Interruption Research Doesn’t Work Any Better Today Than Interruption Marketing

We used to do music research on the phone for shorter tests (like callout) and in person for longer tests (like auditorium tests). Respondents for those auditorium tests were recruited on the phone, because everyone had a home phone and because people were at least somewhat tolerant about being called (interrupted) on their home phones and because people still had home phones and because Arbitron mainly began its sample recruitment in the same manner: by interrupting people on their home phones.

Since 2011 we at NuVoodoo have found it more effective to conduct music research online because:

  • Landline penetration has plummeted.
  • Most remaining landlines are protected by Do Not Call lists and/or the use of Caller ID to screen unfamiliar calls.
  • Consumers are less and less willing to cooperate with calls and other interruptions that seek to take their time when they want to do other things.
  • Availability of online sample has skyrocketed, meaning many markets now have far more sample available online than available on the phone.
  • Nielsen no longer relies on landline telephones as its primary means of contact.

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In days gone by, a consumer answered her home phone and could find herself in a music interview (or a perceptual interview, for that matter) and would be told by the interviewer that it would only take a few minutes and had to be begged to continue for “just another minute or so.” In exchange for their precious time, respondents are given, well, nothing. Cooperation rates for such shenanigans have withered away to vapor, making telephone research incredibly expensive and, frankly, causing us to wonder just what kind of people would cooperate with such a scheme.

It’s a sharp contrast with interviews conducted in the online space. NuVoodoo respondents know how long the interview is going to take and how much they’ll receive for completing the interview before they begin. They’re given a window of several days to complete the interview at a time of their choosing and, in library tests, can take a break whenever they want. They complete the interview when and where they want to, on the device that works best for them. In 2016, half our current-music tests are completed by respondents on a smartphone or tablet. But, given the already near-ubiquity of smartphones, it’s obvious that the future is mobile.

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Some respondents prefer to complete the interview on a laptop or desktop, and our platform is optimized to work perfectly on whatever device the respondent uses. It’s not about us, it’s about them.

Given the immense research appetite of big business, appropriately-screened online sample is plentiful. We don’t have trick our clients into accepting half-samples rolled together to achieve an appropriate sample size. Our samples include NO station-supplied database members, NO respondents recruited from a radio station website and NO one who’s been cajoled into the “correct” answers by a telephone agent. And because our team has been working with online samples since 2008, we know how to filter out the duds and those not paying attention or trying to game the system. Our jerk filters and proprietary systems are the best in the business.

As consumers move from push to pull for their media, from a world where things used to move at the convenience of the provider to a world where things move at the convenience of the consumer, it’s important that we keep pace with consumers. RIP, Interruption Research.