When should you choose social media sampling?


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The social networking revolution has opened up a new avenue for marketing research, for targeting respondents and for administering questionnaires. This new methodology adds to a range of already proven methods, including the two main traditional methods: telephone and online panels. 

Today, we tell you everything: when to use them, for which objectives and which parameters are intrinsic to the study? 

  1. Social network studies to reach all kinds of targets
  • Nat. Rep.: A representative sample of a country's population is called a national representative. This type of sample is frequently used for standard studies dedicated to polling national opinion and based on quotas of the national population. Whether by telephone, online panels or social networks: all methods have proven their worth for this exercise.
  • Niche targets: these are poorly represented populations that are very complicated to reach via telephone and panels (in the worst case impossible to reach, at best very expensive). Social networks offer a finesse of targeting that allows to question niche targets easily and at a lower cost.
  • Youth target: It is true to say that social network studies offer an unparalleled opportunity to interview young people. Young people who are not registered in panels and very reluctant to answer telephone surveys. On the other hand, to say that studies on social networks only allow you to interview young people is false!
  • Local target: A local target is, as its name indicates, a target within a limited geographical area. Due to the lack of depth in these small areas, it is very difficult to reach this type of target via panels. The exercise becomes possible with time and money via telephone but more and more complicated with the massive abandonment of the fixed telephone. Still thanks to the incredible targeting capacity of social networks, reaching local targets via this method is fast, easy and inexpensive!
  • International target: if multi-country studies are complex to set up via telephone surveys (language barrier, costs and time), they are possible by using panels. However, you will gain in speed and simplicity by using a single service provider and having all your results consolidated on the same platform!

  1. Studies via social networks for a collection in record time

Telephone surveys, because each questionnaire must be administered by an interviewer, do not allow for rapid data collection. By using online panels, the questionnaire is self-administered, which reduces the collection time.

However, social media surveys will offer you a quicker collection time due to the frequency of social media use, which facilitates rapid recruitment of respondents. At Episto, the average fielding time is 3 days!

  1. Social network studies to collect better responses

Authentic responses: Our experience has shown that social network surveys have many advantages for collecting authentic responses. In particular, thanks to :

  • to unaccustomed and unmotivated respondents
  • the smartphone, which is a familiar tool, on which respondents are used to giving their opinion and which they use when they are available
  • to an engaging questionnaire with familiar app look & feel, emojis, various question types, resemblance to a live and natural conversation.

Rich verbatims: according to our observations, the verbatims collected via social networks are 50% longer than those collected by online panels. Compared to telephone surveys, the verbatims are written by the respondents themselves rather than by the interviewer, which guarantees both neutrality and authenticity. 

  1. Social network studies for an engaging and adapted questionnaire

Multimedia questions: as with online surveys, social network surveys allow for the inclusion of multimedia content (videos, photos, audio) in the questionnaires. This is something that the CATI method (by telephone) cannot do. Even better, social network studies also allow for the collection of multimedia responses: respondents can be asked to film themselves, take photos or record audio! 

Long questionnaires with more than 60 questions: although online and CATI studies can send long questionnaires, we advise against exceeding 60 questions for a questionnaire via social networks because the conversational questionnaire must be engaging. This is not technically impossible, but it is strongly discouraged in order to avoid a high rate of abandonment during the questionnaire. 

Questionnaire involving a complex device: we also advise against using the social network research method if the questionnaire involves a complex device such aseye tracking by webcam. 

What to remember...

Studies via social networks will be an adapted method, and as we have seen: optimal, for surveys aimed at all kinds of targets, for insightful answers and a quick fieldwork. In terms of questionnaires: these studies will prove to be suitable for integrating or collecting multimedia elements.

But the need for this method to propose an engaging questionnaire will be a constraint for the length of the questionnaire (it must not exceed 60 questions) and for the complexity of the system.

Learn more about the benefits of social media research in our white paper.

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