Person holding tablet with green media icons and symbols, representing market research in the media industry.

Your must-have checklist for recruiting for and conducting successful media market research

The media industry is perhaps one of the most varied in the world.

From the diverse types of media out there (TV, film, social media, gaming, and print, to name but a few!) to the plethora of different channels and devices it can be accessed from, there are numerous avenues to be explored and insights to be uncovered by media companies from their target audiences.

Of course, variety is the spice of life – but there’s no denying that all this variety means that market research in the media industry can be especially complex.

Yep, from participant recruitment all the way to data analysis, when it comes to media market research, there’s lots to think about – and several best practices to adhere to when conducting media market research.

Luckily, though, that’s exactly where we come in! Here at Angelfish Fieldwork, we’ve built up an immense portfolio of work with media companies over the years – and it just keeps on growing!

As a result, we’ve become quite the hive mind for all things media market research – and now, we’d like to share that knowledge and experience with you in the following checklist.

By reading it, you’ll have the know-how to recruit the perfect participants for your media market research study and see your project through to the end without so much as a hiccup!

Ready to get started? Then read on!

Your ultimate checklist for recruiting for and conducting successful media market research

1. Identify your research goal

Ok, ok, this is the case with any market research project - but it’s especially true for media market research!

Without knowing what your goal is for the research and ensuring that everyone involved is fully aware of it too, you’ll all be heading in different directions and will struggle to access the insights you’re looking for.

In addition to identifying your research goals, it’s also important to keep other key considerations in mind here too, such as your budget and what you will actually do with the research once it’s complete.

For example, will you be publishing it on your website, or elsewhere? Will you use the insights gathered to improve the navigation of your website or the usability of your service? Or will it be used solely for internal purposes? This is especially important when it comes to getting consent from your participants and remaining compliant.

Close up of a womans hands on a table with a smartphone and a green smoothie, taking part in market research for the media industry

2. Ensure a diverse and inclusive sample

Diversity and inclusion have never been more important - and in today’s world, there’s no excuse for not being accessible.

If you’re going to meet the needs of all your customers, you need to ensure a diverse and inclusive sample so you can guarantee everyone’s voice is being heard - which means you need to ensure your media market research is as accessible as possible, from recruitment to methodologies.

This includes taking things into account such as:

  • Allowing zoom up to 200%
  • Contrasting colours for test and non-text
  • Alt text
  • Text transcripts for audio and video
  • Audio descriptions for media content
  • The ability to adjust time limits on time sensitive tasks
  • Ensuring venues are easy to travel to with accessible parking
  • Venues with ground floor rooms and wheelchair access

For more info about why diversity and inclusion is so important to brands today, don’t miss this blog.

3. Choose the right research methodology

Next up, if your media market research is going to be a success, you need to make sure you choose the right methodology.

There’s a vast number of different methodologies you can implement when conducting market research in the media industry, and your choice will ultimately depend on your research goal.

Some of the methodologies you can implement include:

User experience testing

This methodology does exactly what it says on the tin: it aims to evaluate a product or service by testing it with representative users.

By giving participants a set of tasks to carry out whilst providing their feedback, you can then assess what about your product or service works well, and what needs to be amended to make the user experience easier and more enjoyable.

Focus groups

A firm favourite of the market research world, a focus group involves a group of respondents participating in a discussion about a product or service under the supervision and guidance of a moderator.

Focus groups are a great way to access your respondents’ thoughts and ideas in the moment, allowing you to uncover in-depth insights whilst a moderator encourages further discussion and ensures that the conversation remains relevant.

Market research online communities

Market research online communities, or MROCs as they are also known, involve your respondents using an online platform to complete various tasks, activities, and discussions.

MROCs are a brilliant methodology that are continuing to grow in popularity, and it’s easy to see why: they’re cost-effective, super-efficient, and enable you to unlock deep insights in a safe and secure online setting. Win win!

4 Get your recruitment method right

Choosing your participant recruitment method is another essential part of successful media market research and will ultimately depend on the kinds of people you want to take part in your research.

If you want to make sure you choose the right recruitment method, working with an established market research recruitment agency can be super beneficial. For example, at Angelfish, we have our own dedicated community of high-quality and enthusiastic participants ready to get involved in your project!

