Tag Archives: Christian Dossel

End of the rise of social media? What about social media research?

Social media is still on the rise. Large networks, especially Facebook, increase not only their reach, most users use the site also more intense the longer they are members. These are findings from a recent research report by Gartner. But the report shows more: 

Gartner surveyed 6.295 people aged 13-74 in eleven different markets between December 2010 and January 2011 .37 percent of respondents – most of them from young target groups – stated that they use their favorite social network more intense than at the beginning of their membership.

However, in some markets there seems to be an end of the rise of social media usage among consumers. Nevertheless, 24 percent said that the intensity of usage has decreased.

The markets where the users are more engaged with social media include, among others, South Korea and Italy, while the users in Brazil and Russia are tending to be less on the social web. The most important argument for reduced use: data protection and privacy.

 
What does this mean for Social Media Research? 

The same as for Social Media Marketing. That’s easy enough…
It isn’t enough to have a survey or even a poll on Facebook. That’s not how it works. We need innovation, we need inspiration. And we need to know the users of social networks annd their behaviour before we can survey than. Actuality is king as well keeping the attention high in order to use the very short attetion span in social networks. That, by the way, is to my point of view one of the most important reasons why gamification is more than a buzzword in recent times. 

So let’s get creative, and start by attending The Market Research Event 2011 in Florida, hosted by IIRUSA

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at
MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Market Research Leadership at the end of the year 2011′

The year 2011 is drawing to a close. November and December are not only in Germany traditionally fully packed market research months. But there is the TMRE 11 in Orlando, Florida knocking on the door.
That’s exactly the right time to think about market research leadership. Almost exactly 2.5 years ago Boston Consulting Group has introduced the Consumer Insight Benchmarking. A study among clients an vendors of market research related services which a lot of interesting stuff.
One of the key findings at the time: market research often isn’t able to draw on its full potential, regardless of whether it is called Customer Insight Research or not ;-)
There are four stages of progress, which outlines the process of development of market research in their role of “orders from the internal divisions” to a source of competitive advantage”.
Level 1 is defined as “Traditional Market Research Funcion”. The focus here is on the tactical use of market research. Any qualitative and / or quantitative test scenarios fall into this group. Market research here is usually a demand from marketing, always with a specific requirement (eg product or campaign testing). Or, as a CEO is quoted in the study: “The sample-size police in the back room … Which research is focused on and is not valid rather than provide meaningful business advice.”
Level 2 is titled as “Business Contribution Team”. The role of market research goes further than in level 1, because here a greater level of cooperation between Market Research and (internal) client has been created. This often leads to a more strategic use of market research services. Recommendations that are strongly related to business processes are kind of output of market research at Level 2. Nevertheless, the insight department (just to use a synonym for market research) only acts if it is asked to support. Synchronization with other information from the past or from other sources does not take place here.
Stage 3 is called “Strategic Insight Organization” and the role of market research is more important than level 1 and 2. Market research is an integral part of critical business processes across marketing and sales and beyond of it. Market researchers are required as part of project teams, regardless of whether it is a market research project or not. Relevance for the divisions is caused by a close cooperation of market research with the relevant project managers. And knowledge of the sales force is growing little by little.
Stage 4 is in very many ways the supreme discipline, which can only work under certain conditions. It is called “Strategic Foresight Organization” and expands the processes from step 3 by a thinking that dissolves the boundaries of individual business units. This means that market research occupies a cross company position, which enables it to attend strategic decisions and support and steer them. This positioning includes extending the focus on ‘ besides the status quo – future trends and predictions.
In 2009 we learned that 90% of companies surveyed are located at Level 1 or Level 2. This matches perfectly what we experience here in Germany. So we try to achieve a constant “up-levelling” for market research leadeship.
The remaining companies are mainly found in stage 3 and only a few companies are on stage 4.
Also quite interesting is the different perception of the terms of the quality of output between those who produce it and those who buys. 73% of the “manufacturers” say that they answer all “so-what?-questions” with their results. If you ask the recipients of the results only 34% agree to this.
How does this look like today? Make sure to attend The Market Research Event 2011 in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA, to find out’

