Three Reasons Why Social Media Is A Key Player In Market Research

Social media research and insight is a powerful tool for companies in this day and age. The reach of social media and the speed at which feedback can be collected means that any brand that does not incorporate social media into their customer feedback programme is missing out on valuable insight. 

Low Cost Solution

One of the key benefits of social media is that it provide brands with a free space to engage with their customers. In comparison to other research methods, such as focus groups and interviews, it is a much cheaper and accessible way to gather feedback although it’s worth bearing in mind that social media is unlikely to deliver the same depth and quality of data. Research data sourced from social media is often most useful when used alongside more traditional methods, as a complementary approach or as additional evidence. It could also be used for deeper dives where something is worthy of further investigation.

In the moment feedback

Social media is quick and accessible 24/7. Whether the post is a picture of a customer’s favourite drink or a negative response to a cancelled train, social media provides a platform for quick customer feedback to be gathered by the brand’s market research teams. A problem can be quickly dealt with, if an efficient social media team are on hand to handle any negative feedback and offer solutions as soon as possible. 

 Scope of reach

Social media’s popularity is still increasing across virtually every market demographic. This makes it possible to conduct market research with an audience that is far larger than other sources. Facebook, for example, has by far the largest user base with over 30 million people (around half of the UK population) actively using the site – and it is most favoured by 23-37 year olds. That’s not to say that some of the older generation aren’t engaged, with just less than 60% of 52-71 year olds being active users (Avocado Social, 2018).

What can we expect to see in the future? 

Social media is here to stay - active social media users make up 3.2 billion, or 42% of the population (Forbes, 2018). But what changes will we see in the future of its role in the market research space? 

We expect to see Twitter, Facebook and Instagram still playing a prevalent role, with Chat Bots also moving to the centre stage. Chatbots have the potential to put the conversational element back into the survey taking process - advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) have enabled chatbots to make it difficult for people to distinguish if they are having a conversation with a bot or a human. Messenger type chats between bots/human and bots have the potential to be a much more ‘enjoyable’ experience for the respondent due to the ease and intuitive nature of this new methodology, compared to more traditional survey methods. This opens up an exciting opportunity for new approaches in the industry, providing researchers and consultants with another tool in the toolbox. 


“Listening to customers can identify opportunities, avoid mistakes and positively impact word of mouth...”

Mark Squires, Chief Executive - Watermelon

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