Social data and survey data are inherently complementary. The former offers an unfiltered view of unprompted consumer opinion over time on almost any topic, enabling researchers to find unexpected insights and to identify opportunities and potential challenges. The latter allows researchers to ask consumers the exact questions they need answers to. Answers can be cross-referenced to reveal deeper insight and the accompanying demographic data is often really strong (especially in comparison to analysis of posts on anonymous forums).
Combining the two data sources gives researchers the chance to ask questions around the unexpected themes they found cropping up in conversations and to challenge assumptions. This kind of triangulation opens a whole world of opportunity for the modern researcher.
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