The Summer 2011 edition of QRCA Views contains an article by our very own Tara Chambers (aka Tara Smith) titled, “When is the Best Time to Conduct Webcam Focus Groups?”
Tara identifies four “right times” in her article and provides case studies with each one. Here is a brief overview:
- To meet tight timelines. The pace of decision-making continues to increase; therefore, time pressure on researchers continues to increase as well. Using webcam interviewing eliminates travel while gaining geographic diversity. This benefit is becoming even more accessible with ever-faster recruiting capabilities available from 20|20 and other national recruiting organizations.
- To interview respondents in their natural setting. Using webcams allows the researcher into the respondent’s home or office. This access can be very beneficial for product discussions and other uses when the researcher wants to see the respondent demonstrate a product or show competitive products in the environment.
- To tightly control shared stimuli. The webcam stimuli software ensures that each respondent views each piece of stimuli in the same way. This consistency can eliminate some uncertainty in respondents’ reactions to ads, packaging or concepts.
- To schedule low incidence populations. The web is a great way to reach low-incidence populations because geography is not an issue; respondents can be from anywhere. The methodology is also helpful when dealing with difficult to recruit populations (CEOs, doctors, plumbers, etc.) because they do not have to come to a central location and their interview can be fit into a convenient slot in the interview schedule.
Like all other methodologies, webcam interviews are not right for every project. However, the method does provide many advantages in the right context. As more people have computers with webcams and get more comfortable using them, webcam focus groups and in-depth interviews will continue their rapid growth rate in our industry.