, understanding their tone, and interpreting their emotions to create actionable insights.
Using this organic information, you can learn a lot about your target market. Social media listening allows you to understand the relationship between your consumers and your brand without directly asking, which could arguably provide more genuine data in regards to opinionated feedback. Another perk of this method is being able to react in real time to your audience to improve their experience. There are plenty of sentiment analysis tools that can help uncover your target audience’s overall feel towards your brand, competitors, etc. The importance of this method? You can get 5,000 mentions on Twitter, but how do you know if they're all positive?
Facial Coding and Eye Tracking
Just like social listening, online facial coding is a technique used to interpret consumer emotions without the bias of self reporting. Revolutionary automated software makes monitoring, analyzing, and interpreting facial expressions and eye movement possible through webcams.
Numerous psychological research studies have provided evidence that facial expressions are universally understood emotional responses. Research has even demonstrated that blind individuals make the same facial expressions as non-blind individuals. Meaning, facial expressions are natural, biological reactions, not responses we learn from those around us. These findings help establish facial coding as a legitmate research method to analyze brand perceptions, reactions and sentiments.
With similar software, eye tracking can help us understand what attracts the viewer online. Will your ad catch their eye (literally)? Do they notice product placement? Consumers are bombarded with information all day. Facial coding and eye tracking help you understand what information triggers a response and catches attention.
Unlike the above methods, passive metering is a technique used to collect objective information about stable facts, not sentiments. Market researchers can now see what consumers are doing on thier phones, tabletx, and desktops with installable tracking software. With permission from consumers, clickstream data can be passively collected about they websites visited, keywords searched, and apps used across all devices. (Psst, find out why consumers share information about their online activities here)
Rather than asking, which can result in misreporting, passive metering allows us to analyze factual activity that cannot be altered by the consumer. Behavioral data can also be combined with other forms of data to get a deeper understanding of consumers. Passively metering consumers, in conjunction with other forms of market research, can help us capture a holistic view of who our targets are, what their opinions are, and what their behaviors are like.
Combining different layers of data, such as survey information and behavioral data, is critical in today’s market research industry. It not only helps us identify both the opinions and behaviors of our consumers, but gives us the opportunity to interpret why there’s discrepancy between the two… and you’d be surprised how often opinion and behavior don’t align.
From improved declarative techniques to newfound behavioral methods, there’s many more ways to collect and combine information about your consumers. The new types of data for market research ebook goes deeper into all the ways you can expand your MR horizons. Dive in.