What Type of Insight Community Is Right For You?

Insight Communities are a way of conducting online qualitative research with a targeted group of people over a specific duration. Depending on what you want to accomplish, communities can range from short-term, long-term or ongoing communities. The first step is to determine what type of community is the right approach for your business or client's needs.

Over the past year, we've developed an Application Webinar Series to communicate the different research applications that you can run using Recollective. While the series focused a lot on shorter term projects to address specific objectives, the last webinar in the series explored how to leverage Recollective to run longer-term or ongoing Insight Communities. We received an overwhelming response to the session including many follow-up questions regarding the logistics of running a longer-term online engagement.

Over the next few weeks, we will be spotlighting some of the key topic areas and questions, including:

  • Determining if a long-term or ongoing community is right for you
  • How to structure your long-term community
  • Community best practices to consider
  • How to decide if your community should be branded or blind
  • How to determine what incentive structure is right for your community
  • Key features in Recollective that can help your community be successful

Insight Communities

So you might be asking yourself – what exactly is an Insight Community?

Insight Communities are a way of conducting online qualitative research with a targeted group of people over a specific duration. Depending what you want to accomplish, communities can include any number of participants and last a few days, weeks, months or can even be ongoing in nature. Because of this, we tend to classify insight communities within Recollective as either Short-Term, Long-Term or Ongoing. Let's quickly explore the differences between them.

Short-Term Communities

Short-term communities tend to focus on a specific objective and have clear questions that need to be addressed by the end of the study. As the name suggests, they typically take place over a short duration that could be anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks or months. Although short-term communities can host any population size, they're most often comprised of a smaller sample size to make the information more digestible for qualitative learnings.

To give you a baseline – the most popular short-term community license on Recollective is one week with 50 participants.

Long-Term & Ongoing Communities

Long-term communities allow for topics to be explored in more depth over a long duration, yielding greater insights and providing longitudinal learnings. Again, as the names suggest, these types of communities typically span months or even years and in many cases are created without an end date in mind.

Due to the nature of a long-term project, these communities tend to be larger in size and typically range from hundreds to thousands of participants. This can be due to a wider range of segments that the client / stakeholder is looking to talk with or to ensure that the responses they receive meets a reasonable threshold for analysis.

Is a long-term community right for you?

The first step in the process might seem like an obvious one, but we want to emphasize how important it is to make sure a long-term or ongoing community is the right approach for your business' or client's need.

Long-term or ongoing communities are perfect for exploring a wide range of objectives within one environment or if you are looking for a quick turnaround solution that can provide “on demand” insights. Long term communities can be category or brand specific and although they can be created with set objectives or overarching goals in mind, they can also be leveraged as a sounding board. They empower customers to openly discuss their experiences and feelings with a brand, help brands keep a pulse on the industry and can even be an agile screening tool for more targeted, in-depth research initiatives.

So in order to determine if you, your company or your client could benefit from a long-term or ongoing community, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you looking to find a way to be more customer-centric and open up a broader dialog with your key audience?
  • Do you or your company have a lot of questions that you don't have the time or budget to explore but would still like to get answered?
  • Are you looking for a solution that will enable you to address a wide range of business needs in a quick-turn format?
  • Are you looking for a way to consolidate custom research requests across the company so that everything is conducted and housed in one environment?
  • Are you looking to conduct projects that would benefit from multiple touch points with the same target audience over a longer duration (i.e path to purchase, tracking studies, co-creation, development and testing, etc.)?
  • Do you have a niche or hard to reach customer base that is challenging to recruiting for ad-hoc projects?
  • Do you find yourself frequently recruiting the same targets or segments for your ad-hoc projects?

If you answered yes to any of the above, a long-term insight community is likely a good option for you to explore. Long-term or ongoing communities can provide a wide range of benefits, some of which include:

  • Speed: Long-term communities provide a pool of actively engaged respondents that are ready to participate at a moment's notice, essentially providing you with 24/7 access to quick answers to your pressing business questions. This can mean getting insights in days rather than weeks or months.
  • Agility: Since communities don't require setup and recruitment on an ad-hoc basis, your study, activities or questions can be rapidly deployed and you can pivot course at a moments notice to explore themes or topics based on responses.
  • Versatility: Long-term communities offer a wide variety of tools to engage with your participants. In Recollective, you can run anything from a simple quick poll, to an ongoing journal. You can even engage with your members in real-time by conducting Video IDIs or Focus Group Sessions all within one environment so the experience is seamless to the participant and researcher.
  • Iteration: Engage with the same participants over time - essential when you are looking to build an ongoing dialog, have frequent touch points, follow up with participants from past studies or build out new ideas or concepts.
  • Uncover the unknown: You don't know what you don't know! Having open and ongoing conversations with members provides you with an unaided window into what is relevant and top of mind for them. This is great for uncovering insight that you might not have anticipated in your research design.
  • Consumer Connection: Long-term communities are a modern way of engaging with consumers in an environment that naturally mimics the way they socially interact online. By staying centered on customers needs, wants and opinions, it helps to reinforce brand loyalty because they know their voice is being heard.
  • Cost savings: Although long-term communities can have a larger upfront investment compared to smaller ad-hoc projects, there can be huge cost savings over time by consolidating your research into one space and eliminating the need for per project recruitment.

Sound enticing? Before committing to a long-term community, you will want to better understand the ongoing cost and time commitment it will take to manage. One of the biggest downfalls of long-term communities is that companies can under-estimate the time commitment it requires to ensure that community is well maintained, active and engaged. So you want to make sure that you have the resources available (either internally or that you have a partner that can help) to ensure it is successful.

Feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions or need help determining if a long-term or ongoing community is the right option for you.

If you missed any of our previous Recollective Application webinars on Transitioning your in-person research online, Homework & Digital Ethos, Journaling & In-the-Moment and Co-Creation, you can find all the recordings on our blog!

Laura Pulito
Vice President Research Services

Let's research happy together