When a potential high-value client says they need assistance in utilizing their DIY qualitative consumer insights platforms, I shift into problem-solving mode. We need to determine which of their DIY qualitative insights platforms are the right fit for their research objectives.
Before jumping into the platforms, first we consider…
Key Advantages of Online Qualitative Research
- Geographic Diversity: Online research eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming travel, enabling access to a wider range of participants.
- Client Convenience: Clients can participate from the comfort of their own locations, eliminating the need to allocate time for physical attendance.
Key Benefits of In-Person Research
- Micro Expressions and Body Language: In-person sessions allow researchers to observe nuanced cues like micro expressions and body language, which are often harder to discern online.
- Client Engagement: In-person sessions facilitate direct interaction between consumers and multiple functions within the client’s company, fostering deeper relationships among client team members.
- Enjoyment: The excitement of live sessions, occasional travel, and face-to-face engagement with participants and clients make in-person research fun!
In this case, online research is the client-preferred methodology for both the geographic diversity of respondents and lack of travel for the client.
DIY Qualitative Insights Platform Comparison
Three prominent DIY qualitative insights platforms are being considered: Discuss.io, dscout, and Voxpopme. Let’s examine the positives the platforms share.
Common Positives of these Online Qualitative Insights Platforms
- Quick, rich results. Close-up good quality video feedback from individual respondents. No more post-it notes, endless flip charts and grainy group videos from focus groups past.
- AI analytics to help summarize and analyze insights fast. Automatic transcription of the videos and the ability to search with keywords, for starters.
- Easy highlight reel production. The tech for summarizing key findings via video continues to improve. We all know a picture says a thousand words – video is even better.
- Clients get to hear directly from consumers in their own environments. Many topics are best covered by consumers in “the wild” – often mobile on their phone, potentially while shopping for or using a particular product/service.
Discuss is the online platform that will work best for the bulk of my current research studies. That could shift over time if clients want to lean more heavily on task-based ethnographic video selfies.
The Discuss platform is proprietary technology that complies with global regulations (particularly important for healthcare research) that allows moderators to talk with individuals or groups online.
The interface feels very much like the Zoom meetings everyone is used to, but there are no apps to download, you just click a link, to join the discussion.
The moderator can share their screen to review stimuli, and the respondent too is able to share their screen if needed.
Plus, there is a private observer back room and a key contact from the back room can privately chat with the moderator should they want to ask additional questions or shift the direction of the conversation. All of this will sound familiar to those who have done a lot of in-person research.
The discussion guide outline is loaded into the platform to help organize the insights for post session analysis. This makes the content accessible on-demand.
Another cool feature is the moderator or observers can hit a “save moment” button and a :30 second video clip will be saved starting :15 seconds before and ending :15 seconds after the button is hit. You can also load in pin tags to organize clips by subject or keyword.
When it comes to asynchronosity, prework and post work is possible, and you can do asynchronous work as a stand-alone project if preferred.
Discuss has both subscription based and ad hoc pricing. The latter works best for me as an independent moderator, but everyone should assess their own situations for what works best.
Paying ad hoc prices for me is analogous to the research facility and recruiting charges I pay for in-person research. Regular subscriptions were five figures monthly, but they have a get-going deal for 30 days for much less.
All the cool features, the ability to moderate “live” and the ad hoc pricing make Discuss the platform for my needs.
Let’s start with the name. Vox pop means “voice of the people” in Latin. Good name for a consumer insights tool.
Voxpopme is a platform that allows market researchers to pose questions to be answered by consumers via video selfies. This is a mostly asynchronous tool, allowing participants to answer at their leisure, which can be a positive in a lot of cases. And “leisure” does not mean slowly. Typical video surveys can be completed in just a couple days.
Further, Voxpopme has question/prompt templates based on use cases, such as concept testing or shopalong task-based studies, so you’re not starting each discussion guide from scratch.
And, if you’d like more help, Voxpopme has professional services you can add to your project for a fee, such as survey creation, managing sample recruitment and creating the showreel deliverable.
As a professional moderator, I usually prefer to interact with participants “live” so I can ask follow-up questions immediately. Voxpopme has this capability, but it doesn’t seem to be their core competency. For “live” recruits, those are typically supplied by the customer. The asynchronous video responses can come from Voxpopme’s panel.
The platform is also designed for single participants, and I still often value the thinking participants inspire in each other during focus groups, particularly groups of 3 to 8 (max) depending on the topic.
Pricing starts with a low five-figure base license cost. So to be cost-effective, you’ll need to have a client who’s already a subscriber, or have a stable of clients who all want to use Voxpopme.
For another $10K (when I spoke with them a short time ago) you can buy a sample package which includes 250 completes with people from their panel. Completes consist of up to 2-minute video answers for up to 7 questions. Many projects are scoped at 50 completes, so that package covers about 5 projects.
The high subscription cost, asynchronous factor, and 1:1 only option are the reasons why Voxpopme isn’t my preferred platform.
In this research platform “scouts” (participants) complete “missions” (activities such as shopping or product usage) and answer prompts via video chat.
They have a recruiting pool of 100K scouts, which I assume is growing. Or you can provide your own participants.
Dscout offers a variety of methodologies, including:
- Diary: for longitudinal studies.
- Live: for moderated one-on-one research.
- Express: for high volume, qually/quant, feedback.
This is another primarily 1:1 research platform, which is great when you want to see exactly how your specific consumer is behaving in the wild. It is an efficient way to get ethnographical feedback that I used to get by traveling to consumers’ homes with a videographer, or by shopping along with them and filming with my iPhone.
Pricing also starts with an even steeper five-figure subscription base, plus custom project costs for using the platform after that vary depending on the scope.
This high subscription cost is prohibitive, and it’s why dscout isn’t my preferred platform for my typical work.
Find The Right Qualitative Insights Platform
Finding the right qualitative insights platform involves a careful evaluation of your research objectives, the capabilities of the chosen platforms, and your own expertise. Whether it’s the convenience of online qual or the richness of in-person research, the key is to select the approach that best aligns with your goals. Stay tuned for further insights and reviews, including a discussion of the use of generative AI in market research.