Why video is about to cross the chasm for research…

Originally posted as a guest blog by Dave Carruthers on

At VoxPopMe we focus on the capture and analysis of short-form videos for market research. Through mobile apps, communities and the integration of our technology into larger quant studies we have captured more than 250,000 short 15-60 second selfie-style videos in the past two years.

But before we take the dive into video I wanted to look at how the research industry adopts new technologies. When I read this year’s GRIT report it was clear to me that the lines between technologists and researchers are becoming ever more blurred.

Technology is providing so many new and innovative ways for researchers to capture and understand data, at the bleeding edge we now are seeing presentations at IIeX focusing on wearables, drones and virtual reality where just two or three years ago big data, mobile and social analysis were the buzzwords. Now these methods and technologies are considered the norm.

So whilst I, as a technology guy (geek), love to see the new and shiny, the reality is that with any new technology there is an adoption curve which takes time.  In addition, there needs to be broader adoption on both sides of the market for new technologies to become a mainstream, valuable part of our industry and ecosystem.

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The above graph shows the classic technology adoption curve, we can see how the first 2.5 percent of people are innovators: they break the rules and push boundaries to try everything that’s new. The next 13.5 percent are early adopters. In this segment of the population, we start to see interest building, after some basic assumptions have been proved by the innovators. Early adopters know at a fundamental level that a new technology not only works but can it also scale and add real value.

The transition from early adopters to the early majority is what is known as make or break time for technology. This phenomenon is the topic of one of my favorite books Crossing the Chasm. This book explores the way that many companies/technologies fail to make that leap of faith which converts early adopter traction into a mainstream product for the early majority.

At the next stage of adoption (late majority), we are now seeing industry “staples” like Mobile Surveys and Online communities break the mark in the last 12 months.  So, if you’re not using those two methodologies yet, you are now officially a late adopter.

So where does video sit on this adoption spectrum? As a medium, it spans many of the methodologies already mentioned but is not singled out in the Annual Market Research Technology Report. Firstly, let’s look at video as a trend in the wider digital marketplace. There is no doubt video is exploding with popular consumer apps like SnapChat, Vine and Instagram all leading the charge.

Just a few months ago Mark Zuckerberg said,

Videos fit very well into the newsfeed form factor that people consume on Facebook. I think we’re going to see a lot of user-generated and public-content videos over the next few years (…) If you go back five years, most of the content was text. Now a lot of it is photos and if you look in the future a lot of the content that people share will be video. It’s just very compelling.”

And in Mary Meeker’s highly regarded 2015 Internet Trends report we can see simple user-generated video content through Snapchat attracting millions of views in just 24 hours and Facebooks video views increasing from 1 billion per day to 4 billion per day in just the last six months.

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So there is little doubt in my mind that user- generated video is a huge trend which is only going to rise.

So what does this mean for research?

In short, we believe that short-format, user-generated video will become a cornerstone of market research moving forward as we cross the chasm.

VoxPopMe’s short-format open video responses have been shown to provide six times more content than traditional open-end text responses, over 50 percent more themes and, when supporting existing quant data,can make a real difference in the stakeholders understanding and propensity to take action from the data.

However, despite this,  researchers have historically been nervous about video. It is seen as expensive, difficult to analyze and extremely time consuming to work with –  hence the lack of widespread adoption.

With VoxPopMe, we set out to change this by making video simple to capture and even easier to analyze at scale. The goal was to enable video use within large quant studies, brand trackers and csat projects.

On Monday, at IIEX North America we are launching a new product which will completely change the way researchers approach video: allowing them to take a data set of hundreds or thousands of videos. Through transcription, sentiment, filtering and thematic coding, users can instantly understand and socialize the data. What previously took hours and days now will take  minutes. We’re truly excited to be a contributor to this new era in market research.