Person on laptop sat at a desk as part of market research online community ideas

Your go-to task idea guide for market research online communities

A market research online community (MROC) is a modern research methodology where a private network of pre-determined participants engage in research by taking part in different tasks using an online platform. MROCs are continuing to grow in popularity because they are fast, cost effective and deliver in depth insights easily – but how well you unlock these insights depends on the types of tasks your participants are set. To have a successful community, you need to choose your tasks carefully and ensure your participants remain engaged throughout the project but still meet the objectives of the research. Don’t worry, though – if you’re struggling for online community engagement ideas, read on for our go-to task idea guide for the best results for your next study.

Ideas for Market Research Online Communities

Blogs are a great online community engagement idea as they create user-generated content that enables participants to externalise their experiences digitally and conveniently to help maximise insight.

From digital diaries of their day-to-day life to uploading photos, videos, text and website links, blogs enable researchers to gain unbeatable access to respondents’ thoughts and feelings – and because respondents can post as often as they like, they can easily share experiences and start conversations with each other.

Another big advantage of using blogging as a task within your MROC is that the content can be outputted so results can be easily exported and analysed without too much hassle – making for happy researchers and happy respondents.

Discussion forums
A discussion forum provides a secure place for participants to engage and communicate with each other. It’s a highly interactive type of task, and can therefore work really well in market research when dealing with more sensitive topics, as participants feel completely secure and can build trusting relationships with each other. 

As a result, they tend to share more and generate interactive discussions that keep them engaged for the duration of the research. And because discussion forums produce live feedback, participants tend to be even more relaxed, providing better data that can be analysed right away – so it’s a win win for everyone!

woman exploring online community engagement ideas on a tablet

Picture books or photomontages
Picture books or photomontages are fantastic online community engagement ideas for market research online communities, because they enable participants to be creative and upload images and captions on the go, meaning they can easily fit in around respondents’ busy lives. They can be used for both individual and group research, and because picture books rely on imagery, they can be analysed quickly.

However, moderators should still make sure they question and probe respondents in order to find out exactly why they are uploading particular images. Picture books are perfect for the retail sector as participants can visit stores and upload images of what they find, what they like and what they don’t like – giving researchers an unbeatable opportunity to access the competition and compare things such as store layouts and user experience.

Pin tasks
Pin tasks or ‘Pin-It’ tasks enable researchers to share images and videos with participants to gather their feedback and opinions. They’re great for ad and concept testing and work by encouraging participants to drop pins on areas of interest and then provide an emoticon and text based response explaining their choices before the results are displayed via heat mapping or transcripts.

Pin tasks are a valuable research tool for all sectors, but especially the retail sector where participants can mark up and comment on things such as store layout, shop design and new products and packaging.

Idea storms
Idea storms enable researchers to capture participants’ ideas and other participants’ responses to them by encouraging respondents to share ideas regularly that are then voted on to create a dynamic leader board of ideas. Not only is this a great engagement method as it keeps participants interacting with each other regularly, but it’s also a fantastic way to generate creative ideas and capture feedback on both new and existing concepts.
Particularly useful for testing a concept or product idea before they go live, these types of task ideas also enable businesses and researchers to understand the perspective of the consumer better as well as uncovering new ideas and product concepts that the brand wouldn’t necessarily think of.

online community engagement ideas on a laptop screen

Keep it interesting
No matter what online community engagement ideas you choose for your next market research study, the most important thing to remember is that you must keep it interesting. The key to unlocking those in-depth insights is using clear communication to keep respondents fully engaged. This will ensure that they will want to complete your tasks to the best of their ability – so keep it fresh, keep it interesting and whatever you do, don’t let your participants get bored.

Without clear communication in your online community, your engagement will be lower and this could impact your research. Ensure that you assign a community manager to keep the engagement and communication constant with your participants. To do this, they could ask questions and probe participants to engage in your task ideas. For example, the moderator could probe participants to elaborate on an answer they’ve given or to upload another image to the picture book which could provide additional insights into your research. This can be especially prevalent in millennials; you must communicate with them in their own language to achieve the insight you desire. Unsure how to speak to millennials? Look at our millennial language cheat sheet.

If you’d like to find out more about market research online communities and how to get the best results for your online qualitative research project, download our guide here:

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