People often ask me what Sample 3.0 is and why its important. Sample 3.0 is our social network-based sampling product through which Peanut Labs delivers profiled and targeted sample to market researchers. It’s important because of one very important reason:
Social Networking usage has OVERTAKEN email usage. This data is from 2007, and I’m sure if you do a more recent search through proprietary comScore / Nielsen data the difference between Social Networking and web-email usage will have grown even further.
Advertisers have clearly noticed this fact, and the ad market for social networks is expected to be worth $2.2bn in 2008. People, especially young people and professionals, are using communities and social networks to communicate with each other, keep track of colleagues and friends, and connect with business prospects. This is not just for teens – take a look at Linkedin, Plaxo and Xing. Plaxo was recently acquired by Comcast, and Linkedin was valued at over $1bn by a recent venture financing.
People are clearly hanging out on social networks more and more. And as a result, response rates on email-based sampling are crashing. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with anyone who runs an online panel and they will tell you this. From a purely business perspective, this creates an economic impetus to start sampling in places where there are higher response rates. Peanut Labs gets response rates on average of 29%. I’d love to hear what other firms experimenting with social sampling are getting. In either case, these rates are well above the 0.1% – 3% typically seen on email sampling.
If you’re not reaching people through communities or social networks for research, you are likely (a) getting more professional, “panelized” repeat responders, and (b) you are paying too much. I often compare the email/social-network transition to the phone/online transition. You have to move now or you risk getting left behind.