By Tom Woodnutt, Feeling Mutual & Hugh Carling, Liveminds
Our high profile failure as an industry to predict big events, like the US election and Brexit, has pulled our credibility into question. This coupled with the much-publicised backlash against experts means that researchers are at risk of being left out in the cold. The research industry faces challenges – in this post-truth era, we need to build credibility and trust to ensure decision-makers don’t turn away from commissioning ‘expert’ research.
In the context of these pressures, it’s more important than ever for us to source the most authentic, fresh and representative participants at the heart of our research. The validity of research participants is the foundation of our integrity and value.
Research results aren’t right if recruitment is wrong
As researchers, we know there are discrepancies between what people say they do and what they actually do. The discrepancies can only be amplified if we’re finding participants based solely on claimed behaviour. Many clients and researchers tell us that the small pool of participants is being relentlessly over-fished. The same people are taking multiple surveys and reappearing regularly in group discussions – making their responses less valid as they become less representative of a typical consumer. Given that validity is the lifeblood of the research industry, this is a major issue that needs to be addressed.
Behavioural Recruitment: The World’s Best Panel?
Behavioural recruitment of research participants is powered by Facebook’s unparalleled data on people’s actual, rather than claimed, behaviour. Facebook’s hyper-targeted advertising platform, in tandem with Liveminds application, is a big advantage over traditional methods of recruitment. It allows us to invite potential participants who closely match the criteria, we then screen them to ensure we deliver truly representative research participants. Liveminds has successfully used this approach to recruit thousands of fresh participants of every age, in more than 65 countries, for qual, quant, online and face-to-face projects.
Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Best Friend
A study by Stanford University and the University of Cambridge revealed that a computer model based on Facebook ‘likes’, knew more about its subjects than their closest friends and family. Facebook’s knowledge of our behaviour goes way beyond the ‘Like’ buttons you click. Facebook utilises 98 different data points on you from significant life events to the age of your car. It makes perfect sense, that an industry dedicated to finding and talking to people who genuinely match specific criteria should utilise such powerful technology. Especially when you consider that Facebook has a global reach that is more than 100X bigger than the largest panels.
A More Sustainable Future for the Research Industry
Our purpose as researchers is to get closer to what the right people really think, feel and do. Behavioural Recruitment powered by social media data is an important step for us. As the technology driving this approach gets even more powerful and that data even more comprehensive, so will our ability to quickly find the right participants for any project. And our industry will become stronger as a result.