Global Online Qual 1200

Why online qual means you can afford to research more markets

Tom Woodnutt

Tom Woodnutt

Feeling Mutual

Tom Woodnutt is Founder of Feeling Mutual, the agile online and mobile qualitative research specialists. He helps clients and agencies run global studies and offers training in the space. Tom has been a Digital Skills trainer for the Association of Qualitative Researchers (AQR) and is a regular speaker at industry conferences, including the MRS, MRMW and IleX.

Increasingly, clients want to cover more markets than their budgets have traditionally allowed. The significant direct costs associated with global face-to-face qualitative research have made multi-market projects unaffordable. Online qual allows you to affordably include additional markets by stripping out many of the direct costs.* Moreover, you can actually get more depth by doing the research online.

Online qual removes direct costs from global research

By carrying out global qual projects online, you can cut many of the direct costs required for face-to-face research. For example, you don’t need a viewing facility, simultaneous translators, refreshments, flight tickets, hotels or extortionate taxis. You will still need to pay for the online qual platform licence, recruitment, incentives and native language speaking moderators – but the net effect is that you save money.

Online qual gives more in-depth feedback than face-to-face groups

Some people might refute this, but I’d argue that you get more depth in a well-designed piece of online qual. If online qual is not live and people feed back in parallel sessions, then it’s the equivalent of doing multiple depth interviews. For example, if you speak to eight people (paying them £50 each for two hours of their time), you get eight times more feedback in online:

  • In a live face-to-face focus group, your two hours would be split between eight people (since only one person can speak at a time) = 2 hours of feedback in total for £400 (i.e. 15 minutes per person)
  • In asynchronous online qual, you’d get two hours of feedback per person, all happening in parallel = 16 hours of feedback in total for £400 (i.e. 120 minutes per person)

While it’s true that some people type more slowly than they speak, the net effect is still in online’s favour. In addition, people often condense their thoughts and feelings more succinctly online (and are more likely to open up emotionally because they don’t have the social pressure of having to talk while people in the room stare at them!).

Save thousands from your budget by doing global qual research online

To bring this to life, imagine a typical four-market European study with 32 people per market (i.e. four groups of eight participants per market).

Face-to-face direct costs:

Not including recruitment or incentives, which are similar in both scenarios, you would spend around:

£12,000 on viewing facilities, simultaneous translators and refreshments

£2000 on moderator travel costs, accommodation and sustenance

= £14,000

Online direct costs:

If you did the same project online, the platform licence costs across four markets would be around £5000 (assuming it runs for a week). There would be no viewing, simultaneous translation, refreshments or travel costs.

= £5000

Face-to-face feedback:

Eight people per group over 2 hours = 2 hours in total (15 mins per person, per group - as only one person can speak at a time).

Multiplied across four groups and four markets

= 32 hours of feedback in total

Online feedback:

Eight people per group, each giving 2 hours = 16 hours in total (2 hours per person).

Multiplied across four groups and four markets

= 256 hours of feedback in total

In the above typical scenario, you'd save around £9000 in terms of direct set-up costs by carrying out the project online. That said, you'd need to invest a little more in moderator consultancy time but none-the-less, the net effect is that you save thousands of pounds and get an extra 224 hours of participant input, all without leaving the comfort of your own office.

Global online qual also gives you things face-to-face cannot

Online qual research not only wins the value argument in terms of depth, but also in terms of form. For example, online and mobile projects also give you inspirational in-the-moment video and photo feedback, which gets you closer to real behaviour and brings insights to life with more colour.

If you’re interested in finding out more about carrying out successful global online qual projects, please come along to the next Masterminds training session. Email tom@feelingmutual.com to find out more.

*Although online qual makes global research much cheaper, this does not necessarily apply to domestic projects. Read this post to make sure you accurately cost your online qual projects.


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