Leveraging Online Behavior: Harnessing Emotional Insights from Online Qualitative

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Immersive Online Discussions, Online Qualitative Research


Emily Prozeller

Vice President, Communities & Panels

Harnessing emotional insights from qualitative research is imperative to really get into the mind of the consumer. Some may think that in-person work is the only way to build and uncover these emotional insights, but we’ve found that this can be accomplished just as well online. We want to showcase how we have been able to capture these same deep insights that you’re used to from traditional qualitative research by using an online methodology.

We cultivate the right environment for our participants, which ultimately helps us earn the right to capture the emotions we want to understand. We earn this right in three different ways:

  • Leverage online behavior
  • Find the moment
  • Acknowledge intimate material

In part one of a three-part series, we’re going to focus on the techniques we use to leverage online behavior. Here are the four ways we have found can be most effective:

1. Give Ownership Over the Online Space

The notion of owning space online caters very well to online qualitative research because most participants have ownership online in their everyday lives. Most do this through the use of social media where they:

  • Build their narratives on Facebook
  • Post pictures on Instagram
  • Give opinions on Twitter

The notion of owning online space caters really well to online qualitative research because most participants have ownership online in conjunction with their everyday lives. They are comfortable online because they own a little bit of the space and put some of themselves out there on a daily basis. Owning a space online is a familiar territory for most and something that is easy to leverage in our online qualitative – it specifically helps participants share openly in this setting.

2. Foster Free Thought and Linear Question Flow

While we still want to make sure we ask key questions in a standard linear question flow, we also want to make sure we leave some white space. This means that we want to leave a little wiggle room for participants to share emotional reactions and thoughts with us that we didn’t directly ask for. With that in mind, we try to both foster free thought and tackle the objective questions we need to get at as well.

3. Post Videos and Share Back

We post welcome videos to the individuals as they come in and continue to post them along the way to let participants know we appreciate their efforts. And when possible, we share back by letting them know how their feedback has helped us and our clients. This reinforces to the participants that we moderators are people just like them and helps us build deeper connections because they’ve seen us and have had back and forth communication with us.

4. Build on Social Media Tools

With participants’ daily use of the various social media outlets, we can leverage these by using a familiar environment overall in online qualitative projects.

Leveraging online behavior is just the beginning of how we approach earning the right with consumers. Next in our series, we will look at how to find the moment in an online qualitative research project!

In the meantime, to get a more in-depth look at how to gain emotional insights from online qualitative, view our webinar!

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