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

Recruitment of participants for Online Research Communities, the role of Online Access Panels

If
you know the business of online access panels maybe because you sometimes need
that kind of service, you may know that providers of online access panels
position themselves on the ground of huge panelsizes or because
of delivered quality. The respective
underlying business model is correspondingly
either quantities or it is
defined by the quality of respondents’ information.
Both
models of course have several advantages and disadvantages.
Quantity
model

Advantages:
-
Even small audiences with low incidence rates can be reached adequately
-
High demands on field time and costs can be met
- Large numbers of cases
are possible

Disadvantages:
- Higher fluctuation
and “panel-mortality”
- Only
few qualifying information about the participants available
- Recruitment
methods are not always transparent
-
Only little knowledge about the influence of the panel model on panelists self-perception
as survey participants

Quality-driven
model
Advantages:
-
High quality responses on more strict rules of access to new panel members (eg
member-get-member)
- Extensive screening
-
Qualitative analysis of the panelists (eg minimization of screen-outs as the
basis of the relationship management)
 
Disadvantages:
- Limitation
in case of low incidences are needed
- Limitation on
the number of cases to be achieved
- Slightly higher costs
Photo by http://blog.allworkandnoplay.de/
In the
context of online research community projects it is necessary to recruit
participants not only to because of their target-group characteristics. You
rather put demands on communication skills beyond ‘tip-the-box’ as well as sufficient
intrinsic motivation to participate.

Wherever
it is generally a good idea to recruit participants via online access panels,
we prefer those providers with a
quality-driven approach. Results
always are extremely high response rates, low drop-out rates over time (even in
communities with longer durations) and last but not least positive effects in
terms of ??panelists’ appreciation being a participant in market research. Without
participants and their willingness to share their experiences, attitudes and
preferences, we would have a hard time. 
So it is always a
pleasure to read feedback like this after completion of online research
communities:
‘Thanks a lot to the moderators and creators of
this community. I had a lot of fun and I have learned a lot. I’m happy that I
was able to exchange with others and there were a lot of good hints. You, the
scribblers, have been a great group! Thanks a lot. I wish all the best to all
participants and perhaps we will meet one day on the internet or even in real
life.’
Make sure to join the discussions about panels and communities at the upcoming The Market Research Event  in Florida, hosted by IIR, USA. We’ll have plenty
to discuss…
About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches

What if we were paid for clients’ Return On Insight?

Last week I dreamt an unusual dream: I landed up in market-research-future-land…  

The market research world
there had changed, everything was different. Much of the
dream didn’t make pretty much sense to me from today’s perspective. 
But one part of the dream I had to think
about a little bit longer:
Like
in today’s time ROI was one of the key parameters for the assessment and classification of success. At least because of this
interesting post it becomes clear that it
is not always easy
to determine ROI as return on investment for market research
services. But in my
dream’s market-research-future-land however
much more research activities were rated
by clients on the basis of ROI
considerations. 
How could that be?  
How did they resolve the problem of a
clear definition and inter-individual clarity of what
ROI means?
It didn’t last long until I
realized that ROI wasn’t meant
as Return On Investment but
as Return On Insight. What had happened?
 
Central changes in the market research industry, which could be slightly observed and forefelt today, had been manifested in new
concrete requirements and business areas.

Market
research’s clients were no longer willing to pay for (high) expensive and highly specialized external
service providers and service units.
Shortage of information about markets
and market participants became increasingly smaller, the value of the complex gathering and
surveying of this information declined
as rapidly as continuously

Most of the
information and the most important parts of it for the companies were easily
accessible via intelligent social media
monitoring
approaches and progress in the DIY market research ‘ without a large investment. The MR-agencies, which had focused on the
information gathering, were caught in a negative relevance swirl and thereby
lost income until they lost all of their justification they once had.  
Quality, efficiency, methodology and last but
not least price had been arguments
in which the MR-agencies did not differ a lot from each other. 
Consequently, the investment, which the
purchasers of market research have issued
to the agencies for the collection of data and information, had become vanishingly small.

