The digital landscape continues to change at an accelerating rate. With the relentlessly ongoing evolution of mobile technologies, digital tools, and platforms, consumers’ behavior, usage, and attitudes also adapt and change. But in what way? Consumers are still watching television, reading newspapers and magazines, listening to the radio, searching online, and using social media. Which means we need to understand how consumers are consuming media before we can design relevant surveys that engage them.

For this reason, at Research Now SSI, we have begun tracking trends to shed light on media consumption. We believe that quality is imperative throughout the research process but is essential at the outset when the foundation is formed. We focus on the keystone that leads to a quality outcome: the individuals who are providing the survey responses. Better data about individuals leads to better data from individuals, which in turn translate to better insights and decisions. Having invested in ensuring that our data is of the highest quality, Research Now SSI would like to share key consumer trends that will help you design better research, realize more comprehensive data sets, and obtain new insights to launch the most effective marketing campaigns. 

-- Melanie will share additional details on these important consumer trends at Converge December 4-5 in Los Angeles. --

Consumer Data Trends in Action

Our job as researchers is to help brands and agencies understand and interact with consumers. To do that we need to understand the individual intimately. We also need to follow their trends: What devices are they using? What are their media preferences? Do they have trust and privacy issues? With the explosion of channels today, researchers need to frame their questions more broadly and more deeply.

Moreover, research is not just about designing a good survey; research is knowing what devices consumers use and designing an engaging survey based on how they are going to take the survey to achieve quality results for the client. If we want to be good at researching and engaging consumers, we need to understand how consumers think and how they engage with the world.

Given the above, we have undertaken the monitoring of global consumer trends in these categories:

  • Device Use – What’s the latest on mobile, wearables, and PC use? What devices did consumers use in the past 12 months to take surveys online? Did you know that 90% of people have a primary device for certain online activities?
  • Media Consumption – What does today’s media diet look like in terms of television, radio, print, and digital content consumption? Are Millennials really watching less television? In an age of media proliferation, what does usage look like across TV: Broadcast, OnDemand, Streamed? For radio, Broadcast and Streamed?
  • Trust & Privacy – How comfortable are consumers with sharing their personal information? Will the next generation feel differently about sharing their personal information? Increased incentives actually performed the worst in increasing trust in data sharing. Do you know what participants really need to feel comfortable giving you their personal data?
  • Representivity – How do you know all this data is representative? Are data research firms “hitting the target”?
  • Data in Action – What new types of data and data sets are being used? How can all this information be combined to provide quality client data? 

Importantly, we also look at the data across different countries and regions globally as well as age group and gender. For example, we looked at survey starts on smartphones across countries, but we also looked at breakdowns in categories such as 25-34 and 18-24 which showed some significant differences in usage. Looking at Media Diet generationally also yielded differences.

What’s Coming Next

Given our results to date, we are already planning to expand the scope of our survey in Q1 of 2019 to include:

  • More device usage
  • Online site visitation
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and passive data
  • Privacy technology
  • Voice-enabled search

We also need to understand generational differences and differences among countries and cultures. One size does not fit all, and generations do not always behave as assumed. For example, teenagers in the U.S. tend to be more privacy-conscious than one might think. We’ve known this in marketing activites for quite some time, but have not sufficiently implemented those generational and cultural differences into our research practices. 

By tracking consumer trends as described – across device use, media consumption, privacy, culture, and the other areas mentioned above – our goal is to help researchers create better studies and have a deeper understanding of the many nuances that bear on consumers thanks to a plethora of devices, new technologies, and the issues that they raise.

We believe gathering this kind of data will make us more informed, more mindful researchers. Data is the cornerstone of our profession. Engaging people to share their data with us, whether opinion or observational data, is dependent on engaging with them in relevant ways. And relevancy requires us to understand their device, media, and communication behaviors and preferences, which are constantly shifting.