Posts Tagged ‘social media’

A researcher’s guide to social media stalking

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Annie Stalking

Excerpt from a piece I wrote for Research Live.

The best market research reports contain verbatim quotes from the research participants. These quotes let us really dig into the brains of consumers with more clarity and specificity than can be obtained from aggregated survey data.

In traditional research, the quotes taken from surveys, focus groups or interview results can never be associated with individual people because there are no names attached to the verbatims. As researchers, we pride ourselves on the anonymity we provide our research participants because it allows them to be completely open and honest with us. But when it comes to social media research results, it’s a completely different story. Any verbatims that are pulled from social media and copied directly into a research report can be easily traced back to the original author.

At the recent IJMR Research Methods Forum held in London, I shared just such an example with the audience – so let me share that story with you now. It started with a research project about BT, a telecoms service provider. In the research report, a verbatim was copied directly, without any masking, and without any individual attribution, from social media.

What happens next? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out.

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Annie on Radio NewMR

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012


Want to hear what Conversition CRO Annie Pettit really thinks about social media research? Annie was one of the guests this week on Radio NewMR, where she talked about how she got interested in social media, misconceptions in social media research, the future of the space and more.

Check out the recording of the show here or go here for a link to download the podcast.

Netgain 6.0: An MRIA Social Media Workshop by Annie Pettit

Monday, December 5th, 2011

netgain mria

Click here to register

Learn to Love Blogging and Twittering: A MRIA Workshop led by Annie Pettit
St Andrews Club and Conference Centre, Toronto, ON
Tuesday Jan 24, 2012 

8:30-9:00am - Includes continental breakfast
9am-Noon - Workshop with coffee/tea and break snacks

To become familiar with the art of blogging and tweeting so that you can actively participate in and benefit from the social media space

Who will benefit?
This workshop will benefit those who are thinking of writing a blog and learning how to tweet. These are quickly becoming social media requirements for establishing a prominent presence and promoting yourself, your product, your service or company.

Learn about:

  • the basics of starting to tweet and blog
  • the different types of twitter clients and blogs
  • the tricks, shortcuts  and tips about tweeting and blogging
  • the language, including hashtags, 140,, RSS
  • tweetdeck, socialoomph, Klout, RSS and other third
    party plugins and apps
  • the multi-interaction with Twitter via your cell, rss feeds, email
  • promoting your blogs and getting yourself tweeted and retweeted
  • what works and what does not work in being successful tweeters and bloggers

Workshop Presenter
Annie Pettit is VP, Research Standards at Research Now and Chief Research Officer at Conversition, an e-Rewards company. She is the author of two blogs, Lovestats and the Conversition blog. She is an active tweeter @lovestats in the market research arena and also with her sugar and spice passion (@LoveStats/sugar-and-spice). Check out the Sugar and Spice Online News Daily. She is a frequent speaker at MR conferences, has over 5000 followers, and has tweeted 13,500 times! She is highlighted on the front cover of the October 2011 issue of VUE and wrote an article inside entitled “You know more than you think!”

This is a highly interactive workshop and spaces are limited to 50 seats. You must bring your own laptop and be prepared to tweet.

MCP points: 10

Conversition Survey Reveals Attitudes towards Social Media Monitoring & Analysis Tools and Technology

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

81 Percent of Market Research Agencies Agree Social Media can Complement Insights Generated by Traditional Research Methods

Toronto, ON – October 27, 2011 – Conversition, a pioneer in the Social Media Research industry, recently surveyed 601 clients of Research Now to determine their usage and attitudes towards social media data platforms for the purposes of measuring consumer engagement and gaining consumer insights.

Conversition conducted a 15 minute study focused on the usage of social media monitoring tools and technology to engage consumers, or gain insight into their existing or emerging needs. In order to fully comprehend the potential that the Social Media Monitoring & Analysis (SMMA) industry has in different markets, Conversition surveyed Research Now clients based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

The findings showed highly encouraging results for an industry quickly being adopted by researchers. In particular, responses regarding the use of social media for insight purposes illustrates that SMMA has entered the „early majority‟ within prime English-speaking markets. More specifically, 81 percent of all market research agencies (MRAs) surveyed agree that SMMA can complement insights from custom and/or ad hoc quantitative and qualitative research.

