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If You Want to Gather Insights on Consumers, go Where they Hang Out: How Social Media is Changing Research

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If You Want to Gather Insights on Consumers, go Where they Hang Out: How Social Media is Changing Research

An old joke asks, “Why do people rob banks? Because that’s where the money is.” Corny as it is, we can apply the same thought to consumer research. If you want to get insights into what people are thinking and doing, go to where they are having conversations and hanging out. In today’s world, that means online and, more specifically, social media. With more than four billion people (more than half of the current world’s population) using various social media platforms today, it is the single most enormous trove of potential consumer insights available.

So why has the research industry been so slow to adopt it as a channel, to leverage its massive reach and its ability to pinpoint people by any number of criteria — location, demographics, buying preferences, etc.? Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the rest offer advertisers very efficient ways to reach the precise audiences they want to target. Marketers, retailers, brand managers, and others who care about consumer insights should also consider that type of precision in their research mix.


In fact, Potloc’s targeting capabilities are the best in the market research business. Our social media surveying technology allows us to reach and collect meaningful insights from your B2C or B2B target audience(s), no matter how niche they may be.

Learn More About Our Niche Targeting Capabilities

We have seen first-hand how social media’s power can be used not just to passively monitor but to actively gather people’s thoughts about what is happening in their immediate vicinity, regardless of where that is. Social media allows researchers to leverage targeting capabilities to reach any person with a social account anywhere in the world. This approach might seem obvious, but the reality is that sampling in social media as a research methodology has been largely overlooked as a great way to reach niche audiences and fresh respondents globally.

The key to nailing social sampling boils down to really understanding the medium. Social channels’ dynamics differ from those of controlled environments like focus groups, online panels, or even face-to-face interviews.

To gain insights from social users, you need to understand how the social ecosystem works: people use social media mostly when they have downtime — moments of free time they dedicate to browsing their feeds, which presents a golden opportunity to interact with them. On average, the world’s internet users spend two hours and 24 minutes using social networks across all devices each day, accounting for more than one-third of our total internet time. “Intercepting” them during this time increases their chances of taking a survey and focusing on expressing their opinions. Non-intrusive research and how companies approach potential respondents are essential in conducting successful sampling. The messaging needs to be appealing to them and relevant, and delivered at the right time.

Social media is the perfect place to reach respondents, no matter the incidence rate or the quotas you have set. The beauty of targeting people via social networks is that you can reach them at a broad location level (country, state, zip code), down to a half-mile radius.

Businesses can survey highly relevant audiences through geotargeting or more conventional location-based targeting. People who live, work, study, or just transit through the targeted area are real-life respondents with a treasure trove of insights to share, from in-store CX to people's experience attending an event or having seen a particular billboard at a specific location. And social media-based surveying allows you to reach people who haven't bought from you and may even be your competitors' customers, giving you a much more well-rounded view.

We’ve worked for many large retailers and brands to help them reach very niche and specific audiences, where online panels tend to struggle. Hitting the bullseye with targeting on social media guarantees a more representative, diverse, and genuine sample of the broader population, with fresh respondents that reflect real people living in the real world.

As we witness a new world order emerge due to the COVID-19 pandemic, surveying people now comes with limitations. Social distance and lockdowns are a no-go scenario for in-person or intercept interviews. People spend more time online and at home than ever, and a third of that time on social media. Again, social sampling presents itself as a unique opportunity to reach people in impossible places and situations under these circumstances.

Interested in learning more about social sampling and how we run respondent acquisition at Potloc? Check out our public studies at, or better yet, schedule a meeting with one of our experts today to learn how we can strengthen your business decisions with actionable and relevant insights from your target audience(s).


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Potloc CEO Rodolphe Barrere

Rodolphe Barrere

Co-Founder & CEO at Potloc


Article originally published on Retail insider