Home research company As consumers turn to social media, so should your consumer research.

As consumers turn to social media, so should your consumer research.



With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of social media as a crucial communication tool for the generation, dissemination and consumption of information has accelerated dramatically. As a result, marketers and businesses across industries have had to rush to meet consumers who spend a great deal of their time browsing their feeds.

To put this in perspective, there is now 4.2 billion social media users around the world. That’s more than half of the total world population. The typical user now spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media every day, which equates to about a full day’s wakefulness in their lives each week.

As businesses scramble to meet online demand and create digital and social experiences to meet people’s renewed expectations, it has become evident that social media and online news sources are now go-to channels and no longer complementary. As a result, marketers see a clear path to the consumer within social media as they increase campaign budgets (example: ad spend in 2021 increased by 14.3%).

So social is good for marketing. What about research?

Most people who do market and consumer research are familiar with online panels. It is essentially a community of survey respondents with diverse demographic characteristics who agree to regularly answer questionnaires in exchange for an incentive (cash, gift cards, points, unlocking of game levels, etc.). They are a proven and effective way to extract information from specific audiences, and like everything else, they have certain advantages and disadvantages.

Considering the number of people using social media platforms, we can safely say that they are the largest online panel in the world. But how do you tap into this vast ocean of consumer knowledge? For research, it all comes down to social media sampling. Using the same tactics and strategies that marketers use to deploy campaigns, Social Media Sampling uses the advertising tools of popular platforms to reach people with hyper-targeted, visually appealing ads (using the language that people use in social channels) and shown to them when they are most likely to respond – that is, when they are looking for plenty of free time.


1. Researchers define a target audience that best meets the needs of clients.

2. The audience is targeted with advertisements while browsing social networks.

3. People click on the ads and are taken to an online survey on a topic that interests them.

4. After completing the survey, the researchers check the data for quality.

5. Researchers analyze the data and extract the most relevant information.


With such a large pool of potential respondents, researchers can use social sampling to reach any audience – niche or large, B2B or B2C – anywhere in the world. But this methodology has additional advantages that traditional methods simply cannot offer:

• A wide range of targeting options: Social media advertising platforms offer dramatic granularity when it comes to targeting people. From a mile radius to an entire continent, you can reach anyone, anywhere. This is especially true for hard-to-reach niche audiences that most research methods struggle with.

• New respondents: Unlike traditional online panels which recruit people to regularly respond to surveys with incentives, with social sampling you can get respondents who are somewhat new to the world of market research and never or very rarely respond to surveys. surveys. Non-professional respondents inherently offer more candid, real and fresh answers.

• No incentive needed: Reaching people through social media with social sampling means targeting them with surveys that concern them. For example, if you are conducting a study of moms giving formula to their children, chances are good that if you are a mom giving formula and you see an ad asking for your opinion, you will contribute. with your knowledge. This is mainly the case for B2C audiences, where people want to give their opinion on services, products and things they have experienced because they have an interest in sharing their knowledge.

• Better data quality: Lack of incentive is one of the reasons data quality is improving. People are more candid in their answers, which produces a more precise picture of reality and more opportunities to enrich the data. Panels are often faced with so-called ‘straighliners’ and ‘speeders’ – basically people who give the same answer over and over again or who simply click on a poll as fast as they can to collect the feedback. reward.

Another important factor here is the support. Since these surveys are distributed on platforms that people already know and trust, there is less friction and more willingness to answer and interact with the surveys, which translates into better quality of the surveys. data up front.


Most market and consumer research focuses on extracting information from known audiences or even existing customers. Other internal methods, such as loyalty programs, also target only that segment of customers or users who already know your business. But there are a lot of people who don’t know your products and offerings, or who were your customers and have since gone to your competition.

One of the most appealing aspects of social media sampling is the fact that you can target people who are off your radar. With location targeting, for example, you can get people to visit your competition and understand why they choose them over you. The same goes for people who are interested in your products and services but haven’t found out about you. Learning what, when, and how they want is a great way to create tailored experiences, messages, and campaigns that appeal to them, giving you access to your fair share of the market. Non-customer market research enables your business to innovate and create stories that resonate with a wider audience.

Rodolphe Barrere is co-founder and CEO of Potloc, an innovative technology company focused on new ways of conducting market research.