As briefly mentioned in the Internet section, there are both advantages and disadvantages of using the Internet to conduct marketing research. This section will focus on the advantages.
- Costs - Online research is generally less expensive than its traditional counterpart. This is especially true for surveys and questionnairres because the printing and mailing costs are eliminated. Also, it erradicates the need for an interviewer either in a mall setting or via the phone. Focus groups can also be less expensive, the average costing between $4,000 and $5,500 including the reports and analyses.
- Time - This is by far the biggest advantage of using the Internet. Survey setup and execution time are slashed. In fact, most interviews can be completed within two days. Concept testing can be reduced from four weeks to less than one week.
- Target Audience - The Web allows marketers to quickly reach their audience and is particullary good at reaching hard to reach or small segments like college students or people with rare diseases. Moreover, the Internet allows researchers to test in a limited area or globally.
- Controlled Environment - Interviewer bias is eliminated which can help increase reliability. Also the computer can prevent the participant from skipping questions or answering in a non linear fashion. And if wanted, the researcher can place a time limit.
- Response Rate - As response rates for telephone surveys drop to 14% due to the rise of caller ID and answering machine use, the Internet boasts response rates as high as 60%.
- Anonymity - In some cases, notably with quantitative research, anonymity allows people to respond more honestly than they would in a face-to-face situation with an interviewer.