HearWatchSay: Listening To And Following Consumers

As media and communication vehicles, devices and forms proliferate and old measurement constructs and systems are rendered increasingly inadequate, we must diversify how and with which techniques we gather and interpret consumer insights.  Many readers will say that the opening sentence is simply a regurgitation of ideas that have “separated the men from the boys” for years.  Others may wonder if this column will be a call to dismantle quantitative measurement as we know it.  Frankly, it is neither.

It is a story about one way to use research tools and techniques to get in sync with what consumers think, say and do. It is an announcement about a unique partnership between IAB and Ipsos OTX to learn together about how consumers in the digital age talk to each other, as well how they talk to researchers and those who sponsor research.  It is a peek into the future of media, maybe even the future of research itself.

HearWatchSay (HWS) is a research community of consumers who are media-savvy, enjoying all kinds of media and content. Some are into technology and gadgets, some into games, some are avid TV viewers, and still others are passionate fans of the movies. All tend to be heavier Internet users than average.  The members of HWS are not a nationally representative sample, nor are they intended to be.  With 3,000 consumers and counting, most of our surveys will be able to be weighted back to certain segments of media users.  But that’s not the real point of creating and using this kind of tool.



For months, Ipsos OTX has been testing HWS along with the IAB.  We have learned some things about how to recruit community participants and how to integrate recruitment tactics, and some things about how to get our community members to respond whether to questionnaires or to discussion topics.  Most of all, we have learned that HWS does have predictive power.

One of our tests involved identifying holiday shopping trends in advance of the season.  HWS community members told us their shopping plans, and as the large amounts of quantitative data from other studies rolled in, we saw and wrote about how HWS findings  were in sync with the rest.  And, most of what we saw did happen as the season unfolded.

Our most recent test revolved around Super Bowl ads and online behaviors associated with the ads, as well as ad preferences.  We supplemented our analyses of HWS information with social listening data using Brandwatch.  Prior to the game, HWS members answered questions about their past and intended Super Bowl and ad usage.  They saw ad previews (the few that were available), voted on which they liked best and which they thought would get the most buzz.   Following the Super Bowl, they told us what they thought of the ads. 

Prior to the game, HWS members correctly picked ads that were post-game “winners” and spotted one “loser” ad in previews.  In only one instance did they completely miss an ad that got significant post-game buzz.  Moreover, post-game reviews of the ads by the HWS community members were aligned with the social listening data. The predictive ability of online communities is emerging.

HWS is open for business, and we have an exciting time ahead of us.


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