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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Market Research and Social Media

Today I presented again on 'Behavioural Targeting of Online Advertising', this time at the 5th Annual Online Research Conference in London. Not that I advise any clients in the area, but I've tried to keep up to date in light of the whole Phorm controversy.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the day, but I did catch the morning.

I enjoyed Mark Earls' presentation on the changing relationships between people and organisations, and the role of market researchers as mediators who can help everyone adjust to the new reality. It was also interesting that he picked up on the useful role that the tons of publicly available data can play, and that reminded me of Hans Rosling's excellent presentation on that subject at TED:



Mike Hall of Verve tried to define a new medium called the 'online brand community'. There was no time for questions but this seems to assume the brand is at the centre of things, and I wonder what Mike would say about the research value of comments people publish in the complete absence of the brand? In distilling the essence of community in 6 'rules', Mike also said that 'participation is the oxygen of the community'. But surely the 'oxygen' is whatever induces participation. And it's too simplistic to state as another rule that people participate online to obtain information. Some want to broadcast, others to listen. As the guys from InSites Consulting reported, people tweet to chat socially, 'show off' a rare URL, upload photos, or because they're curious, want a laugh or to be made to wonder. I guess that information is at the heart of all those things, but there's far more to it.

I'm sure the afternoon was just as thought-provoking. Definitely an event to keep an eye out for next year.
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