This research project will be discussed in depth at NEXT 2019, June 13-14 in Chicago. Interested in attending NEXT? Unlock your discount now!

Trendy and interesting, blockchain is taking top billing in many industries as the next big thing. The market research space is no different, with blockchain filling conference programs and forward-thinking commentary. With all this buzz, there is very little understanding of how this technology functions in a real market research setting. What better way to dispel some of the myths and shed light than by putting it to work?

That’s exactly what we set out to do at Measure with our pilot program. When we founded Measure, our vision was to develop a person-based data marketplace that utilizes blockchain technology to provide major benefits over the existing panel-centric system in market research. What does that mean, exactly? Quite simply, on one side of the market are individuals who contribute data by completing surveys and other data-generating tasks or by providing access to existing data sources such as health and location data. On the other side are data buyers, such as research organizations and advertisers. Between them is software and a blockchain that allows buyers to interact directly with individuals in a way that protects the privacy of the individual, incentivizes accuracy, enforces a fair compensation model, and provides transparency around data usage and payment.

It is our belief that data quality, in part, is a function of the proximity to the consumer (fewer middleware players), privacy guarantees, transparency, and fair compensation. We set out to conduct a pilot program to explore the functional capability of collecting person-based data with these core principles in practice on the blockchain and the associated consumer behaviors.

We had several objectives going into the program. We wanted to give the participant a chance to experience the interaction dynamics, privacy and transparency within a blockchain-powered consumer data ecosystem. Another goal was to gain an understanding of how consumers behave within the marketplace. Is it different than a more traditional setting? How do the users engage, what are their completion and retention rates? Are respondents more willing to share in this environment?

In addition, we wanted remove some of the mystery surrounding blockchain and give our market research partners a chance to see it in use. By participating in the pilot, partners get an intimate, undercover look at the potential of this technology, how the workflow operates in a research setting, metrics surrounding how the insights might differ and get a look at how it can impact on their business. As organizations look to new sources of data, of higher quality data, this pilot program provides them with an early exploration into a new era of data collection.

So why is this important anyway?

Consumer attitudes and opinions when it comes to transparency, accountability and privacy continue to change in massive ways - across industries. In the market research space, we must look ahead to create ways for respondents to continue fully participating in research. Our space has been plagued by data quality issues, dropping engagement levels, incomplete outcomes and more. Consumers want more control over their online interactions, and that includes research participation. Blockchain provides one way to accomplish this. By implementing blockchain, we’ve imposed unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability which incentivizes us to make the respondent a key priority in the interaction. As consumers gain more control over their data, we are forced to play by their rules to gain their trust for their data contributions. There is no industry that understands the consumer like market research. Building and maintaining that level of trust to facilitate more data sharing is crucial to the health of the industry. Every day, the demands on data collection, data access and consumer participation become increasingly difficult, and we firmly believe that building an “ecosystem of trust’” is a key ingredient.

Measuring results

When we launched the pilot program, we had a number of mechanics we wanted to test. Our target audience is being engaged and registered in our iOS app. They will not only be actively answering surveys, they also are incentivized to passively share other behavioral data. As the program progresses, their attitudinal feedback on various pertinent topics and issues will be interwoven with the results.

We’re excited to share more about the process of our pilot program and our results at the Insights Association NEXT conference, June 13-14.