Surveys Fade In The Face Of Social Media

Say goodbye to surveys. The world’s largest research buyer expects surveys to dramatically decline in importance by 2020 and sees the explosion of social media as the motive, according to Advertising Age.

“The more people see two-way engagement and being able to interact with people all over the world, I think the less they want to be involved in structured research,” said Joan Lewis, global consumer and market knowledge officer of Procter & Gamble Co., with its $350 million in annual market-research outlays. “If I have something to say to that company now, there are lots of ways to say it.”

Ms. Lewis also expressed that social-media listening isn’t only replacing some survey research but also making it harder to do by changing consumer behavior and expectations. She made these remarks in an interview after a panel discussion on “How Market Research Must Change” at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2011 conference in New York.

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P&G plans to continue survey research in the coming years, yet it is expected it to become less important as social media provides more and more insight into consumer behavior.

While some company executives believe that social media and engagement analytics aren’t at the necessary levels of sophistication, they strongly support industry efforts to develop standards around measurement and calibration in these rapidly evolving areas. Currently, the industry’s compensation model doesn’t really support such work, but executives are hopeful for the development of a value-based compensation model that would motivate research firms to provide more valuable data by looking beyond surveys and into social media.

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