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The Official Blog of Acuity Knowledge Partners

Advantages of online data collection and best practices

Published on February 10, 2023 by Mohammad Salman Zaidi

Online data collection in market research has become very popular, with online surveys almost a default tool in most markets. If you are not digital, it means you are not maximising your potential. Online data collection involves collecting information through the internet. Online surveys are sent to target audiences. Most audiences are recruited via online panels that could be organised through different mediums such as SMS, email, websites and social media platforms.

Both quantitative and qualitative research can be conducted online for all types of B2C, B2B and healthcare projects. Types of research projects include online surveys, polls, focus groups, product testing, employee and customer satisfaction surveys, community surveys and mobile diaries.

Advantages:

  • Wider reach. Far more impactful due to ease of accessing a global target audience. The internet is used by a range of individuals with high levels of education and income, and access to the latest and relevant technologies that can help collect rich data

  • Cost-effective. Due to minimum investment, resources and operating costs. Online surveys provide direct results and do not require investment in multiple departments to handle the work

  • Saves time and enables quick decision making. Today’s market is changing rapidly, and brands are expected to make decisions faster to remain competitive. Online data collection provides access to insights faster, enabling faster decision making

  • Technology-driven and user-friendly. Emerging research technologies require no face-to-face interaction with respondents. The pandemic accelerated adoption of these technologies. In addition, respondents have the flexibility to respond at their convenience

  • Greater access and response rate. Far greater access to the sample population and a faster response rate than that of the traditional offline field-work method. Data can be collected on any device, e.g. mobile phones, tablets and desktops based on device compatibility and the objective of the research

  • Real-time data collection and greater control. Data is collected in real time, enabling better tracking and analysis in real time, and facilitates taking quick action, if required

  • Strong QC mechanism. There are multi-layered screening processes and quality measures implemented to eliminate suspicious and bad respondents and to ensure good data quality

  • Good data quality and minimal margin of error. Unlike the traditional data collection method, respondents can complete surveys without the involvement of a moderator/interviewer

  • Protection of respondents’ privacy. Respondents’ personal identifiable information (PII) and the responses provided are protected and not revealed to a third party without explicit consent from the respondents. All the information collected is only for the specified research purposes and is not to be used for any other purpose

  • Constant progress. This does not replace the traditional research method completely, but because it improves efficiencies and enables faster turnaround, organisations are allocating more spending for tech-driven data collection platforms and this is expected to increase in the coming years 

Best practices in designing online surveys to ensure excellent data quality:

  • Keep the survey short and focused. The survey should not be very long, this helps keep respondents engaged and ensures you obtain high-quality data

  • Design the survey based on device compatibility. This ensures it looks presentable

  • Introduce the survey. Explain what the survey is about and how the information gathered will be kept confidential

  • Include red-herring questions. These ensure the respondents read the questions properly and are not rushing through the survey. If these are not answered correctly, it helps filter out respondents, improving overall research quality

  • Write meaningful and relevant questions. In the online environment, respondents complete surveys on their own, so choose simple, easy, concise and meaningful questions. Try to have as many closed-ended questions as possible and provide all possible response options to get the best output

  • Do not use many open-ended questions. It is recommended not to have more than two or three open-ended questions. If possible, avoid open-ended questions and convert these into questions where multiple answers can be selected. Asking too many open-ended questions could hurt your data

  • Implement quality-control checks and security measures. This helps screen out bad respondents to ensure good quality data

  • Pre-test the survey. This ensures everything is working well – i.e. the look/feel, logic, routings, formatting and device compatibility – to ensure smooth implementation

  • Send out surveys strategically. Ensure surveys are not sent too frequently. Use your audience wisely and only as required, to maximise value and ensure good coverage

  • Panel management and consistency. Keep the respondent profile up to date and ensure regular feedback is obtained so the panel is consistent

Conclusion

Online data collection does not mean replacing traditional data-collection methods completely, but it has significantly changed how we do business and identify emerging, present and even future consumer and market demand. It helps brands build business strategies faster. There has been a substantial increase in the number of internet users in recent years, and becoming more global and virtual has made online data collection easy, cost-effective and popular. It played a key role in market research amid the pandemic, when no face-to-face interaction was possible. It is a good method for both qualitative and quantitative research due to its reach, convenience and accuracy.

How Acuity Knowledge Partners can help

We are a leading provider of online research and data analytics. We provide comprehensive survey solutions such as online data collection, survey programming, project management and data analytics for quantitative and qualitative research. We have access to quality online samples across geographies and industries for B2C, B2B and healthcare profiles. Our dedicated project management team handles all research activities and manages projects across time zones. We follow best-in-class quality standards and conduct multi-layered quality checks to ensure excellent data quality.


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About the Author

Salman works in project management team within CAWI process at Acuity Knowledge Partners. He has over 10 years of experience in primary market research in various categories i.e. B2B, B2C, HCP etc. Prior to Acuity Knowledge Partners, he has worked at Kantar.

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