Market research online communities

A market research online community (MROC) can be thought of as a longer term version of an online bulletin board. Whereas an online bulletin board is usually set up with a specific purpose in mind and lasts a few days, an MROC may be set up to serve multiple purposes and the community may remain active for weeks, months or even years.

Typically the participants in an MROC would be users, or potential users, of the client’s products and services. With MROCs we can maintain up-to-date, detailed profiles of customers and it’s also possible to reward in a way that incentivises long-term participation.

This methodology is perfect to gather ad-hoc and rapid insight from the members at relatively short notice. Like online bulletin boards, MROCs are also flexible: participants can provide detailed input in their own time, spontaneously contribute content on relevant topics, and interact with other members. They can also share images, blog entries, video clips and other files.

Depending on the time, budget, and information requirements of client, this approach is highly customisable. We can set up MROCs comprising any number of participants from a handful to several hundred. We also provide a top-up recruitment service for existing MROCs.


International money transfers: glass globe standing on banknotes from different countries

Online community with people in the UK who send remittances to Africa and South Asia

A South African payment platform wanted to talk to consumers in the UK who regularly send remittances to Africa and South Asia about the features that they expect and need from cash remittance platforms, as well as any frustrations they might face while using existing platforms. We used our extensive panel to recruit over 50 well-suited candidates with connections to ten different African and Asian countries and screened in a final 12 participants using an online questionnaire created in house. As an extra quality check, we made follow-up phone calls to the respondents to establish their fluency in English and discuss their use of online remittance platforms. We then encouraged the 12 participants to participate actively in the online community which was held over a number of days via WhatsApp.

Social media concept with female market research respondent hand using smartphone with icons surrounding the phone

Autoethnographies via online bulletin board with Brazilian users of leading communications app

Our client wanted to understand how WhatsApp and Facebook users in Brazil perceive the brands to be communicating with them. For example, on WhatsApp, someone might see a notification about using the app in a certain way and think that's the WhatsApp brand trying to tell them something, or get them to take a specific action. FieldworkHub was asked to find around 80 WhatsApp and Facebook users to participate in an online bulletin board over the course of two weeks. With the assistance of our partners, we validated respondents' social media  usage and Facebook profiles so that our client could be sure of gaining relevant insights from respondents. Our services also included providing a Portuguese speaking moderator to engage with and encourage respondents to complete tasks given.

Young male online bulletin board respondent submitting entry on his smartphone while standing in front of his bicycle

Technology market research on mobile operator-supplied smartphone content in the USA

A US cellular operator developed a special “infotainment” page for its smartphone users and wanted to gather customer feedback via an online platform. At the time of testing the page was only available on selected smartphone models. FieldworkHub was asked to find customers who were on the right network with the right model of phone including some who were regular visitors to the page and some who did not use it. We recruited over 30 participants, and validated their smartphone model and ability to access the page so that our client could be confident of gaining the relevant insights from them.