Video open-ends – think outside the box

Focus Groups, Market Research, Qualitative Research


Consumers have a lot of opinions and valuable advice to offer, but how can we ensure they’re heard?

Video puts data collection tools right into the hands of consumers. It does a great job in engaging research participants so that they know they are really being listened to. It puts them center stage, making them feel their worth and their value. With video open ends, participants aren’t constrained by text box responses, or even worse, a pre-written answer key. They are able to elaborate on their thoughts and opinions, while conveying their true emotions and feelings. And this is all done much quicker and easier, and on a more personal level, than typing in a box.

For researchers, video analysis means accessing deep insight from responses that are much richer than reading numbers or text alone. In fact, text box open-ends on average only get three or four word responses. While video gives researchers access to six times more content.

But although video brings a lot to the table, there’s still some confusion around how researchers can fully harness the value of video open ends.

Open-ended video questions can seem out of reach, especially for independent research consultants. But as a powerful source of insight, they’re well worth it. After all, it’s our jobs as researchers to take advantage of every technology and every resource available so as to access the raw emotions and the complex opinions of our participants, to elicit deeper insight to share with our clients.

So, how can you make video work for your research project?

Add video to current methodologies. Video works very well with in the world of qual, but it also applies to quant projects. Video helps to marry the two for richer insight, to let consumers tell the story behind the data. Video can be added to online surveys, NPS studies, online communities, brand trackers, ad testing, focus groups, ethnographies and more.

Take advantage of mobile. Mobile phones and laptops can easily capture video from anywhere in the world, at any time. Mobile is giving consumers 24/7 access to sharing their views with brands. Researchers and brands can reach out to consumers at any time with ‘push’ content to solicit video feedback in the moment.

Show and tell. Video is a great way to put products in front of participants. It can help the participants understand how a new product is used in a certain setting, and how it will be positioned, in order to find out how the messaging and language will resonate with target consumers.

Put it into context. Video should be used to go into greater depth, to get the fuller story, and to put everything into context for the researcher. A video can show the researcher how the participant uses the product in their home, or what products fill the shelves at the store.

Feelings. The facial expressions and the pure emotion that is picked up in a video within ten seconds can say much more than the typical text box response of 50 characters. Make sure the questions are designed to explore the participant’s feelings and emotions, and to probe their opinions.

Don’t settle on quality. The quality of the video software used is important as it can affect both the participant’s experience and the insight collected. Poor quality video can negatively impact the quality of the insight, so if you can control the video quality, so if you are using the software in a survey for example, the video must be of a standard that doesn’t distract or negatively influence the participants.

It’s easy to dismiss the video trend in research as a tool that is out of reach and too complex to integrate into current methodologies, but there are a lot of partners and tools out there to help. If you’re looking for more on video and other data collection tools, download our white paper on fieldwork and data collection in qualitative research here.