When asked specifically about the potential that SMMA has:

  • 65 percent of all responding companies agree that SMMA will become a substantial channel for market research in the future.
  • 63 percent of all responding companies agree that SMMA has immense potential to drive consumer insights.

“What’s clear from the study is that the market research community is ‘switching on’ to the power and insight potential of social media data,” commented Michael Mayers, Vice President of Business Development at Conversition.

The survey also found that:

  • 85 percent of MRAs believe that human intervention is still needed to maintain the quality of social media data.
  • 58 percent of MRAs believe that data quality issues (e.g. spam, erroneous data, and difficulty of understanding the demographic profile of respondents) currently restrict the use of SMMA for insight purposes.

Mayers adds, “Social media data represents an emerging research channel, and data from social media can be a rich source of information for consumer insights. At the same time, perceptions over data quality are an issue, and our response is that whether managed by the client or the vendor, social media data requires the involvement of experienced and knowledgeable humans to provide those all important checks and balances.”

Fieldwork was conducted between August 19 and September 15, 2011 among 601 clients of Research Now based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. The breakdown by country was as follows: United States (344), United Kingdom (165) and Canada (91).

About Conversition
Conversition is an online social media data collection business unit based in Toronto, Canada and New York, NY. Conversition listens to consumers by applying scientific principles to the collection and analysis of social media data. Its strength lies in combining the expertise of respected market researchers with an in-depth understanding of social media.

About Research Now
Research Now is the leading global online sampling and online data collection company. With over 6 million panelists in 38 countries worldwide, Research Now enables companies to listen to and interact with real consumers and business decision makers in order to make key business decisions. Research Now offers a full suite of data collection services, including social media sampling, and operates the Valued Opinions™ Panel and e-Rewards® Opinion Panels. The company has a multilingual staff located in 22 offices around the globe and has been recognized for four consecutive years as the industry leader in client satisfaction. Visit to learn more.


Press Contact:
Heather Milt

For a copy of the full report, please email

A Double Rainbow Year for Influencers

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

2010 was the year of double rainbows and if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, just watch this simple YouTube video of someone appreciating nature’s beauty. This video caught the attention of online viewers who quickly made it a viral success with nearly 23 million views.

The phrase “double rainbow” took on new meaning as people used it to describe anything they found to be wonderful or amazing – whether genuine or sarcastically (double yellow lines!, double cheeseburger!).

Let’s take a quick journey and see exactly what happened. Prior to July, mentions of double rainbows were very few.  Sure, people were filming and uploading their own double rainbow videos, but none of them had the certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that would elevate them to viral status. Until July that is.

The video was uploaded to YouTube in January 2010, but it was only after being mentioned in a tweet by Jimmy Kimmel in July 2010 that the video generated a massive spike in hits. People delighted in the seemingly over-appreciation of one of nature’s beauties. And though views have declined over time, referencing the ‘double rainbow’ is still quite popular.

The online community was quick to take up the meme and apply its meaning to anything they possibly could. This word cloud shows the brand names that people most often used in association with the phrase “double rainbow” – bigger words more often, smaller words less often. Skittles candy (“Taste the rainbow!”) and Lucky Charms cereal (“pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”) were the obvious lucky recipients of this meme. Other brands were also praised with this type of new gold star, including Ducati, HTC, and Chanel.

Most obvious in the list of brands, though, is Microsoft which capitalized fully on the viral phenomenon by casting the original videographer in a commercial for Windows Live. Apparently, there is a way to film an entire rainbow in a single shot as long as you use their software.
2010 was definitely a year to remember. We agonized through many debates over whether there is such a thing as social media influencers and do they really matter at all. It’s hard to argue with a pre-post design like this one. Without Jimmy’s online influence, this video was destined for the virtual garbage can. Long live influencers! Long live the double rainbow!
Related links
Social media monitoring vs social media research: Can you see the difference?
The Conversition Hierarchy of Social Media Insight
Battle of the Brands: Angelina Jolie vs Bacon
Battle of the Brands: Homer Simpson vs Dunkin Donuts

Conversition Represents SMR Practitioners on CASRO Social Media Research Task Force

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

CASRO today announced the formation of a social media research task force to address the many ethical and methodological issues developing in the wake of social media research’s emergence. Conversition Strategies is pleased to to represent the voice of SMR practitioners on this task force with participation by Annie Pettit (@LoveStats on Twitter).

