Netnography is a cutting-edge research approach that is incredibly beneficial. Researchers now have an easy way to collect data as more people search the web to share their experiences, ideas, and opinions.
Whether you’re looking at consumer holiday tastes, teen fashion, or postpartum depression, there’s a plethora of information available online. It presents us with a plethora of intriguing study prospects, ranging from internet forums to media platforms to blogs.
But what is it, exactly? How do you go about doing it as a research method? Find out more.
What is Netnography?
Netnography is a form of research that may be used to investigate online consumer culture. It aims to deconstruct the cultural norms and expressions that impact consumption decisions within the groups under study by watching organically occurring debates and events on the internet.
Likes, reposts, influencers, and keyword occurrences aren’t the only things it considers when it comes to social media. Social media, according to netnographers, are manifestations of cultural phenomena, making them perfect sites to gain a rich and contextualized understanding of customers. The researcher acts as a fly on the wall, observing but without intervening, to make sense of such cultural data.
Individuals’ free social conduct on the Internet is collected and analyzed via this. The point is that this information is gathered when customers are acting naturally, as distinct from survey research, in which customers may react to avoid humiliation or to satisfy the surveyor.
According to Martech Zone, it is “a branch of ethnography (the scientific study of individual peoples’ and cultures’ customs) that studies individuals’ free online activity [using] online marketing research tools to deliver relevant insights.”
Simply said, social listening examines individuals’ chats in their natural environment to figure out what drives them crazy. The “free behavior” part is crucial since the debate is less likely to be influenced by outside forces, as is the case with surveys or focus groups.
To be honest, pinning your business hopes on general demographic data trends is a bit of a waste of time. For a precise perspective, it digs deep into customer psychology. For marketers, this is possible with social media analytics systems that can sift for psychographic data. Personality characteristics, beliefs, views, attitudes, hobbies, and lifestyle features are all factors to consider.
After all, apart from your brand or sector, this shows what people are interested in. Why not just go for them?
The Importance of Netnography in Research?
The term “netnography” is simply a term that refers to the study of the internet. According to the definition of ethnography (Henning, 2011), it is “the study and methodical record of human cultures. Also, a descriptive work resulting from such an investigation.”
Maybe you’ve been the object of ethnographic research, in which researchers watch your actions, attitudes, purchase decisions, and other aspects of your life to uncover possibilities or validate notions. This can be a highly costly and time-consuming procedure. The data’s dependability has also been questioned.
Some people are concerned that consumer behavior will be distorted since they are aware that they are being watched and hence will not act as they typically would. Because ethnography is a surveillance strategy, the number of people that may be watched is constrained by money and effort. That’s where it shines the brightest.
To reach its subjects, it uses a variety of internet platforms, such as focused communities, focused discussion forums, blogs, and so on. The researcher is in charge of setting up and monitoring these tools, as well as directing or redirecting the discourse based on the client’s needs.
Some people are paid to give their comments, while others may just have a strong interest in a product or service and freely express their views. So, how does this differ from ethnographic research?
This is a crucial notion, as organizations realize that customers are no longer merely individuals they sell to. They are the most crucial instruments for market analysis and concept validation. An open-source strategy is currently being used by an increasing number of firms to explore ideas for their creative efforts. So, why do businesses require customer feedback?
In the field of “innovation,” we observe a lot of studies. This term is frequently used, but in this context, it refers to the development of new, innovative market prospects. Exploring new goods and/or industries is another area where it is heavily used. Manufacturers who desire to expand their capacity into a new arena to create more money frequently do so.
They must do an extensive study before venturing into unfamiliar territory, as this is not a fundamental skill. Another important purpose of this research is to get new views on established industries (Henning, 2011).
Steps to Netnography
The process of applying a Netnography in a market study is carried out in four main phases:
1. Selection of virtual communities
The first step consists of choosing the virtual communities that will be the object of the analysis. All the groups and forums related to the topic of interest can be considered. Later, a filter is made to keep the communities more representative of the total population.
2. Definition of the duration of the study
The next step is to decide how long the data collection phase will last. Generally, a follow-up is usually given for three or four months to collect a good amount of information.
3. Data collection
The information shared in the virtual community’s chats, forums, groups, and lists is collected during this period. It can also include using artificial intelligence tools to analyze the texts and transform this data into systematized information.
4. Interpretation of results
In this stage, the researchers are responsible for analyzing the messages and classifying the comments according to previously established criteria. When all the valuations have been analyzed, a general evaluation and interpretation of the information collected is carried out.
In this way, you will obtain the conclusions and recommendations that will be part of the research report, allowing you to know what users think about specific products or services and make decisions based on them.
Netnography may be used in a variety of ways for study. Finally, it is a cost-effective, quick, and accurate method of regularly obtaining the information that businesses want. This will become more common as the world’s population’s online presence grows and our technical capabilities improve.
One of the most challenging tasks for academics leading this kind of study is data preparation and administration. Technology has played a significant role in this area in recent years.
Researchers may simply add, maintain, and review data accumulated over time using research repositories. This sort of system provides for proper management of all this data due to its concentration on identifying and managing all the data flowing into it.
This has considerably aided researchers’ work over time, not just by allowing them to keep a backup of their data but also by enabling them to access the data they require in seconds by using clever filters that help them to draw intricate and exact conclusions over the period, during the study.
We provide researchers of all types with not just data gathering tools, such as our survey software, but also an insightful resource for long-term studies of all kinds at QuestionPro.
If you’d like a demonstration or additional information, please visit the Insight Hub.