How to determine if you should use in-person vs. online focus groups?

How do you make the decision to do Focus groups online vs. in-person? We recommend focusing on study goals and team learning prefereneces rather than simply looking at budget. seo information . While online groups can reduce travel and facility costs, they often increase complexity in terms of organization and don’t always provide team members with the required “seeing” to believe! So, online research needs to be managed carefully.

We recommend looking at the following considerations when trying to determine if online is the appropriate methodology:

1)  What is the benefit for the study in having the team Watch the respondents and their reactions? While online groups utilizing video streaming can approximate the back-room experience, there really is no substitute to getting those deep visceral reactions afforded to in-person attendees. If you are conducting Ad-views, product demonstrations, or have very tactile stimuli and it is important for members of your team to see respondents interaction, we recommend in-person over online (even if that means fewer groups).

2)  What is the nature of the “homework” or pre-group stimulus? Often times you want the consumer to experience other brands, products or environments before the discussion. Whether competitive shopping, or trying to get the consumer in the right mindset, extended (and mobile) homework assignments can frequently be enhanced by an online experience. We recommend combining short surveys with photo upload for “road” assignments, followed by a more comprehensive “daily journal” at home (we prefer utilizing Facebook for this component!).

3)  On the fly changes: Oddly, both in-person and online afford researchers the ability to make quick changes to the research—just in different ways! In-person can be wonderful for highly creative types (i.e. Agency personnel) looking to make real-time tweaks to ad copy or ad lobs, as the emotional reactions of the group can be interpreted and used. On the other hand, the rapid iteration afforded by online groups (due to their speed of deployment) can mean entire Discussion guide changes can easily be deployed—perfect for early exploratory work.

Of course, cost is also a factor. As well as travel time and staffing concerns. But, we believe the best practice is to focus on the study outputs to determine how you organize the research inputs!

Probing specific digital habits of your customers

One area of research we find many digital marketers ignore is utilizing research to probe on digital habits–specifically for heavy users or super fans–and comparing that to anonymized Ad Analytics data (i.e. 3rd party Behavioral data). . This can be extremely insightful for your Advertising targeting folks, and can often confirm or supplement information they receive from the 3rd party cookie information.

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Often, we find large differences between groups of web users. For example, visitors to your web site might have vastly different profiles than Facebook fans, or mobile app users, or even older email list members. Carefully matching targeted research to higher-level Ad targeting feedback can be a great way to identify lower cost (more efficient) ad inventory AND also help make ad creative much more relevant and specific to the Audience you are trying to reach.

Measure twice, Serve once! (As Ben might have said today)…

Happy Hunting!

Qualitative Research Process

Over the next few blog posts, we will examine the Best practices around each Phase of Qualitative Research. Stay tuned for tips on maximizing your recruiting, perfecting your discussion guide, and back room participant/moderator collaboration!

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While most of the “insights and action” happens in Phase IV, the pre-planning work in Phase I and recruitment work in Phase II are critical to your project’s success. Getting all key stakeholders to participate in these phases is critical! And, something we will be covering extensively in upcoming posts.


OMMA Social Presentation: “Getting the Most out of your Facebook Data”

Thought we would upload our recent presentation from OMMA’s Social LA event this past Wednesday, October 24th (

The presentation is entitled “Getting the most out of your Facebook” data, and includes tips and examples of how data helped to do better ad targeting, lower CPC’s, identify new ad properties/interests in user base, and identify brand VIP’s!

Getting the Most out of your Facebook Data

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Measuring who and how we influence, via Social Network Analysis


We’ve spent a good amount of time plotting our various Facebook research participants within the contexts of their Social Graphs (Social Network Analysis) relative to what responses they provide for a variety of surveys and qualitative discussions. Some interesting insights can be derived (and new “Community types” labelled) when you look at people’s friends and various “likes” vs consumption patterns.

Here we have mapped 22 communities on Fast Food preference, and identified some key node consumers. Much, much more work to be done to begin to peel apart various behavioral and demographic attributes that may also be contributing, but we like using these visual data tools to lead exploration–plus they are helpful in client presentations!

What tools are you using to visualize these types of Data Networks and Social Graphs? And, what kinds of additional attributes are you using to analyze market research patterns within Social communities?

Note: all data collection from our Facebook Market Research application PerceptionCheck (

GP Aaron



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Our awesome client! Posts “Thank you” for using our PerceptionCheck Facebook Application!

Taco Bell Facebook Fan Thank You
Taco Bell Thanks Fans for Using GetPerception’s PerceptionCheck application! 

Utilizing “research” to not only get ideas but also to generate engaging, two-way conversation topics–Taco Bell posts a “thank you” picture to their fans for providing marketing feedback utilizing our PerceptionCheck social research application for Facebook. Check out the post, where they used the images from folks who had installed the application, to create a “mosaic” with their logo super-imposed. Cool. Thoughtful. And appreciated.

Way to go Taco Bell!

GP Brauchitsch