How Social Media Research can
complement Qualitative Research
Jim Longo
Vice President of
Research and Marketing
Really, what is it?
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly
accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social
media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn
communication into interactive dialogue.
The Impact
1. Social Media is a Source for Consumer Insights
2. The Importance of “Listening” to Consumers
3. Market Insights with social research
4. Market Research Vendor Mash-Up
Who is using it?
• Measure Consumer Sentiment Analysis
• Like/Dislikes
• Buy/Not Buy
• Connect with Customers
How is SMM being used?
Social media monitoring tools are currently used in a variety of ways
and some tools are designed more for one specific use. Examples
– PR or Customer Relationship Management
– Marketing - campaign measurement
– Marketing research - to gain deeper insights
HOW the tool is used may also determine WHERE in an end-client
organization the platform resides, such as marketing, advertising, PR,
corporate communications.
– Market research clients may not even know that another
department is already using a platform that they may be able to
There may be a full-time staff member dedicated to social monitoring
or it might be part of a larger role, such as brand management.
Who owns social media?
There is currently a fair amount of controversy over ownership of this
new space.
Advertising agencies, market researchers and end clients are currently
fighting for this space.
Because digital conversations are “qualitative on a quantitative scale,”
many believe that analysis should reside with an objective researcher,
similar to the rationale as to why end clients should not conduct their
own market research.
Why do I care?
SMR can increase revenue
– SMR can serve as an additional revenue stream
SMR can add value
– Complement/support other methodologies
SMR can develop new business
– Used as part of your ‘pitch,’ SMR can differentiate you from other
competitive research agencies. Clients appreciate knowing that you
understand their brand AND can uncover strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats BEFORE they hire you.
SMR can build client relationships
– Transition from a project-to-project client relationship to a partnership
where you watch and monitor conversations about their brands, allowing
you to proactively suggest research topics versus waiting for the client to
come to you.
What can we learn from SMR
1. Uncover new/diverse consumer types and/or respondent groups
2. Learn the ‘language’ the target market speaks in, in order to better
inform other research methodologies or help hone d-guide creation
3. Unearth larger scale topics/issues that can be probed upon/expanded
in other deeper-dive methodologies
4. Uncover real-time, current buzz without having to wait until it
becomes mainstream
5. Understand where conversations are taking place, so as to direct
marketing efforts towards specific channels AND leverage the
opportunity to launch and fuel conversations where there currently
are none
6. Add value to any research execution while limiting time and budget
resources, yet maximizing geographical coverage
Sum it up
Online Qualitative
Social Media Monitoring
Real World Example
Discussion Levels: Casual Dining
Real World Example
Sentiment: Casual Dining
This chart shows that Red Lobster has
relatively the same number of positive and
negative comments as compared to other
seafood chains and another Darden
subsidiary (Olive Garden), but is viewed
more favorably than Applebees. (This
analysis could be modified to represent any
other restaurant chains in Red Lobster’s
competitive set.)
Real World Example
Brand Passion Index: Casual Dining
The Brand Passion Index is a measure of three metrics – buzz (size of bubbles), sentiment and
passion. Here, we see that Red Lobster and Olive Garden see about the same number of
mentions, but that consumers have stronger feelings about Olive Garden – though they are not
always as positive as those for Red Lobster. Again, Applebees shows quite a bit of negative
sentiment… which may be worth digging into – providing an opportunity for Red Lobster to “win”
and capitalize on areas where Applebees loses.
Real World Example
Top Likes: Red Lobster
While seafood gets the most mentions in terms of what
consumers like about Red Lobster, interestingly it’s shrimp
(by a landslide) versus any other seafood that gets talked
about most. Further digging could yield exactly what it is that
consumers like about the shrimp dishes. Depending on
research objectives, this could help fuel strategy for
promotions (shrimp meal coupons?), website development
(recipes online?), etc. The same could be done for those
widely-talked-about biscuits that we all know and love!
Real World Example
Top Dislikes: Red Lobster
Price dominates here in terms of a
negative factor. Further mining can
uncover more specific concerns relative
to price.
Unhealthy food – what’s
unhealthy? Could there be
misconceptions that
perhaps Red Lobster could
educate consumers on?
Food poisoning and tummy
aches make up 10% - are
these coming from certain
menu items? Certain
Would be interesting
to see what
consumers are
comparing Red
Lobster’s quality to?
What’s better?
What’s worse?
Real World Example
Verbatim Sampling: Quality
The first comment here seems
to relate to service as well as
food (“salty”) – this is where the
skill of the researcher is needed
to uncover themes that are true
reflections of food quality and
not other forms of quality.
A Qualitative Facelift
A Revised Purpose
To explore the optimal utilization of Social Media tools in conjunction with
traditional and non-traditional qualitative research methodologies and
serve as a case study for all qualitative researchers looking to incorporate
Social Media methodologies into a holistic research solution.
Upon study completion, the project team generated actionable
recommendations and a published case study exemplifying the nuances of
Social Media and how it can best apply to market research in the
qualitative setting.
 Facebook
 Enhanced search feature
 Facebook-based apps
 Mobile apps
 Twitter
 Location-based application
 Real-time search
 Free Twitter-based aggregation client
 Google Reader
 Itracks
 OLFG and BBFG Platforms
 In-Person FGs
The Conversation
The Conversation
The Conversation
Online to In-Person – Sort of . . .
selected from
Phase I data
recruited via Itracks
– Viewers of the
Online Bulletin
 OLBBs with viewers of the premiere
 Compare and contrast sentiment and viewpoints from both respondent
groups with data captured in Phase I
 Focus on Starbucks Via brand
 Utilization of Flip cameras for in-home and experiential feedback
 Respondents will allow temporary access to their SM habits via following
on Twitter or adding as friend on Facebook
SMR In Action
1. We Listened With Social Media Monitoring
2. We Asked With USA Talk Now
SMR In Action
3. We Received Feedback Using iMarkIt
Overall Starbucks' customers were positive about
the logo change and felt that it was a natural
evolution. We were also able to prove that the
change was a success in positioning the
organization as being more than just a coffee
Background – the study
Technology convergence
A synergistic combination of formerly discrete
digital technologies.
Functional Benefits
Emotional Benefits
Key Benefits
- Save time
- Save effort
- Save money
Maximize the
consumer’s ability to
fulfill personal needs
Tend to be products that are both highperforming & aesthetically pleasing
Degree of personalization & expressiveness;
more important for teens than adults.
Most critical for early & late majority
Social invitation to screener via “conventional”/free SM
Invitation to survey – leveraged Twitter
• Tweeted, retweeted
• Picked up by other sites
• Quality of recruits higher than panel
Digital ethnography
Ease of in-study modulation
Ease of implementation
Digital polling
Longitudinal in nature
Ease of application across locations
Low fiscal cost
Checkpoint/verification of
communication “gap” of expressed vs.
The Fallout
Why do I care? And why should you.
Social Media
• Sample Population
• Biased nature of population utilizing SM tools
• Unfamiliarity with tools/concepts
• Validity
The Fallout
 Proactively Suggest Research
 Recruitment
 Discussion Guide Development
 Speak the Consumers Language
 Build Relationships with Participants
 Strengthen Client Relationships
You have a choice!
Thank You
Jim Longo
Vice President of
Research and Marketing