There are a wide variety of online bulletin boards available for market research, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a platform. But the question is, what features and services should you look for to know if an online bulletin board could support your project needs?
What is an Online Bulletin Board?
This qualitative method is used in market research online communities (MROCs), wherein respondents can sign in, read posts, share feedback, upload content, and download files. Unlike some data-gathering techniques, online bulletin boards allow participants to contribute to the discussion at their own pace without moderator supervision.
Online bulletin boards are known for their diverse, engaging activity options – allowing researchers to customize and incorporate specific strategies for data-gathering.
Characteristics of a Full-Service Online Bulletin Board
An online community bulletin board should have the flexibility to handle different research time frames and response intervals. This includes the ability to accommodate short-term communities that gather feedback quickly as well as extended communities that could last for several months. Different studies may also require daily, weekly, or set interval responses, while some give respondents time and space to write entries in their own time.
You can also utilize online bulletin boards to showcase stimuli through tasks like image and video reviews - even without the presence of the moderator – as if they’re reacting to social media posts. This enables respondents to think carefully and analyze topics instead of giving “first thing in mind” answers.
Online bulletin board segmentation capabilities can also be helpful within studies conducting cluster analysis – exploring insights of groups of people with similar characteristics compared to different groups. Respondents may be clustered based on nationality, age bracket, gender, interests, or even medical condition. This allows researchers to figure out how people respond to the subject matter in relevance to their profiles.
Laying out all activities to the respondents at once may induce bias as respondents will just answer whatever question they want to finish first. Uncoordinated data gathering is a threat to research findings. The ideal solution to manage this kind of threat is question masking.
A full-service online bulletin board must be capable of placing you, the moderator or researcher, in control of the activity plan, requiring respondents to answer prerequisite questions before moving on to the next.
Being able to track and manage participation, completion rates, and leaderboards is a huge plus. Having a feature such as this in your online bulletin board allows you to view participant progress and even contact participants who are falling behind on their activities.
A unique feature you can find in online bulletin boards is gamification. Among mobile and web-enabled marketing research tools, past research shows that gamification is the best method for driving participation rates using rewards, incentives, challenges, and recognition.
This works by rewarding respondents with points that could serve as a basis for the incentives they receive. Defining different achievement levels could also motivate them to complete more activities.
Sequential activities are recommended to discover highly compelling insights and perceptions. Additionally, a full-service online bulletin board should have robust MROC analytic tools that the researcher can use when aggregating the influx of data that an online bulletin board could generate.
For individuals or companies who don’t have the required resources, some market research online bulletin board providers can even offer recruitment services to help you find qualified people for your study. Look for a provider with global expertise that could recruit respondents from all over the world as well as eliminate language barriers and cultural misunderstandings with accurate translation services.
Service and Support
Another factor that can help safeguard your study is using a solution that offers dedicated customer service and support. This consists of a technical team that loads your discussion guide, helps set up respondent equipment, shows how platform functions and moderator tools work, as well as how to make the most of them.
When collecting a large amount of data, it may be necessary to move your data into a PDF or spreadsheet format to easily visualize your data in one place. Moreover, media content such as photos, videos, and audio recordings may also need to be exported for archive and internal documentation.
You should expect your online bulletin board solution to complete supporting tasks such as data exportation to Excel and Word transcripts. Also, it would be wise to ensure that your platform is device compatible and could reformat itself to various screen sizes, orientations, and operating systems.
Utilize Civicom Chatterbox™ for Your Online Bulletin Board Research
Civicom Chatterbox is a full-featured online bulletin board platform ideal for asynchronous discussions and is accessible by a wide range of respondents. It's available in multiple languages and adaptable to any device screen and operating system. Get the most value from online community studies and check out our full-service online bulletin board solution.