Here at the7stars, we’re always looking to enhance our research capabilities. As the world of market research evolves, there’s an ever-expanding selection for us to consider when looking for the tool of best fit for any given project. Just recently, we’ve seen a higher consideration for repurposing smaller, more everyday messenger apps for running qualitative exercises. For example, we regularly speak to people across the UK this way in the QT. The insight garnered from these groups has increased our confidence in using apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for qual.

Some reasons for considering these apps:

Familiarity – we use these apps on a daily basis and, being so widespread, so do all our respondents. This reduces tech issues that can put respondents off taking part or prevent them from fully expressing their thoughts and feelings. These tech issues can also affect us in running groups, but by using apps we’re familiar with (who isn’t already part of multiple group chats?!) allows us to confidently set-up and run groups. It also means people don’t have to download a new app that they’re unfamiliar with and can sometimes cause suspicion.

Engaging – the owners of these apps have spent billions making sure their users enjoy the platform and engage with them all day every day. As such, respondents enjoy taking part as communicating via them is such a natural, familiar thing for them to do. People can be more responsive and open as a result, allowing a greater level of communication with us. This can be especially useful when trying to communicate with younger audiences.

Media – sharing photos, videos and sound clips over messenger apps is such a prevalent behaviour, the apps are all well established in their ability to facilitate this. Our research has become more media-based and it’s surprising how many research supplier platforms still struggle with this. Having to communicate to respondents that images need to be in certain formats, or videos have to be under a certain length or size, is sometimes an unwelcome part of online qual. Messenger apps eradicate this.

Secure – GDPR is coming. At the forefront of data security scrutiny is often the likes of Facebook who own the messenger apps we use for research. Their focus on encryption and other security measures is reassuring for us running these groups and for respondents taking part.

Futureproof – these apps are always evolving to better suit user needs. This is great for us as it means they are always up to date, allowing us to capture insight in the most current ways possible. The use of chatbots to run group conversations is just one possibility in the not too distant future for example.

Cost – Zero! Well, for the platforms at least. Reducing the cost of such projects is great for us and our clients. It also allows clients with tighter research budgets (or time constraints) to run bespoke research projects and unearth genuine consumer insights.

Chatbot conducted, Snapchat qual groups anyone?