Nevertheless,
the industry had not disappeared from earth, but it had changed significantly. Insight
became the central proof to evaluate the performance of market
research. The generation of insights
had detached itself from the value of data gathering, this was
already re-integrated within the
organization of commissioning companies. To
connect relevance and significance to existing data and results had become the
most important competence, and clients paid a lot for it and loved to do so.

What I especially liked about market-research-future-land
was the fact that clients included Return On Insight as a flexible
component into their pay
. Only those agencies, that had been able to provide
insights that were able to influence the
client companies’ success in a positive way, were also paid with the flexible part
of the fee.
I’m sure
that Return On Insight for market research is as difficult to be determined as
Return On Invest. But I’m also sure that the assessment of our performance by our
clients via Return On Insight is trend-setting. For this we would be forced to:
- give up
our silo-thinking,  
- deal with
marketing and advertising in a more extensive way
- be less of craftsmanship and more to believe
in relevance and
- ultimately be prepared for the future

We
ourselves have not yet tried to
agree with the client about a flexible part of our fee, depending
on the quality of the Return on Insights
we deliver. But we are thinking about it, and who knows, maybe it will happen soon that we are working with one of our clients on
such a trend-setting model.
I’m curious how ROI will be discussed at The Market Research Event in Florida. IIR, USA,
the conference organizers have put it on the agenda.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Is facebook a research platform? And if so, how could we use it?

Stating the obvious social
networks
have changed communication among people as well as the communication between
brands and their users significantly. And
it is no secret that facebook is currently the largest social network (and according
to this infographic will probably remain No. 1).
In times where communication
channels change
to that extent, this should however challenge market research. Because
we are dependent on the communication between people to learn and explore with
our entire tool box of methods, what people think, feel, and how they might behave.
Actually, the
conditions for utilizing facebook for market research purposes are very good. Facebook
as an internet platform is easy and always accessible from anywhere at any
time. It reaches outs in a wide range of target audiences and markets. In most
markets the penetration of the regular user base hits high double-digit
percentages. And the typical question-answer logic is widespread among the
users.

So the question
is why this utilization works so poorly and nearly only from the social media
monitoring perspective.
I have noticed a number of reasons for that. Here I
will focus on three of them.

1. Market research is used to standardization,
social networks are not to standardize
One of the main parameters of market research has
been the degree of standardization of their tools. The
lower the need for adjustment of solutions the higher is the value. This
golden rule is now tried to be adopted on social networks and therefore on facebook.
This is supposed to
be a deadlock, for two reasons.  
First
of all, because facebook is continuously changing and evolving, in certain
areas with unnoticed changes, it is absurd to create standardized page
templates. Requirements,
guidelines and other conditions for pages are also changing constantly.
Second,
facebook users show a communication behavior on the social network that can be
controlled only in very, very few cases
by someone in the role of a market
researcher. Discussion paths, topics and content areas on the sides are
specified, structured and extended by the users themselves,. This works well without a
moderator.
2. The possibilities for the use of Facebook in the DIY market research
mode are relatively comprehensive (Poll / Questions) and therefore there is no
need for “real” market research 
Building “surveys” on facebook

Facebook is a
platform that’s added values are mainly recognized and exploited by marketing
departments. Mechanisms
of market research, such as short polls and One-Question Surveys have always
been popular within marketing departments to build relationship between brand
and users.
These
modules are no substitute for market research with users of brand’s fan-sites
on facebook . Many
marketers, however, prefer the use of marketing-oriented marketing research
methods on facebook. An
understanding of the needs for “real” facebook-market research is only
slightly developed.

