The pandemic and digitalization of society have certainly changed digital qualitative research. That includes the use of asynchronous video and getting feedback in a time-shifted way.
The topics of trying to stay ahead of consumer trends and doing that through market research, online communities (MROCs), and specifically video surveys are certainly always top of mind for me. So I read with interest this article about how the pandemic has changed digital qual.
I’m glad to see the insights industry is having this conversation, and it’s fantastic to see that the authors share tips on how to do qualitative in the digital world. The information in the article on how moderators need to adjust to remote interviews is beneficial. Body language on a virtual call is different from body language in a face-to-face conversation.
But there’s more to digital qual than moving offline conversations to the online world.
What is asynchronous video?
At the most basic level, “asynchronous” means something related is not happening simultaneously.
Using video as an example could mean that one employee sends a video message or short demonstration of something to another employee. That other employee can then watch the video on their own time. If a video response is necessary, they can send that when they can – independently from what the other person is doing at that time. The other person can then watch it on their schedule.
Asynchronous video can be used to communicate with each other, and it can also be used to get feedback from consumers and customers who live elsewhere.
What is asynchronous feedback?
Asynchronous feedback is the same concept as asynchronous video or learning, which many schools have done during the COVID pandemic. Asynchronous feedback means that we get feedback from people on their time. For example, when we launch a video survey on the Voxpopme platform on a Friday morning, respondents might answer later that day and the results are ready for us to review when we get back to work on Monday.
Another example of asynchronous feedback is when a company sends me a text-based survey via email, I can answer it on my own time. Once they call me to follow up, the only way to give them additional feedback is to answer the phone and talk to them right then and now. That’s not asynchronous feedback.
Asynchronous feedback offers consumers the option to give input on their schedules. For example, the company could send a video survey and ask you to elaborate on the video instead of calling.
Unlike individual phone calls, asynchronous video surveys can also be done at scale. For example, when my team publishes weekly consumer studies like this one on how people feel about wearing a mask in public, we gather 100 responses in just a few hours. Those responses are then automatically transcribed and analyzed.
How to use asynchronous feedback to understand customers?
When television was brand new, new television shows were just radio shows on TV. That’s what people knew. Radio was the go-to medium at the time. People use new technology like they’ve used existing technology to that point.
So how do you do TV when you only know radio? You do radio shows on TV. But of course, good radio isn’t also good TV, and as media teams became more familiar with what good TV is, broadcast programming changed and evolved.
The same is valid for talking to our customers. If we only know how to talk to customers face-to-face, we might try to move that system into the digital world. But unfortunately, we have to schedule an appointment with them and hop on a Zoom call simultaneously.
And there certainly are situations when synchronous conversations need to happen. Sometimes people need to talk to each other at the same time. Other times, that’s not necessary. For example, let’s say you are a rental car company and want to determine how consumers feel about renting electric vehicles. Asking them one by one and only when you have them on the line isn’t efficient.
Integration into the overall market research mix
Asynchronous video and feedback is another tool on the tool belt of market researchers, marketers, and products teams. That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to get insights from consumers, but it’s one we should consider when it makes the most sense. It’s especially a useful strategy when we are trying to reach consumers that won’t be able to meet with us at a scheduled time but that have opinions we need to listen to.