As many of you have figured out over time, I really don’t trust research especially that about the online space. Why is that? In the vast majority of cases when you look at the ‘sponsor’ of that research, they have a vested interest in the findings looking a certain way. I’m not saying the research is completely unreliable but it does look funny when these ‘coincidences’ happen more often than not.
Research I do trust much more than others is what comes from the Pew Research Center. As a result, their report “Online Product Research” will get some time here. The Internet and American Life Project reports that nearly 60% of Americans have researched products on line. In fact, the chart below just how often it happens daily.
These are the kinds of statistics that we assume are happening whether it is researched or not. It’s important to validate these things with legitimate research so they are more than just educated guesses or hunches.
The study also found
- Men and women conduct online product research at similar rates.
- Online African-Americans do product research at significantly lower rates than do online whites or Hispanics.
- Online adults who are ages 65 and older do significantly less online product research than those in the 30-49 and 50-64 age groups.
- Internet users in higher income brackets do more online research than those in lower income brackets.
- Online Americans who speak English do more online product research than those who are Spanish speakers.
- There is no significant difference in online product researching among rural, suburban, and urban internet-using adults.
- Some 83% of broadband users report doing online product research, compared with 67% of non-broadband users.
Online research by consumers is possibly the single greatest opportunity / threat to online marketers. As research becomes more available and sophisticated it puts the onus on marketers to provide the online researcher with information that will influence their actions in favor of the marketer. Either that means that marketers will work harder to know their customers and prospects but it also opens the door for marketers saying anything to get the sale.
Let’s hope it’s the former but we all need to be on our guard about research in the online space.
What sources of Internet research do you trust implicitly? Are their certain research entities you trust all the time? Let us know.