Online diaries & netnography
Ethnographic methods study participants in their natural environment because people do not always know how to articulate needs, desires or problems that they encounter.
Online diary is a research method that allows researchers to capture activities in real life as it happens. Over a period of time, participants can document:
- Their behaviour
- Product service experiences
- Product usage
These artefacts can help direct discussion and inquiry. In addition, having participants focus on these activities increases their engagement with the topic and generates contextual richness and immediacy to the findings that are less likely to emerge in traditional qualitative research. Moderators observe entries and have an opportunity to ask probing questions to draw out potential needs and pain points.
Simply put, netnography is ethnography on the Internet. It is a qualitative approach that provides deeper understanding of the evolution and impact of conversations within pre-existing online communities. It is more passive and immersive than other methods, and pays close attention to both content and context. These studies may use social media tracking technology to identify relevant conversations and their sources, followed by in-depth monitoring and analysis by consultants over a period of time.
The findings can be used to:
- Uncover and understand customer personas
- Help gain unique insight into people’s interactions with a brand / product
- How that product fits into customers’ daily lives
- How issues affect them on an ongoing basis
- Uncover examples of consumer innovation (that is, new uses or new ways of using a product not anticipated by your company) that can inform new product and marketing decisions