Summer Academy 2012

Learning and Skills Summer Programme

Amsterdam / 11-15 June

Emerging Techniques One-Day Seminar
Passive Methods in Market Research
Extending consumer understanding


If you believe in being “shown the money” then passive measurement is one of the main growth areas in the research industry. According to the Cambiar Capital Funding Index, over the course of 2011 venture capitalists invested $26 million in passive methods, $46 million in online ad measurement and $53 million in mobile research. Contrast that with investment in other more traditional areas of research and it’s clear where the money is flowing.

But what are passive methods? In essence, they are methods used to get answers without asking questions and include ethnography, internet tracking using cookies, mobile research, neuroscience and a host of new and emerging methods that focus on understanding consumer needs “from a distance.” The methods are not without controversy and there are questions abound about public versus private space, the ethics of observation and where the line should be drawn when it comes to observing individuals.

The object of this seminar is to understand where passive methods are going and how you can stay ahead of the game in this evolving area of research.

This seminar provides a deep investigation of works in progress, developments and applications of passive methods. It will explore the up-and-coming technologies that will help researchers be the “fly on the wall” to interpret and forecast consumer wants and desires. It will also look at the ethics of these types of methods and provide debate on how far technological developments can and should be used.

For more information, please contact Angela Canin - a.canin@esomar.org.


Monday, 11 June
09.00 - 17.00
09.00 - 09.10 Opening
Adam Phillips, Managing Director, Real Research and Committee Chair of the ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee, UK
09.10 - 09.20 What is Passive Measurement?
An opening salvo
Peter Laybourne, Chairman, Fathom International, UK

This opening address will set the agenda for the day by offering a definition of passive measurement, and, importantly, what is in and what is out. It will also address some of the ethical issues associated with data collection of this kind and why we, as research users and suppliers, should care about and take heed in how these methods are administered and used. It will also briefly highlight the issues relating to policing such activity in conjunction with the published guidelines set out by ESOMAR.

A Day in the Life of a Consumer - Tools of the Trade
09.20 - 09.25 Introduction by seminar chair
09.25 - 09.45 Homes That Can Talk
AJ Johnston, Director of Innovation Technology, BrainJuicer, UK

The ‘Talking Home’ uses the latest digital technologies to capture rich passive and active research data and applies behavioural experimentation to deliver insights to private and public sector clients. The home speaks to us through a plethora of technologies embedded into consumers’ everyday lives. Information gained from mobile devices, routers, smart devices and an increasing number of connected apps, provides market researchers with a digital toolkit to understand and predict consumer behaviour in areas such as family wellbeing, recycling and energy and media usage. This presentation outlines the opportunities and challenges of adopting ‘nudge’ strategies and implementing deliberate interventions to measure the subsequent behavioural change within the home.

09.45 - 10.05 Mobile Moving Targets
Data and people on the go
Andrew Grenville, Chief Research Officer, Vision Critical, Canada

Mobile devices are capable of provides gushing streams of passive data, but is all of it useful? How? When? Passive data provides us with the ability to track people, transactions, events, rich media (photos, videos, audio) and more. With more of life occurring through mobile phones, there is a massive amount of information available to mine and connect including types of activities completed, applications used, duration, activities conducted, transactions completed, frequency of use, social network connections. In this session we will explore the possibilities and problems, and suggest some of the more promising options.

10.05 - 10.25 To Pick or Not to Pick the Product
Learning the way they shop
Lluis Martinez Ribes, Associate Professor, ESADE Business School, Spain

In-store shopping time is the last mile in cash-flow generation, thus understanding the customer in such a crucial moment pays off. In this presentation, we will explore the available passive research methods to track not only shoppers’ behaviour, but also their frame of mind.

10.25 - 10.45 Discussion
10.45 - 11.10 Networking break
Now That We Have It...How Do We Analyse All of this Data
11.00 - 11.15 Introduction by seminar chair
11.15 - 11.35 Now that I’ve got it, what the hell do I do with it?
Neil McPhee, Managing Director, Nuance Research, UK

The collection of “passive” data is just that: passive, and is still just dumb data at that stage. It means little without some serious additional work. Whether this is analysis of words (i.e. the text), images (i.e. pictures or videos) or whether it is the analysis of real meaning behind both the data and the first stage analysis, there is a lot to do. Using all our senses is the key to a rigorous and meaningful analytical stage.

Stats, NLP, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Language & Discourse analysis…and don’t get me started on Ethnographic analysis. Is there no end to what we can do? Sadly, there is, and all too often the end is far sooner than it should be. We are too frequently left with an analysis that has all the depth and rigour of a post-programme review of a bad episode of Big Brother, and is probably in breach of our ethical responsibilities to our clients for conducting a professional project. Likewise, our duty of care and best advice needs to be revisited, in the light of even greater opportunities for collecting data. Data is not our main product offering: it is only a means to an end. The new mass data collection tools pose serious challenges as to how we are prepared to move our profession forward and to take account of the possible distraction of too many trees, and too few woods.