3. Facebook is confused with community  
Though online
research communities are a growing field in innovative research methods, there
are clear differences between them and facebook. Facebook
or a brand page on Facebook is not per se a research research community.
A
brand and fan page on Facebook can provide very good services for brand
building and communication of brand content
. They
are very well suited to increase brand loyalty or brand engagement. But
it is very difficult to achieve, that the user of a page do not only talk with
the brand but talk with each other. Even
those brands, which manage to do this, have only limited success in turning
this conversation into real relationship
However, there
are ways to get quick and easy information about users of facebook brand page. If
you agree to the following methodological issues and assumptions, a survey on facebook
is very useful:

- The target population is defines as people who have connected to a brand page by
the “Like”-button. All
results are only valid for this group and generalizations for brand users,
potential, etc. should be treated with caution.  
- In order to control the response there is just the number of completed
interviews. Since the population of the users is unknown in its structure, the
set of participants with regard to their structure cannot be compared with anything. 

There are many use
cases for such a research

- qualification
of existing “fans” in order to learn more about their structure,
- evaluating
and optimizing the Facebook pages,
- recruitment
of research participants for studies outside of facebook, e.g. online research
communities
- for sites
with high “fan-numbers” special surveys in target groups which are in
general very difficult to reach.

http://www.facebook.com/Lesetipp

For mein-lesetipp.de,
Germany’s leading facebook page dealing with books and reading,
we have developed a number of different facebook surveys in the past. 
From
our experience, above all you must ensure that the barriers for participation on
this surveys are as low as possible. It is true that establishing the look and
feel of the facebook environment is very important for users. But it is also
true, that the use of applications are barrier, at least because of privacy
reasons. Additionally, the use of apps on Facebook, as previously reported here, is below average.

In this research triangle
of DIY, Social Media and Community Research, new potential and opportunities
for market research occur. These issues are addressed at The Market Research Event in November 2011
in Orlando, Florida. It will be interesting, how our industry will talk about these
issues on that conference organized the IIR, USA.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here.
After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market
research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director
at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Insight ‘ does the content always match the label?

If someone asked me today, “What is an insight?” I have to ask back first “Who wants to know?”.
In my personal perception, there is no other word that has taken a faster rise on the market research hype cycle than insight.
And the faster the rise, the larger becomes the range of possible meanings.
Photo by Thea Kamilla
To the same extend differentiating power and accurate meaning of insight has suffered. Insight planning, insight management, consumer insights, strategy insight, insight-based segmentation,etc.; in German and other non-English languages these sound fantastic (they are not translated into locallanguage). That in fact might contribute to the confusion and disorientation.
For me it has always worked well to define the insight-concept, depending on the discussion partners and their backgrounds (target group-oriented approaches are known to have never hurt anyone ;-) ).
From my experience with clients from various industries, it makes sense to distinguish especially between how an insight is generated on the one hand and how it is than utilized and implemented on the other hand.

You will find alot of different definitionsof insight. However what all definitions have in common, is: An insight’
- has to be unexpected and previously unknown
- is strong enough to create change
- can be used for unique benefits and / or brand or product USPs.

The following definition is a little more related to market research: “An insight is a key piece of in-depth understanding about a target audience thatwill unlock a true business potential”
Regardless of which direction one goes or what definition one sets, it becomes clear, that for well founded insights it is necessary to think outside of the research-box.
How else would you be able to estimate insights’ business-potential?  
How else would you evaluate whether an insight is unexpected or new?
Therefore we always emphasize to clearly consider all aspects of a certain project’s context, such as market, competitors, former communication in the category, etc. (for more details about “insight and context” read here)
It is in the nature of insights that they need time to evolve, spontaneous moments of Heureka are very seldom. Market research here only contributes parts of the insight (the rest is strategy consulting, advertising, PR, marketing & sales, etc.). Interdisciplinary skills are needed and much appreciated.
Clearly not every research without insights is worthless ‘ because not every research is designed to gather insights. Many market research studies remain at the level of results and answers, and that is more than okay.
But if this is the case, please avoid the word “insight“, let’s call it result, finding, information, ‘ 
In order to keep things simple it is important to deal with the term “insight” in a responsible way.
Insights in general are going to be on the agenda at ‘The Market Research Event‘ in Orlando, Florida this year, which is organized by the IIR. I’m very curious about the discussion.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Research and innovation ‘ experiment and observe…

It has been a long time since Paul Lazarsfeld, founder of modern empirical social science, has shown how powerful observational methods are. His famous piece of work “Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal” is a classic for everybody interested in sociology. Sociographic was the order in those days.

