Online research – faster, easier…better?

Toronto-based Delvinia Interactive's new Internet survey technology could move market research in a new direction, according to

Toronto-based Delvinia Interactive’s new Internet survey technology could move market research in a new direction, according to

marketers who pitted it against traditional focus group findings.

AskingMedia is a behind-the-scenes online, broadband-based research platform that allows advertisers to show consumers

virtually anything – TV pilots,

virtual 3D images of products under development or radio jingles – and record results in real time while delivering research faster than traditional methods.

By dipping into the digital agency’s national panel of roughly 100,000 Canadians, AskingMedia is able to recruit a client-specific sample within 24 hours (compared to traditional focus groups which are usually a sampling from one geographic area or city centre). Survey participants receive – via the Internet – the TV spot and are presented with an

interface video guide to lead them through the process. After viewing the commercial once, participants watch it a second time using AskingMedia’s ‘mood bar’ where they indicate their like or dislike on a ‘moment-to-moment’ basis by sliding their mouse. Once viewing is completed, participants are given a standard online questionnaire to complete. All research info (usually collected within 24 to 48 hours) – real-time reporting data, participant profiles, mood bar results – can be downloaded by the research firm for analysis.

Although online surveys are not new, testing TV creative is, because a lot of the online methods aren’t built to adapt this type of broadband technology, says Rachel Bandura, an interactive marketing specialist at Delvinia.

In development for two years and released for commercial use in May, the research tool was recently put to the test when Delvinia partnered with Toronto research firm Millward Brown Goldfarb and its clients Nissan and to do a comparative study between AskingMedia and traditional focus groups.

Traditional focus groups were run parallel to the online method and the results of both methods were found to be the same.

For both (which tested a TV spot and animatic) and Nissan (which tested an American TV ad for suitability to run in Canada), the AskingMedia experience proved beneficial with the speed of data collection, taking a true national sample and cost savings.

‘The only concern I had is that these

commercials that we test haven’t been exposed yet…although they have provided us with sufficient background on how security is being taken care of,’ says Jeanne Lam, brand analyst for Nissan Canada. ‘It’s still a little concerning because we don’t like good ideas that we aren’t using immediately to get away.’

Although both clients agreed the online research method is ‘the way of the future,’ neither is willing to start using it exclusively.

‘I think both methods are comparable but I think that the online version is best for

commercials almost finished,’ says Lam.

‘For items that are rougher – like animatics – I’d still prefer to do those traditionally so I can see consumers’ reactions in a focus group after they evaluate each of the spots.’

AskingMedia costs $15,000 to test an ad with 100 respondents (geographically targeted if the client wishes) if analysis is conducted by the advertiser’s internal resources. This

average fee includes survey programming, hosting and sample participants.

Spam pay-per-view: What’s not to love?

If there were a superhero dedicated to making consumers amenable to spam, then this Roanoke, Va.-based company,, would be in the running for those tights.

Launched Sept. 1, has consumers fill out a user profile, which gathers the usual personal details, and allows members to opt into advertisers they want to receive messaging from. Members can choose to receive these ad messages in a combination of ways – e-mail, a small banner area at the top of their Web browser or via text message. And with each message they open, they receive points, which can be redeemed for gift certificates, merchandise, coupons, subscriptions and promotional offers.

‘We only share demographic summaries with our advertisers and that enables them to specifically

target certain markets they wouldn’t be able to [affordably],’ says TrueLoot president and CEO Cameron Johnson. ‘We can do it by age or geographically or by their personal hobbies.’

So far, the fledgling company has a small group of 25 advertisers onboard (roughly 5% are Canadian-based) – that range from small Web-based companies to AT&T Wireless and

In the first couple of weeks after its launch, had signed up several thousand users, typically aged 40 and under and computer savvy.

Costs to advertisers vary, Johnson says, but he touts even on a smaller budget of $1,000 to $5,000 gets a lot more ‘eyeballs and response.’ Johnson chalks that up to users getting rewarded for response and activity.