11.35 - 11.55 Artificial Intelligence to Capture Consumers Interests
Learning emotions from Sensorial Products
Núria Agell, Professor, ESADE Business School, University Ramon Lull, Spain

In this presentation we will discuss the use of artificial intelligence tools and how they can leverage information from different sources and in different formats to understand consumers preferences and capture their interests. How can AI reproduce the knowledge of an "expert" who understands consumer behaviour? A case of a chocolate retailer will be used to show how intelligent systems can learn about sensorial products.

11.55 - 12.15 Applications of Consumer Neuroscience
Understanding insights derived from direct cortical measurements
Tim Harvey, Senior Account Executive, Sands Research, USA

This presentation will focus on the Neurophysiological metrics that are obtained across a variety of research modalities. With global experience acquiring brain responses through EEG (electroencephalogram) and Eye-tracking, the presentation will highlight: How non-verbal Neurophysiological responses are captured; how the suite of metrics is used and what they mean; How to translate the suite of metrics into Actionable Recommendations (case study) and finally anecdotal findings from around the world

12.15 - 12.35 Discussion
12.35 - 13.30 Lunch
The Impact of Passive Methods
13.30 - 13.35 Introduction by seminar chair
13.35 - 13.55 Shopping for Shoes? French Women Do it Online
The role of online in the purchase journey and how this insight can deliver ROI
Arno Hummerston, Managing Director of Client Services, Nurago, UK

We will look at the women’s shoe category in France and explain how potential customers research their purchases, which are the key websites involved and why. Underpinning this is a closer look at how these consumers decide which brand to buy and where. Passive measurement provides the foundation for this insight by tracking actual behaviour and then uncovering the expectations, motivations and attitudes associated with this actual, observed activity.

13.55 - 14.15 Social Data
Using raw conversations to build smarter businesses
Jed Hallam, VCCP Share, UK

In the next five years business is likely to see the introduction of a new C-Suite member – the Chief Data Officer. With the rise of social technologies and media, the potential data that a business can utilise has exploded.
Jed Hallam will talk through the methods that VCCP Share uses to gather and understand consumer insights in a passive, raw way, in order to better inform brand and business strategies.

14.15 - 14.35 Doing research without asking questions
Sophie Van Neck , Research Manager, InSites Consulting, Belgium

Social media netnography makes use of publicly available user-generated content to answer a research question. Text analytics plays a prominent role in analysing the large amount of data resulting from the method and to see structure in what is out there. That user-generated content can be used in research to measure and track brands, gain patient or consumer insights and to evaluate products or campaigns. In this presentation we will show an example of how we applied text analytics using a bottom-up approach of looking at the data in order to gain consumer insights. The second case will be focused on how we applied data on social media to learn from a product launch and prioritise areas for further product development.

14.35 - 14.55 Discussion
14.55 - 15.35 Look and Feel - The Tools in Action

Different companies will demonstrate their passive method tools to give delegates a feel for what is available. This is a non-commercial demonstration so each presenter will be answering the following questions: What is the purpose of the tool and what are each tools constraints? They will also give an example/case study of the tool in action.

Confirmed demonstrations:

  • Facial coding = nViso
  • Audience measurement using mobile = Lumimobile
  • Eye tracking = Tobii
  • Audience online tracking = Wakoopa
15.35 - 16.00 Networking break
16.00 - 16.50 Panel discussion
Ethics and the Future of Passive Methods

A panel of experts debates the big questions around passive methods:

  • What is the researcher’s responsibility (i.e. the do's and don’ts and best practice) for these methods?
  • What are the legal concerns surrounding the tools?
  • What about respondent privacy?
  • Are these tools a growing phenomenon because they are cost effective....or are they now part of the standard?
  • There are tremendous amounts of data being collected, but can real insights be gleaned from it all?
  • Is it up to qualitative research to explain behaviour and passive tools to count it?
  • How can the data coming out of these methods be integrated?
Peter Laybourne, Chairman, Fathom International, UK

Adam Phillips, Managing Director, Real Research and Committee Chair of the ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee, UK
Bart Nauta, Managing Director, TNS-NIPO, Netherlands
Norbert Wirth, Global Head of Innovation and Digital, GfK CE, UK
Robert Bond, Head of Information Law Group, Speechly Bircham LLP, UK
Tom Wilms Manager Strategy, Media & Insights, Royal Grolsch N.V. a SABMiller Company, Netherlands
16.50 - 17.00 Closing
17.00 - 18.00 Farewell drinks

Advisors & speakers


Adam Phillips
Managing Director, Real Research and Committee Chair of the ESOMAR Professional Standards Committee