November 28, 2012

Newsflash: online market research is here to stay

Traditional focus groups are great, but this just wasn't one of those places.

I know you don’t need me to tell you, but I’m going to anyway. The Internet is amazing.

Let me take a step back. One of our clients came to us a few months ago asking us to do a focus group on new webpage layouts for their online payment flow. Very quickly we realized we didn’t have a whole lot of time to design, build, test and report on these payment flows, so we were forced to branch out from the traditional group-behind-the-one-way-mirror routine and see what other options were available. Now, don’t get me wrong — traditional focus groups are great and have their place, but this just wasn’t one of those places.

The interactive team got cracking on the designs and builds as we homed in on the best online tool for the job. We all agreed on and began developing the flow for the online tests. At only $39 per tester, we opted for 100 testers and entered our desired demographic data for our ideal targets. allows you to choose gender, country, income, age and web expertise. A category called “other” lets you input your own criteria. This was handy for us because we were targeting people who had a higher likelihood of making an online payment (because that’s what we were testing!).

We hit “go” on the test at 5 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. Friday morning when I came into work I was greeted by 100 completed tests and surveys, all with audio and video of the different testers. The information was invaluable and enabled us to fine-tune the winning payment flow design with specific feedback from the testers. At a quarter of the cost and with only a few hours of setup time, the online focus group was a huge success. We are eagerly awaiting the results of the new payment flow in the coming year.

So, if you haven’t already started looking around online for ways to test your message, now may be the time to start. Or, you know, come to us here at AB&C and we’ll find a solution that’s best for you. Besides, I’m sure something new has sprung up out there since I wrote this.

Because the Internet is amazing.