As well as this, you could also consider recruitment methods such as:

List recruitment

List recruitment is really useful for particularly niche audiences. As you might have guessed, it involves recruiting from a client’s customer list. So, if you work for a streaming company, for example, you could reach out to those who are subscribed to your service via email.

Social media

The power of social media cannot be denied. In fact, as of 2024, 5.35 billion people around the world actively use social media, with 57 million of those living in the UK. As a result, promoted and targeted posts can accumulate hundreds of thousands of views in only a few hours, making it a great way to access your perfect participants!

If you’d like to see social media recruiting in action, check out this case study to find out how we used social media advertising to find young women from a variety of different cultural background who played video games to take part in our client’s ethnography on inclusivity, females and gaming!

Forums and community groups

There are internet forums and communities for almost any subject, which means they are also a great place to find your ideal participants. For example, if you wanted to understand how parents and their children use your TV catch-up site, you could try accessing parenting forums.

Word of mouth/refer a friend

They say that word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing, and this is also true of media market research recruitment! When you have a few confirmed participants, ensure you offer them an incentive to let their friends and family know about the research, too.

5. Implement a thorough verification and validation process

Validation is super important for market research in the media industry, particularly as it often involves technology.

So, as well as writing a screener that ensures your participants have the right personality and attitude for the research, it’s also important to ensure that you gather the following information and carry out tech checks so you can be confident they’re tech savvy enough to take part.

Some important things to check include:

  • Do they have the necessary devices to complete the research?
  • Are their devices compatible with the software being used?
  • Do they have the confidence to use the device?
  • Do they have the necessary OS required?
  • Do their devices have a working camera or webcam?
  • What about working audio/microphone?
  • Are they able to use and follow instructions for the software being used?

For further advice on how to conduct tech checks, don’t miss this blog.

A young woman sitting on a green bean bag chair and watching TV at home as part of market research in the media industry

6. Plan your timescales

Planning your timescales correctly is essential for any market research project, but this becomes especially important for intricate media-related projects. For example, if you’re planning to get feedback from your participants about a live broadcast, you’ll need to ensure everything is timed right down to the minute!

In addition, as well as the research session itself, you’ll also need to take into account the timings involved in recruitment, processing of consent forms, the time participants will take to record and submit audition videos, and so on.

7. Make sure your tasks are engaging and revelatory

If you use the right recruitment methods and validation processes, you should find yourself with a group of enthusiastic, creative and willing participants!

However, no matter how great your participants, if the tasks or discussions you have planned for the research aren’t engaging and appropriate for the audience, your participants might become bored - and less likely to make high-quality contributions.

That’s why it’s so important to set engaging, fun, and interesting tasks that are suitable for your audience will keep your participants hooked right until the end. Not only will doing so make sure you get the best possible results, but your participants will also be more likely to want to take part in research with you in the future and will have a positive impression of your brand too!

8. Offer an appropriate incentive

Finally, choosing the right incentive is absolutely essential for attracting participants and keeping them engaged in your media market research.

Your incentive should be chosen based on the level of intensity/difficulty of the tasks your participants are required to complete, whether they are of a sensitive nature, and how long the research is taking place for. They should also be suitable for the demographics of your participants, and your budget.

According to MRS guidelines, you shouldn’t offer incentives that can be spent or redeemed on your own or your client’s brand or business. For example, if you own a streaming app, that means you can’t offer a free three-month subscription to that app as an incentive!

Optional: The support of a recruitment agency experienced in media market research

We’ve already mentioned this above, but it’s true: enlisting the help of an expert fieldwork agency can make all the difference to your media market research.

Following an in-depth briefing session, a dedicated market research fieldwork agency will be able to take all of the above checklist items to ensure you get the best possible results from your study! What’s more, they’ll also be able to implement their expertise of the media industry and culture to support you as much as you need throughout the duration of the project.

Ready to rock your media market research?

If you’ve got a media market research project coming up and are looking for expert help and advice to ensure your research goes off without a hitch, then look no further!

Here at Angelfish, our team have extensive knowledge and experience in recruitment for market research in the media industry.

So, if you’d like to check that optional item off the checklist above and enlist the support of an experienced agency for your media market research, be sure to get in touch with us today for a chat about your project!

In the meantime, why not have a look through our comprehensive free guide to qualitative market research for more of our fool proof tips and advice?

You can also download this checklist in short form here to use in your next media market research project!

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