Current  members of the task force include:
Jeff Resnick, Global Managing Director, Opinion Research Corporation, Chair of Committee
Duane Berlin, Lev & Berlin, P.C. and CASRO General Counsel
Jeffrey Henning, founder and VP of Strategy at Vovici Corporation
Susan McDonald, CEO of National Analysts Worldwide and 2011 CASRO Board Chair
Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer of Conversition Strategies
Peter Milla, Technology Consultant for CASRO

CASRO welcomes contributions from all industry representatives. A “Town Hall Meeting” will be held on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at CASRO’s 35th Annual Conference in North San Diego. Comments may be sent to Other venues for discussion will be announced.

Announcement in Daily Research News
Announcement in Research Live

So you’ve been told to do something with social media

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

But nobody told you what. Social media is still a brand new arena for many companies. Some are just figuring out that having a Facebook account and maybe even a Twitter account is a good thing. And if these tools are new to you, trying to get a grasp on what more there is to do with social media can be an overwhelming task. Have no fear though. Here are four different things you can do.

Photo credit: clarita from

1) Public Relations: Social media is a great tool for communicating with the general public. Your Facebook page and your Twitter account let you have one to one conversations with people about your brand and products. Consumers – people – have fun reading postings, liking posts, and getting to learn more about who you are as a brand. And, anyone can quickly and easily jump on this wagon. This is the most popular use for social media.

2) Customer Relationship Management: Companies that are a little more savvy can build on their PR initiatives with this component. Tools like Facebook and Twitter can be used not just for general communications, but to respond to consumer questions and solve consumer problems. It’s easy enough for people to send a Facebook message or Tweet to you asking specific questions. If you’re ready to respond to them, with speed and friendliness, then this could be right for you. Companies like Dell and Comcast have Twitter accounts set up just for this and people take full advantage of them.

3) Social Media Monitoring: This use of social media takes a step away from the individual consumer to look at the wider space of the internet. Monitoring is a way for a brand to stay on top of who is saying what about your brand. The goal isn’t necessarily to communicate with individual people, but rather  to have an ear open to anyone speaking about your brand, to watch when and why the volume of conversations increases and decreases, to see what reactions are when good or bad things happen around your brand.

4) Social Media Research: For those of you wishing to expand your survey or focus group research beyond the asking and into the listening, this is the option for you. Social media research uses all of the same scientific principles as traditional research but focuses on social media as the data source rather surveys or focus groups as the source of data. Research objectives, sampling, weighting, standardized variables, norms, generalizability, and validity are the words of the day here.

In the end, you must decide on your objective. Do you want a communication channel for your consumers? Do you want to actively seek questions and solve problems? Do you want to listen to the ebb and flow of the internet? Do you have specific research problems you need to solve? You may not have the time or the budget to delve into every area but one of them probably meets a need you’re currently trying to fill.

Answer that question, and the next step is easy. Well, maybe not easy, but at least you’ve chosen a fork in the road.


Also appears in Social Media Today

Related links
Social media monitoring vs social media research: Can you see the difference?
Coke it is! Or not. I’m not sure. I can’t tell.
How important is sampling? Well, how important is gay marriage?

Handling Social Media – Part 2: The Understanding

Friday, August 13th, 2010

By Fernando, Lead Evolisten Engineer

So, you think you can handle Social Media? Great! Now what?

Well, let’s start at the beginning. What specifically is Social Media? Bypassing the fancy definitions, we can say that it’s a bunch of people coming together to talk and stuff, but not in person. The communication takes place through some sort of technological thingy, usually the Internet. The obvious examples are the ones that everyone has heard about, like facebook, twitter and all the other usual suspects (they’re only the tip of the iceberg by the way).

