ESOMAR Online Conference

The conference is taking place today and tomorrow in Chicago.  The first morning has been heavily focused on social media with several good papers.  I will post more about social media later.  

Annelies Verhaeghe of InSites Consulting in Belgium made an interesting presentation making the case for “netnography.”  Netnography is essentially the practice of mining social media and other online sites to see what people are saying about a specific brand.  I have heard it also called “scraping” or “mining” social media.  Though netnography is not a new term to QualBlog, the presentation clearly outlined the case for conducting it.  Ms. Verhaeghe provided a short list of  5 reasons netnography is an important, emerging research field.
  1. Consumers control the conversation — Researchers can “hear” what consumers say without the researcher bias.
  2. Discover natural language — Marketers can know linguistic conventions consumers use to refer to the brand.
  3. Find unexpected golden nuggets — Since the conversation is not controlled, sometimes the findings are more surprising than in a tightly controlled research design.
  4. Back in Time — the researcher can search the online history to better understand the evolution of a brand from the consumers’ perspectives.
  5. Emotions revealed naturally — consumers are very good at expressing their emotions online, especially when they are talking to “friends.”  Researchers can mine these emotions from those conversations.