How to use video in online communities to get even closer

Mustard’s Anthony Shephard-Williams (research director and head of online communities) discusses how Mustard has been using video in online communities to get even closer to consumers and decision makers – getting those real-life insights that are filmed in a respondents’ own environment, providing a window into lives that most other methodologies can’t ever achieve.  

We have been using video tools within online communities for years at Mustard with great success and we’re increasingly setting our respondents video tasks and activities to complete. There are so many reasons why using videos within an online community is a smart move for researchers, here are just a few:

  • We’re living in a world where we are increasingly sharing more of ourselves;
  • We’re becoming ever more comfortable with being on film;
  • Anyone can easily make a video of themselves on a range of devices (from anywhere in the world – we can get even closer to our international respondents with ease);
  • People are willing to invest time and energy (some of our respondents have even “gone beyond” and used specialist editing tools to really jazz up their video submissions!);
  • Respondents can film themselves in their own (natural) environment at a time that suits them – whether this is within the safety of their own four walls or whilst they are out and about, it allows researchers to get closer than ever;
  • Video can bring the research and the respondent to life (there is nothing better than going to a research debrief armed with video snippets of respondents or a short-edited video that has a real narrative to really give the insights extra believability);
  • Depending on the task /activity set, it can actually be fun for respondents too (we have had videos of people whipping their hair back and forth, pretending they’re the next Zoella and even had a cat giving birth in the background of one of video submission).

If you weren’t already sold on the benefits of using videos in online communities, hopefully you are now! If you need a bit more persuading though, here are a few more detailed examples of some of Mustard’s recent online community projects that have involved video:

  • We followed 25 people for three months for a financial advisory service set up by the government. All the respondents were financially constrained and in debt and we challenged them to save £100 a month and document their experience via video diaries.
  • We challenged some non-users of a North West rail network to go out of their comfort zone and go on a train journey and to document their experience via video diaries.
  • We sent 200 women a brand-new game changing hair brush to trial over a 30-day period, filming themselves using the brush and showing us the end results.
  • We’ve recently completed a two-week pop up community for a building society in the financial services sector to help them develop products and services. We asked people to give us a guided tour of their home, providing a commentary as they did the tour to explain what they like about their home and what they want to change, then discussing plans for the future and whether they intend to stay in their home or move.
  • We’re just in the process of running a three-week B2B pop up community for a publishing company with buyers and users of academic content. We have set the respondents video tasks to bring the reality of their typical purchasing journey / process to life
  • We’re just coming to the end of a two-week pop-up community for an online cosmetic retailer, whereby 19-24-year-old females are uploading video tutorials showing us their evening skin care routines.

We would love to hear about your experiences of using video in online communities, and the things you’ve heard, seen and learned as a result. If you have a project that might require a video element then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and can arrange for a demonstration.