Today it looks to me as if observational methods within market research are on the rise again; especially the increasingly used online qualitative methods such as online research communities or social media monitoring.

The use of these methods is beneficial not only for generation of insights, but is becoming increasingly important for innovation management process. This is partly due to the nature of innovation on the one hand, and, on the other hand because of the – for years underestimated – power of observation.

* Foto by jcolman

From the most common method focus groups to modern behavioral economics, observations bring forth new insights, perspectives and new thinking. The usefulness of observations has nearly always been proven in our studies.

In particular for the innovation process, we have found that this method can be ideally combined with other methods. Thus, a social media monitoring approach as a precursor and input for a consumer study is ideal. Furthermore, we have seen that the combination of asynchronous methods (e.g. community research) can provide a high density of information if it is combined with synchronous elements (e.g., chat)..

For a contemporary view of innovation, it is important both to establish working practice and environments that support the idea process. And again, that is a perfect field for the use of observational method. Because consumers don’t tell what they think, don’t think what they feel, and don’t always act as they tell us how they feel and think… an old but familiar dilemma..

There will be lots of more thoughts and talks about obversation and innovation at the The Market Research Event 2011 in November in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Colors of cars, what do they tell you?

If you are in the automotive research then you know what I’m talking about. In nearly every study we have done for the automotive industry, at a certain stage the question about colors play an important role. Sometimes it’s the question about the dominant color of a car in the local market, sometimes it is about to decide which color a car scribble should have as stimulus material for group discussion (or should not have). And sometimes you want to know if a given car color represents mass taste.

In a world of deep depth of information about a huge range of topic you will need to mix the sources of knowledge. It is indeed important to know your category before starting a research. Sometimes you are lucky and you will find the information you need.Let’s have a look at this piece of information.

Let’s have a look at this piece of information.

Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt, Germany

Accordingly, the 1980s in Germany, red was 22% of new registrations, more than any other. A similar proportion (21.6%) was gray it was followed by white with 20.6% ??and blue with 15.7%.

Since then, Germany has become colorless. Just 6.8 % of new registrations in 2010 were still red. Thus, the red cars have quickly become less important. Even with green, it went down (from 5.5 to 1.4%), also with blue (15.7 to 10.5%) and the other colors (10.6 to 6.9%) as brown or orange.

Big winners are the black colored cars. In 1986, only every 25th car was black (4.0%). Today, however, black is regarded as noble and almost one third (30.4%) of all cars is painted black. Only in silver / gray, there are more cars (32.6%).

Is that all the numbers could tell you?

Source: Kraftfahrzeugbundesamt,Germany

If you ‘ like me ‘ like accurateness and precision the answer is No! Our philosophy is to go that extra mile to deliver better results.

You can see some kind of color fashion over the years. And it would be interesting to map the socio-demographic change against these numbers.But most important is the fact that every brand (and even every model) has its own hypecycle. In 2010 it is very hard to find a non-black Jaguar, Porsche or Jeep, because all brands have a proportion of black cars registered in this year of more than 50%.

And be careful to think that every silver / gray car is premium. Smart has a proportion of 58.4% for this color. This is a good example of how putting together different sources of knowledge from existing information about the market helps you produce better research results. Let’s see what we will learn about the topic of “mixing information” at the The Market Research Event 2011 in November in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Diaries – the right method for the right purpose

Diaries have traditionally taken a major role in the qualitative research and have their place in the modern canon of methods. They offer an authentic view in consumers’ everyday life and give room for participants’ creative self-expression. More and more they are used as a kind of pre-task ahead of qualitative methods, used to stimulate participants to deal with the research subject in the run-up and to gather initial findings for the design of the survey situation (e.g. design of the discussion room, fine-tuning of the guideline …).

