‘Just Google it?’ How to get proper market research for free
Proper market research is easily forgotten, and often ruled-out because of the perceived cost or time constraints. That’s why it can be tempting to guess buyer personas. Or, worse still, leave them out entirely. But market research should be an essential part of creating any campaign. So if you’re a small company, or a small agency, how can you do your research for free?
- Google tricks
Google is an easy place to find instant information. It might not be recent, or forensically relevant, but if you need a range of qualitative data on a question, it’s a good place to begin. Adding ‘filetype:pdf’ will also reduce the amount of spam, and increase academic studies, by only delivering results that are downloadable pdf files. Think with Google’s Marketers Almanac also does a good job of tracking recent trends, and it looks pretty too. Google News shows press coverage, which is useful for user comments. Google Analytics can show you visitor demographics, and Google Adwords will deliver keywords relevant to your website.
2. Social Media groups
The best place to search on Facebook is its groups, many of which are public. Whether you’re trying to source local information, or gather general customer feedback on a specific topic or product, just search inside Facebook, then select ‘Groups’ and find relevant feeds for your data. Search in Twitter isn’t confined to hashtags, but it’s an excellent place to begin. Find relevant hashtags using Followerwonk, or Hashtagifyme, and go from there. If you have a Twitter or Facebook page, both provide demographic data on your followers.
3. Free data!
If you’re after purely quantitative market research, then data.gov.uk has a large range of publicly available free datasets. Google Trends and Google Public Data Exporter both collate online data, and are easily accessible. Services like Statcounter and Statista also offer free trials, and some freely available data. YouGov profiles is a nifty tool. Search an existing brand, personality or object. YouGov will then spend a few moments building you an aggregated profile of the average consumer based on your search. The kind of information provided ranges from basic demographic to personality and lifestyle factors. You can even discover what other brands are popular with the average consumer, and what media they consume. Look what I found out about people who like cows:
If you want a hand reaching more of your customers, get in touch.