Digital online research is taking off slowly in Africa, despite offering the continent so many evident benefits over traditional methods. Bev Tigar, Lead Business Development Consultant, Africa, of Borderless Access elaborates on some of these.
Source: Borderless Access TAPP: Africa Specific N = 3,500 | M:F = 57%:43%
When used correctly, digital research offers immense advantages in the quality of insights that it can provide, for multiple reasons:
It is less intrusive and invasive than traditional methods, thereby enabling better quality of data collection. As Stacey Grant, Consumer & Market Insights Director, Africa, Unilever, aptly describes, "With digital methods, we are provided with the opportunity to observe and listen, rather than invade and ask".
Data Whisperer and Talent Nurturer I Stacey Grant: Unilever Consumer & Market Insights Director
It enhances accuracy by tracking the mobile footprint of respondents in real time, rather than relying on their memories after the fact. This point is illustrated in the pilot case-study that Borderless Access conducted with Unilever, on the change in cooking habits over time: "Before, using traditional methods, we would have said ‘what did you prepare yesterday?’ As we know, that’s always difficult to remember, and potentially good insights could have been excluded. In comparison, in the case-study we received responses - as well as rich imagery - very soon after the cooking occasion... some within 2 hours after the meal was prepared," details Claire Bekker, CMI Foods and Refreshments Lead, Africa, Unilever.
Tracking responses in real time vastly improves accuracy
It enables each respondent to partake in the research in ways that are optimal for them. "Digital data collection recognises that we are taking time from respondents. It therefore maximizes efficiency of their time, to ensure that we elicit the best responses at the best times and from the best locations for each respondent personally," explains Ejaz Mirza, AVP, Client Development, Middle East and Africa, Borderless Access.
Optimising responses by individual ensures efficiency of response
It enables iterative and adaptive research, due to almost real-time tracking. "The fact that it is ‘always-on’ is obviously helpful: This allows us to course-correct the sample in real time. It also enables us to build our understanding iteratively and adapt our questionnaire as we engage with, and learn from, the respondents", says Unilever’s Stacey Grant.
Digital research provides higher levels of engagement
Of course, while it is inaccurate to assume that digital’s only advantage is speed of turnaround, this is certainly beneficial. Claire Bekker of Unilever explains, "We need results in weeks, sometimes even days, in order to really stay ahead and win in the market place. And one way in which that is now possible is using research through digital tools".
Claire Bekker, CMI Foods and Refreshments Lead, Africa, Unilever
Borderless Access is a digital MR company, providing access to consumer and niche audience experiences to its global clientele with its first-party online panels and its products and research solutions.
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