5 ways to test a hunch with self-serve research

When market and marketing research was done over the phone or in person, it was solely the domain of professionals. However, the move to online has changed the game. Now, research tools are designed to be used by those who are both experienced and new to data analysis – with products putting data at people’s fingertips 24/7.

One key development in recent years is self-serve research which allows users to create their own surveys and directly get consumers’ views. It has been revolutionary for organisations wanting to test their hunches or premonitions quickly and cost-effectively – gut-checking things without having to go to the expense of commissioning and running a resource-intensive custom study.

While there are many ways to do this, YouGov’s work with clients in this area has given us some research case studies, showing how self-serve research can be used.

Here are five ways YouGov has helped clients test their ideas:

1. Product and creative testing

A well-known drinks manufacturer was looking to launch a new product and wanted to check the test label designs ahead of an internal pitch. The brand needed quick answers from a quality research sample of consumers in their market, and so created a survey where they showed the different label options to consumers who gave their views.

The brand got their research results back within 24 hours and it helped guide their internal decision-making process, moving their strategy forward with data-backed opinions.

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2. Quickly ruling out bad ideas

A YouGov client was planning to launch a new app to engage its consumers and they wanted to know which features would not work for their audience. By being able to quickly rule out the bad ideas that were simply not worth pursuing, they saved themselves hours of time and effort and shortened the list of ideas to fully test with their consumers.

Instead, they focused their investment at a later stage through a custom study that looked deeper at what features customers did want.

3. Awareness gut-check

A drinks brand wanted to get a quick sense of how well-known their products were to customers in bar venues. They used self-serve research to create their own tracking study targeted at a specific audience that mattered to them – young people who go to pubs and bars – to ask them about how often they saw and used their and their competitors’ drinks.

The brand then used this data to inform what other, deeper, research they needed to do about positioning and branding.

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4. Message testing

A YouGov client was looking to launch a product and wanted to do a quick sense-check by doing some test research on their proposed slogans to work out which ones they should take forward and which they should set aside.

They presented the options to a sample of the general population who were asked a few questions about each of the choices. Once they had this information, the brand was able to narrow down the selection to two options that best resonated with their market. They presented both the data-informed slogans and the differences in the audiences that favoured each to their board. This allowed the board to target not only the most popular slogan but the slogan that resonated with their key audiences most, understanding the demographic makeup.

5. Boost your pitch document

Going into a pitch, many agencies want some fresh and focused research data that their competitors don’t have. This gives them an edge: they can back up their decisions with real audience data, and the data can be sourced rapidly in the hours leading up to the presentation; elevating their pitch to show that they understand current needs of the client in that very moment.

An agency for a fast-food company was testing the names of potential meals for Christmas in the run-up to the festive season. Self-serve research allowed them to respond to a change in brief from the client late in the afternoon, shortly before the pitch.Creating their own rapid research survey allowed the agency to demonstrate to the client that their most frequent customers found the client’s new preference confusing and much preferred previous suggestions, keeping the strategy aligned to a consumer-driven approach.

Find out more about self-serve research

Running self-serve research is cost-effective in the lead-up to deeper market research work, allowing rapid tests with your audience that will save you money in the long run, and keep your strategy on the straight and narrow.

Build highly targeted rapid research surveys with YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Discover real answers, from real people in your target audience, no matter how niche, in YouGov’s panel-powered survey building platform.


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