In the Moment Research

  • In the Moment Research
    Depending on the amount of time between the interview and the “moment of interest” the consumer may not fully remember or may even remember incorrectly. Being in the moment with the customer is the key to getting the most complete understanding possible.
    Physically being in the right place at the right time is no longer the only way to observe consumer behaviors. Many people have the means to capture thoughts wherever they are, and sharing a near-live stream of various experiences is becoming more and more commonplace. The global availability of Internet-connective mobile devices allows the respondent to document the moment and affords us the opportunity to introduce questions soon after. Digital research platforms have quickly evolved to allow respondents to upload and share multimedia inputs as part of a study, making possible the observation these moments without the time and expense of physically being there. This can also reduce the impact observation has on the moment itself or the customer’s experiences.

There are a variety of techniques that can reach consumers in the moment. Choosing an approach often depends on the respondent profile, the type of moment to be observed, timing considerations, market considerations, and a variety of other factors. Below are a few examples of “in the moment” approaches:

Video Diaries/MoodStates

Online research no longer relies on text only responses, which could lead to misinterpretation of emotions, sarcasm, and other communication subtleties. Emotions are rarely static, and mapping emotional changes can deliver insights that impact how to best connect with a target group. Are certain parts of the day better for reaching out to the customer? Which emotions trigger action? How do lingering emotions impact brand experiences?

Typically, Online Video Diaries can involve as few as involve 10-25. Participants are asked to record and upload a series of mood-state videos each day. Depending on the goal of the research, the consumers can either record their moods at a specific time of day or whenever their mood state changes. Throughout the process, the participants’ facial expressions, tone and thoughts are evaluated. This allows researcher a complete picture to analyze. The videos provide an intimate look into the span of emotions and allow researchers to map commonalities among respondents.

Virtual Ethnography

Spending an extended amount of time with the customer allows for deeper insights to be gathered via subtle observation. Virtual ethnography accomplishes this by introducing discussion topics and experiential journal tasks over several days, weeks, or even months. This can be ideal for process mapping, product usability, consumptions tasks, etc. Anywhere from 15 to 25 target market respondents can be recruited to provide insights by documenting specified moments of interest. This could be general activities of a certain day part, food and drink prepared and consumed, media and advertising encountered, or use of a product or product category, Respondents are asked to uses their digital devices to capture videos or images of themselves or a family member in these types of moments.

Virtual Shop-Along

This approach assigns respondents to shop at a certain store or for certain items to better understand their process and overall experience. Observing these experiences often reveal key drivers of purchase decisions as they occur, in the aisle, and can answer several key questions. What process leads the customer to a purchase? What aspects of the store layout increase appeal? What information might be missing and needed to make decisions? Which products are being overlooked? Which are getting the most attention? Is the store providing the intended experience? Depending on the exact business issues being evaluated, a variety of different research methods can be used to examine customer behavior, such as video journeys, image diaries, or post-shopping journal entries.

Live Screen Sharing

This approach links individual respondents to our interviewers via phone with a simultaneous remote observation and recording of the respondent’s computer screen. This allows the moderator to follow along, ask questions about the experience, monitor how easy/difficult it is for respondents to navigate the site, guide the respondent through specific tasks, etc. Everything about the experience is used in the analysis, including pauses, frustrations, and tripping points that may derail the intended experience.

In-Vehicle Video

Similar to virtual ethnography and video diaries, respondents can be recruited to put videos cameras inside their vehicles for an extended amount of time. Audio and video captures the in-car experience whenever the car is on, and it’s also possible to record video of the road ahead of the vehicle, GPS information, speed, and force of gravity as turns are made. In-vehicle videos are not just for field testing vehicles or the products designed to be used in vehicles. In-vehicle videos allow researchers to watch customers drive to or from a store, observe drive-thru experiences, in-car consumption, or driving around town as part of their normal routine. Are there any pain points in the vehicle that our client could address? What products are used in the vehicle? What conversations and topics are discussed in the car?

Voicemail/Audio Journaling

In the Moment research goes beyond the collection of text, videos, and images. While, mobile devices make in the moment research easy, they are not the only way. Telephone functions of mobile devices are basic enough for unsophisticated segments of the population, older residents, and is less expensive. Calls can be made to the respondent’s phone, or they can be asked to call a response number. Data collection can include a combination of open ended and/or survey style questions. This approach can be appropriate for understanding emotional triggers, shopper experiences, or decision moments. Using voicemail journaling keeps the data collection simple, and is accessible to the majority of the population. The respondents can either call in, at a time that is convenient for them, on a daily basis to answer a question or two or they can be sent a call at a specific time or after an event. The data collection for the Voicemail Journaling generally last between 7 to 10 days.

Experienced Qualitative Consultants

Decision Analyst has over 4 decades of qualitative research experience and is one of the pioneers in adapting qualitative research to the Internet. Our moderators can recommend the qualitative technique (online or in-person) best suited to your research needs.

For more information on our Qualitative Research services, please contact Clay Dethloff, Senior Vice President (, or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.