So, you have decided to start with twitter. You create an account and jump in to see what’s going on in there. You’re going to listen to the people, read their tweets and make everything better! After a while, you will find the first problem: there is a heck of a lot going on twitter. Like really, A LOT! You can read tweets for hours, until your eyes hurt, and get nowhere. Just in there, there are thousands upon thousands of relevant tweets to check out, hidden among millions upon millions of other stuff you don’t care about. And this is just one site. What about other popular sites? What about the whole Internet? You’re going to need some help.

Maybe hiring a couple more guys would be enough? Not really. Hiring a dirty dozen? Not really. Hiring a few thousand people and providing them with training, management and equipment? Maybe that would work, but that sounds awfully expensive. This is not going well.

ppdigital from morguefile

And it gets worse. It’s just not a matter of finding the content and reading it, that’s only the beginning. The real work comes after that. What’s the sentiment of the content? What are they talking about specifically? What’s valuable and what’s spam?

And, what if you really want to do things right and go all researchy on it. What are the demographics of these people? What about sampling and weighting? What about other stuff you don’t even know about? This is a lot of work, and you’re definitely going to need some help. Help with expertise.

Luckily, there’s one positive thing going on for you: we’re in the future! It’s the year 2010, the 21st century! And we may not have flying cars yet or robot butlers as they promised us, but one thing we do have: information processing power and people who know how to use it. If you’re reading this blog, then you know by now that you’re not the first one to think about taming the Social Media beast. People are out there already doing this, already solving all those problems, and coming up with cold hard numbers and data that you can use to improve things. I know it because I’m one of those people.

It’s a whole new ballgame out there. Things are changing fast. Can you adapt and thrive? It is your choice. The help you need is already out there.

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Handling Social Media – Part 1: The Awakening.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

By Fernando, Conversition’s Lead Evolisten Engineer

(Our tech team writes too!)

Have you ever complained about something? Or given your honest opinion? Or answered a question? Only to be completely ignored? Because, after all, you’re just one guy, and there’s not much you can do about it.

Here’s another scenario. Was someone listening to you but you weren’t really telling the truth because you were being nice and polite, because you really didn’t care about the subject, because they were expecting an answer, so you just said the first thing that popped into your mind?

No matter how you slice and dice it, it’s not an easy thing for the little guy to be heard.

But, what if you get to speak about something you care about, only when you feel like it, and you don’t have to worry about hurting anyone’s feelings, and you just let it all out. Wouldn’t that be nice? And then you do it again, and again, and again. You share your thoughts with the whole world, nonstop, 24/7, loudly and with brutal honesty. You’re angry, or ecstatic, or surprised, and you let everyone know about it. You will make them know. Well, then you’re probably a really strange person.

But, even if you are this strange person, there is still a bright side. Now, you can’t be easily dismissed. You must be dealt with. You can’t be ignored because ignoring you will not make you go away. And strange people can do  a lot damage when left unattended. You say whatever you want to say, whenever you want, to whomever you want, as loudly as you want. And it feels great.

Photo credit: mzacha from

Back in the real world, there aren’t many people like that, probably because it’s so exhausting. But a task that is too much for just one person can easily be done by a thousand people if they just all pull the same way.

Social Media, the ultimate strange person.

Social Media is honest and blunt and does not stop. It speaks with a thousand different voices, from a thousand different viewpoints, for a thousand different reasons, and it will speak about you. It will tell you exactly what it thinks of you. It will tell everyone exactly what it thinks of you. You may think this is either a good thing or a terrifying thing but, at the end of the day, the fact remains that this is indeed a very real thing. It is happening right now, it has been happening for a while, and it will happen more and more in the future. The little guy is out of the bottle, and he and his millions of friends are merrily typing away telling the world what they feel.

You can ignore social media at your own peril, or you can do something about it. What is going to be?

EvoPlay aims to sell brands on the utility of social media research

Monday, July 26th, 2010

From Research Live
By Brian Tarran
July 26, 2010


“Social media may be a big hit with consumers, but brands are not entirely sold yet on the potential of social media research – a state of affairs Conversition is hoping to change with a new data visualisation app.

The social media research agency today launched EvoPlay to encourage brand owners to explore the type of data available to them via the web.

Co-founder Tessie Ting said “there is still a lot of reluctance” to the idea of using data from blogs, forums and social networks – what the company refers to as “social media data” – in place of the more traditional market research data sets.”

Click here for the rest of the story