Photo by Josh DiMauro

Technological progress and the opportunities it creates for market research have particular impact on this method. Several years ago the method of keeping diaries had to be carried out as paper-and-pencil. Over the past years it has diversified and now offers plenty of different varieties.

In addition to the traditional paper-and-pencil method, participants are increasingly encouraged to keep mobile or online diaries.

So when to use what?

Rules of thumb are a little flat. Neither is paper-and-pencil completely out of fashion nor is it necessary to go all the way mobile. As so often, it depends…

Depending on the research objectives, different methods for using diaries are useful and others are not.

When it comes to mobile usage of diaries, because notes about emotions and activities on the go should be recorded, flexibility and simplicity is important. On these dimensions paper-and-pencil executions as well mobile diaries offer more benefits than online, because both smart-phone and offline diary can be carried around easily and flexible.

In specific settings, for example where drawings of the participants are important, or where own handwriting is essential, because deeper reflection is necessary, there is no alternative to paper-pencil notes. In particular, the online and mobile versions are somewhat limited when it comes to expressing the own creativity. The technological development indeed evolves rapidly. But currently internet technology is not equal to creative possibilities of offline diaries yet.





A huge advantage of online diaries is the possible integration of audio-visual elements such as photos, videos and audio files. These elements can serve as a support of the written word. Furthermore it is much easier to process participants’ input via online, no shipping, transcription or scanning needed. And the researchers themselves are able to follow the process in real time and so are able to give feedback on specific aspects while participants are keeping their notes.

Nevertheless it is quite important to be clear about the question in which environments the records will be used. For the implementation of workshop formats creatively-made paper-pencil diaries are significantly better suitable than mobile diaries. Online diaries are constantly improving, mainly because videos deliver unique insights into the reality of life and emotions of the participants.

The Market Research Event 2011 is November in Orlando, Florida, hosted by IIR USA, deals with the topics Online Research and Mobile Research (among others). I’m curious what they will tell us about diaries.

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Brand research in social web – what about B2C2C communication?

About the author: Christian D??ssel is blogging about market research in German language here and here. After having worked for TNS, TBWA and other strategy and market research agencies he now holds the position of Senior Research Director at MM-Eye in Hamburg / Germany with special responsibilities for MM-Eye’s new media and online research approaches.

Stating the obvious, Facebook’s 714 million unique visitors worldwide in May 2011 (according to comScore) make it the largest social network amongst all. The immense coverage of social networks has animated brands to spread their branded content on social networks in general and specifically on Facebook.

Whereas there are more or less tried and tested instruments to examine coverage, brand exposure and so on for the distribution of branded content and advertising on traditional channels for years, for branded content via Facebook this is not the case.

There is hard evidence for the quantitative assessment of users of brand pages on Facebook (so called “fans”), but almost all relate to the pure number of fans. Coverage is equated with the number of fans in most of the cases.

This is only the first half of the story, as current research shows the effect of branded content on Facebook (such as the study in collaboration by comScore and Facebook, link to the white paper (for free, but you need to register).

In addition to the fans of brands on Facebook, where marketing as well as market research focus on, the friends of the fans are moving increasingly into the centre of interest. One reason for this is the fact that the number of friends of the fans surpasses the number of brand fans by far across almost all brands (comScore states factor 34 for this relationship for the top 100 U.S. brands on Facebook).

Another reason for paramount importance of friends of the fans can be seen in the fact that over 25% of the time on Facebook is spent with reading, viewing and tracking of the newsfeed (timeline). This area is the part of Facebook where messages of friends are displayed, including their interactions with brands that they are “friends” of. The effect of this pure and additional brand impression is to be evaluated significantly more intense, because impressions don’t come from the brands but from the friends.

Therefore in this case, and unlike to traditional media, it is required to investigate further research in this “B2C2C communication” to understand the modes of causal relationship.

I’m curious about how the two topic “social networks” and “brand perception” will be presented and discussed at this year’s “The Market Research Event 2011” presented by IIR USA in November 2011.