Market Research Innovations: Market Research Online Communities

There is a tremendous amount of interesting work being done in the market research space.  Two examples include the work being done in AI and improvements of the management and analysis of video content.

But rather than tackle all of market research and talk about specific companies, we thought it would be useful to touch upon some of the innovations -  some flashy, some more subtle - that make market research online communities (MROC) a powerful tool for organizations.

Many organizations have found great success with online insight communities.As with anything that is working well, organizations tend to want more from that resource.  Some of the areas in the community space in which organizations are looking for more have included:

  • Ability to accommodate more members (customers) and easily segment them
  • Stronger data security
  • Faster turnaround of insights
  • More flexibility in service options (DIY versus full service)
  • More research tools beyond qual
  • More video capabilities
  • Tools that help tell the story or provide more impact for stakeholders

Some of the specific innovations being deployed by the more advanced online community platforms include:


Requests for communities to accommodate member (customer) totals in the thousands and tens of thousands are on the rise.  This requires structural changes to the software platforms that allow all integrated components of the system to handle the volume without any significant loss in speed or capability. 

Powerful Filtering

The primary reason companies want larger online communities is to ensure they have enough members in their various customer segments to get a good read through the activities.  The more advanced platforms make it easy to segment members for particular activities, and/or filter on the backend of the system with analysis tools tied into reporting. 

Enhanced Security

This is probably the area that has had the biggest short-term impact on communities.  Progressive community platform providers have raced to upgrade systems to ensure data protection through functionality, such as multi-factor authentication, permission-based roles systems, end-to-end encryption and a multitude of certifications. 


While communities are lightning fast compared to traditional market research methods, companies are always looking for even faster results.  To address this need, we are seeing more automation features, including AI, that allow the community provider to turn around insights much more quickly.

SaaS/Hybrid/Full Service

Although it may seem like most market research online community providers are either extremely software oriented or heavy on the consultative side, some providers are now allowing their customers to pick and choose which services they execute themselves, and which services they enlist the help of a partner.  The more forward-thinking providers have platforms that allow for adaptation of all scenarios and the training and tools to help the customer have success in any scenario. Flexibility is key.

More Research Tools

Companies often deploy a wide range of tools in their businesses and often want these same tools as options in their community toolbox.  Examples of tools available in some platforms include banner tables, stats testing, maxdiff, mobile ethnography, vision mark-up tools, and co-creation.


It is critical to have a platform that is strong in video handling, both from a community member’s perspective and a customer’s perspective.  Members need to be able to easily post video content, while customers and or providers need to be able to serve video content, conduct analysis, and share the results in a powerful manner. 

Storytelling & Impact

Platforms are now playing a bigger role in not only providing accurate data, but also providing this data in a more powerful format that can help the researcher create a story from the data.  Some tools that help achieve this include the integration of visuals, such as infographics and more creative uses of images and videos.

This article touches on some of the main areas of innovation within the online community category. To learn more about the latest online community innovations, contact My-Take.

Posted by My Take