Spotlight: Connecting with Consumer Voices through Online Qualitative Research Solutions

Despite COVID’s impact on the ability to conduct in-person qualitative research, leveraging online methodologies enables researchers to engage consumers safely while maintaining a strong focus on collecting meaningful data-driven insights.

While digital-based qualitative research approaches began long before the pandemic, here are a few advantages W5’ers have observed during this necessary shift to online research that can benefit your research in the current and post-pandemic world:

  • Wide Reach: Reaching niche audiences through remote participation allows researchers to connect with diverse consumers from a variety of backgrounds including life experiences/stages, social class, ethnicity, family composition, personal beliefs, or value systems from across the country and achieve a deeper understanding of their perspectives and dispositions.
  • Careful Consideration: Insights collected over several days provides consumers more time to contribute thoughtful responses in online discussions, digital diaries, ‘homework’ assignments, and creative activities. Participants can return to complete activities at their leisure or even return to their posted response and elaborate for a richer, deeper take.
  • In-the-Moment Insights: Private mobile ethnography elicits honest real-life experiences and feedback from consumers―capturing experiences with pet owners as they walk or feed their animals, talking to moms after completing their kids’ bedtime routines, or chatting with college students as they make an afternoon snack. Connecting in the moment is key to online research.
  • Efficient Tech Tools: New technology provides opportunities to “read” participants’ emotions via AI or count the number of times a specific word is mentioned in the response. Some technology even incorporates polling, blending qualitative and quantitative research for a more holistic review of the research subject. Ultimately, these tools allow researchers to be nimbler in their analysis, resulting in better results.

The case study below highlights how W5 leveraged online qualitative research techniques to capture the consumer’s mindset in an agile, but empathetic way:  


The publisher of a leading parenting magazine sought to understand the impact of shifts in the cultural and media landscape on content expectations and needs for moms of young children. Primary qualitative research revealed a strong desire for authentic, inclusive, and non-judgmental content that showcased all aspects of women’s lives, not just their role as a parent.


W5 conducted a two-phase research study to holistically explore moms’ realities, including their parenting experiences, personal goals, and reactions to current lifestyle and parenting media content. Online diaries allowed W5 and the client to examine moms’ diverse roles in the spheres of family, social, and career, as well as identify common sources of media turned to for advice and inspiration. This phase also illuminated moms’ pain points and needs for their personal wellbeing.

Next, W5 conducted virtual focus groups to share and evaluate content in client and competitor publications and uncover how best to support their target audience with a focus on Millennial Moms. Throughout the engagement, W5 led the client in a series of empathy activities to engage them in the research process and deepen their connection with magazine readers.


W5 provided the client with a content strategy roadmap, including specific direction on content and tone for immediate implication as well as a series of ideas for long-term rollout and development. Debriefing and client-based co-creation exercises conducted throughout the engagement served as a springboard for brainstorming immediately after the completion of each research phase.

Interested in learning more about W5’s range of digital research offerings? Get in touch here.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *