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Misperceptions of digital online research, and how these are overcome

15 January 2020

Media Coverage:

Digital online research is without doubt the optimum way to gather research and uncover insights in the African continent. Yet it is taking time to gain traction. Ejaz Mirza of Borderless Access discusses some of the misperceptions that exist around the industry - and how progressive service providers are addressing these.

One of the greatest misperceptions about digital online research is that its only benefit is speed. Of course digital research usually entails a time advantage, but it has become wrongly associated with simply being a faster way to access insights. This often leads end-users to choose it for sub-optimal reasons (such as tight deadlines) rather than because it is the methodology that will best answer their research question.

In many cases and across categories, digital online research provides a far greater depth of insight and highly improved data quality. Out-of-home snacking is an excellent example of how much more is recalled by respondents when using this methodology.

N = 287, 25 to 34 years:	46% 35 to 44 years:	39% 45 to 54 years:	15% Only femalesN = 287,
25 to 34 years: 46%
35 to 44 years: 39%
45 to 54 years: 15%
Only females

Digitisation has also led to an increase in offerings springing up, often from providers with technical know-how but little to no research experience. This necessitates the end-use having to invest time in identifying partners of repute. Oresti Patricios, CEO of Ornico and board member of PAMRO (Pan African Media Research Organisation), comments, "In the digital space there is so much happening that clients have to dig deeply to establish the difference between good and really great data partners."

Oresti Patricios I CEO OrnicoOresti Patricios I CEO Ornico
Borderless Access was delighted to win the PAMRO (2019) Partner Paper Award for best agent to affect industry change. With the abundance of players operating in the digital space, an endorsement of this nature is invaluable in signifying repute.

PAMRO (2019) Partner Paper AwardPAMRO (2019) Partner Paper Award
Borderless Access has assessed limitations that the digital method poses, and has put in place steps to overcome these:

  • There is a perception in the market that people have shorter attention spans on their phones than they do in person. However, the data indicates differently: Bev Tigar, Lead Business Development Consultant, Africa, Borderless Access, notes that, "Respondents actually engage for longer on digital than traditional methodologies, spending an average of 12 minutes versus 9 minutes on a survey. Borderless Access is device agnostic, meaning that respondents can utilise mobile, laptop, tablet or whatever digital device suits them best. This enhances the quality and reach of engagement, and can also increase its length."

    Digital methods provide increased engagementDigital methods provide increased engagement
  • Naturally a caution exists around ensuring the privacy of digital data. Borderless Access’ Ejaz Mirza addresses this, "We are extremely careful about how the ownership and privacy of data is handled. We validate and verify all of our data with relevant compliance bodies such as ESOMAR, which is considered the gold standard in the industry. We are ISO certified, as well as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant."
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