A research process based on data from net – what you need to know

6 December 2017, Robert Sadowski

Over 93% of Polish teenagers use the Internet every day (“Teen 3.0” study). As PwC research shows, every fourth Internet user uses the network 24 hours a day, and 36% are online from eight to twelve hours a day. What are the effects? First of all, we’re producing more and more content. In addition, the opinions and articles we encounter on the web have an increasing impact on both the world view and consumer purchasing decisions. As many as 60% of internet users declare that one of the applications of the network is to search for brands or products that they want to buy (“E-commerce in Poland 2016”. Gemius for e-Commerce Poland).

Image in the web

Companies should take care of their image not only at the product level but also at the employer branding. The Internet is more than a source of opinion about a product. Users often also look for information about a potential employer. Negative opinions about the company may discourage them from taking up a job or submitting a resume in a selected place. In addition, more and more customers dissatisfied with the service / product express their bitterness in the posts published on brand forums or fanpages. The same applies to searching for a product. Internet users ask a lot of questions, which recipients are often not only acquaintances, but also random internet users. In this context, it is also important to quickly respond to such signals, so that the dissatisfied customer does not feel left to himself, and the potential buyer had the chance to become familiar with the company’s offer before deciding on the product of the competition.

Internet surfers have made “blindness” to some forms of advertising. Therefore, it is more important to monitor consumer behavior, campaign effects and search for new forms of reaching recipients. This is also why, in the last few years, content marketing activities have become very popular.

The Internet is not just an almost inexhaustible source of knowledge. It is also a good tool for collecting data. Never before getting information about network users and their preferences has not been as easy as now. Currently, more and more tools enable immediate obtaining of basic information about the activity of Internet users, and the publication review has become almost an inherent element of the day of many employees of PR departments, marketing or business owners. Most of them use media monitoring tools, such as Newspoint, which allows real-time analyzes.


Study planning

At the stage of planning the study one should answer a few basic questions. They will allow you to choose the optimal methods to suit your needs, and give us the confidence that the results will be useful. When planning a research, you should first consider issues:

– what is the purpose of the study? – when planning analyzes it is necessary to specify the questions we want to get an answer to and how we want to use the conclusions from the analyzes,

– what type of data do we need (eg types of information sources)?

– whether to analyze the competition? – keep in mind that the results take on a new dimension if we can compare them with something,

– whether a one-off or a recurring study is planned (eg to determine the effectiveness of a campaign, the analysis can be carried out before, during and after its completion)?

– will the research be conducted by a company or an external entity?

– budget – this point may seem seemingly unfounded, but in practice it is quite the opposite. Typically, the degree of detail or sophistication of the analysis is inextricably linked to the price; other types of analyzes are also carried out for companies with various advertising budgets, in addition, the analysis carried out by the company’s employees also “costs”. Although you can not see it directly in invoices, no hours are free.


Research methods

Another important issue during research planning is the selection of appropriate research methods. Their selection is closely related to previously discussed points (research goal, data type, budget).

In the case of internet research, the available methods of research are, among others:

– questionnaire surveys – their advantage is the possibility of getting direct answers to specific questions, and choosing an interesting group, eg after age, gender,

– quantitative data analysis, qualitative data analysis, text mining. The advantages of researching publications from the Internet are: the price of the study, in particular in comparison to traditional surveys, the ability to retrieve data, potential insights, unlimited possibilities of formulating keywords,

– in the case of research aimed at improving own channels – Google Analytics, SEO audits, the number of followers and followers in social media profiles and their demographic distribution.


When planning any research, always remember about the limitations of the chosen research method. Skipping this aspect may eventually lead to erroneous conclusions (because based on wrong assumptions). When planning a research on data from the network, particular attention should be paid to several factors:

– Internet users’ demography is not a demographic of the society, eg in comparison to teenagers, a much smaller percentage of pensioners use the Internet,

– Internet users use the Internet in a different way, eg some are only passive Internet users and do not publish their own content,

– Internet users are more willing to publish content that negatively evaluates the brand than they are positive about products,

– many entities on the Internet use the amplifying services, and some decide to buy likes or observers. Often, a cursory analysis will not show these actions, and they can significantly interfere with actual results,

– in the case of conducting surveys, particular attention should be paid to the time of conducting the research and the correct formulation of research questions. You can not forget about the part this reluctance to provide some answers and the fact that part of society avoids these types of surveys,


– in any case one should not forget about the fact that it does not count (only) quantity, but also quality. Not only observers, but also the same mentions on the Internet – what and in what media posts are published. The range of the publication can be significantly different depending on the website, on which the reference was placed,

– opinions are influenced not only by our actions. It happens that the overall condition in the industry strongly affects the quantity and quality of comments about our brand as well.


Research conducted on data from the Internet is a good chance to obtain a relatively low cost of valuable information for the company. However, it is important to remember about the right research problem, choosing the right research technique and correct interpretation of the results.


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