Can You Really Get Good Sample from Social Networks?

iStock_000001940991XSmallMark Houston from Peanut Labs says “YES!”

You probably didn’t think the answer to that question would be yes – but it is!  Social Networks and Social Media are indeed a wonderful source of sample for market researchers.  This guest post from Mark Houston of Peanut Labs will show you what a great resource socailly networked sample can be.

Social Networks, Social Media and Great Sample


Market research folks often ask, “what is the difference between social media and social networks and how are these impacting online market research?”  After speaking with various social media and social network experts, we can tell you the lines between social networks and social media are often blurred.  One of the best definitions we have found is from a social media expert, Lon S. Cohen, “Social media can be called a strategy and an outlet for broadcasting, while social networking is a tool and a utility for connecting with others.  Essentially, you can lump both terms together under the umbrella of Web 2.0.”  An example of this would be, LinkedIn versus YouTube, LinkedIn is a social network since it is a tool for connecting with others – whereas YouTube can be classified as social media since it is an outlet for broadcasting.  Then there are sites like Facebook which blend the two together.  If you are interested in reading Lon Cohen’s full article on the definition of social networks and social media, please click here:Lon Cohen’s article


How does all this impact online market research?  One, the way people communicate is changing and communication through social networks now exceeds email.  This has made it increasingly difficult to reach survey respondents via email.  Two, the incentives that respondents receive to complete surveys has changed.  And three, the recent 2009 Industry Survey completed by Cambiar, MROps and Peanut Labs showed that 67% of MR firms said they will be doing more online research using respondents from social networks. Over 83% of the Peanut Labs social network respondents take surveys because they want the virtual currency of their network or they enjoy taking surveys within the social network site.