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How to Do Really Great Video Research

Written by Sarena Brown

Published November 23, 2021

Nowadays, more and more people are capturing and sharing their everyday lives through a combination of pictures, short videos, and even full-length vlogs (video blogs). Not to mention the increased usage of Zoom during the pandemic. The use of video allows a personal view into people’s lives, uncovering moments of intimacy previously reserved for private eyes. As a source of insight on how people consume brands and products, and the way they build their lifestyles, videos are invaluable for researchers. 

Alida Video means collecting qualitative insights through video responses has never been easier. Videos that demonstrate your customers' perceptions and motivations through the most personal insights give life to the voice of your customer, to build customer empathy and influence strategic business decisions.

We recently co-hosted a session with Verve, a consumer insights agency specializing in community panels, to highlight the transformative insights video feedback can bring. Verve uses video to understand how their clients’ products fit into customers’ lives, in a direct and unfiltered way. Videos allow Verve to collect qualitative data such as emotional responses, instinctive reactions, and problem-solving processes. Showing real humans using and interacting with products evokes a stronger response from stakeholders, something they can connect with on a personal level. Ultimately, videos help to catalyze necessary changes in strategy and product development. 

In this blog, we will explore six ways you can enhance your video research. 


Gather In-Depth, Qualitative Feedback on a Key Topic

Videos should not be seen as a replacement for traditional surveys but rather as an addition. Verve suggests using video survey questions when you need to find out more about one topic. That one question that cannot just be answered with a yes or no. 

For example, consider a taste test. A drinks brand introduced new health shots—small drinks infused with high vitamin and mineral ingredients. Their main question was: Do people like the new drinks? Of course, they could have just sent samples out to customers and asked them to say “yes” or “no”, but they decided to use video instead, allowing the Verve team to gather more valuable, in-depth feedback. 

Asking the customers to try the drink in front of a camera revealed a whole new dynamic between consumers and their health. The videos showed consumers taking a sip of the drink and seeming to grimace as they reacted to the flavor. The immediate reaction would be to pull the drink, since no-one seemed to like the taste, but that would have been a loss. What came after the initial reaction to the taste was the insight that really influenced product development. People wanted the health shots to have a strong taste! They believed the bitter, spicy, and sour taste indicated that the drink was healthier than something flavorless or sweet. That connection was discovered within seconds of the video and was immediately proven by the consumers finishing the drinks. That quick, observable data is what ultimately made videos work for this brand, uncovering a complex answer to a seemingly simple question. 


Expand Your Reach with Virtual Focus Groups & 1:1 interviews

Sometimes a survey sent to thousands of participants just isn’t enough. There are times when a researcher needs to sit down with a participant and dig deeper into the reasoning for their choices. Focus groups and 1:1 interviews benefit greatly from a video format. Since the pandemic hit, people are also increasingly used to having virtual meetings as a means to avoid commuting and unnecessary contact. So having the option of providing feedback via a video session is ideal. 

Keeping things digital also allows for a wider geographic reach. Now people from different countries, and even different continents, can sit in on the same focus group discussion, saving time and money. Verve was able to conduct three rounds of fieldwork in two weeks, without ever having to leave their offices or work-from-home-environments. 

Having in-depth conversations with participants globally used to be incredibly expensive and logistically difficult to organize. With Alida Video, you can gather direct feedback responses with a few simple clicks.


See the Context of Your Customers’ Lives

By nature, video can be a window into someone’s life, far beyond a simple text reply or multiple-choice answer. The best video feedback responses are the unedited ones. When a customer is asked to reply to a question in front of their webcam, we can not only hear their reply, but also see their body language, environment, and hear nuances such as sarcasm. Verve looks for those unpolished video responses that uncover more than they expected. 

This makes the video format ideal to get contextual answers to your survey questions. A leading media client was using video to gauge the program viewing habits of their audiences. One member talked about “liking” one of the client’s flagship shows—yet, the video showed the true extent of that admiration, with the background of the video revealing a collection of fan items such as posters and figurines.

This is just one of many examples of how regular survey responses might not always capture the whole story or be 100% accurate. Video allows you to pick up on nuances and discrepancies and then dig further. One simple question led to a much deeper analysis of the viewer’s relationship with the show and informed how to keep these super fans loyal. 


Explain Instructions to Respondents with Video

The advice to “show rather than tell” in writing can be applied to research as well. Verve hosted a series of product experience surveys to gauge how customers would interact with new designs. They needed to explain how the product should be used, which would have required a long written document. Instead, Verve opted for a series of short videos that demonstrated the intended use.

Video also increases accessibility for people who have visual impairments or need something demonstrated to copy the behavior, thereby allowing for a wider reach and a more diverse research pool.


Understand What Happens in the Wild

“Show, don’t tell” also applies to the participants! Verve had customers of their clients go out into flagship stores, taking their phones to record their experience while answering questions asked by the researchers. 

  • What products do you notice first? 
  • How are the staff addressing you? 
  • How was the checkout experience? 

If you conduct secret shopper activities, videos can help complete the reports and give visual examples from the participants. 

For product development, this is also ideal. For example, a new juice box for kids was sent to families for feedback—the novelty was the inclusion of a paper straw rather than a plastic one. Although the videos clearly showed children and adults alike struggling to pierce the box with the paper straw, using scissors or pens instead, the children were vocal about their support for paper straws. The target audience valued the benefit to the environment over the ease of use of the product—and the subsequent taste test revealed their efforts to pierce the box were worth it. 

Bring Customer Insights to Life

Finally, the influence that videos have should not be overlooked. When sharing insights with stakeholders using video, you can tell more impactful, emotional stories. Seeing your customers directly engaging with your products or services creates a stronger connection between the audience and the brand, allowing stakeholders to see beyond the numbers and build a personal relationship with the customers.

Additionally, video feedback allows for easier consumption of the research. Watching a two-minute video of customers giving a response is quicker to process than having to read a 50-page research report. This increases the chances your stakeholders will consume the insights and use them in future decisions. 

If you end up with a vast collection of videos, Verve recommends organizing them into a sorted video library to share internally. That way people can search for keywords or questions to get the insights they need quicker.


Bonus: Video Feedback Best Practice

One final—but crucial—point of best practice we’ll leave you with is the need to ask for consent for video survey participation. As with any research method, any insights collected from the source must be kept confidential and participants must be allowed to deny publication or use of their videos. This is especially necessary due to the personal nature of this format.


The Benefits of Using Video Research Are Clear

Ultimately, you need to look inward and question how video survey feedback could support your customer research objectives. They are a quick and easy way to gain deep insights and allow for meaningful storytelling: video brings research to life. 


If you wish to learn more about how Alida Videos can help you achieve your business goals, watch the full session with Verve below or reach out to us today!