Ipsos Encyclopedia - Usage & Attitude Surveys (U&A)

Definition: A usage and attitude (U&A) study involves research which aims to 'understand a market' and identify growth opportunities by answering questions on whom to target, with what and how. This fundamental type of study is useful for identifying the linkages among usage behaviours and opinions.

Ipsos Encyclopedia - Usage & Attitude Surveys (U&A)

U&A's typically are done in a very customised way and, depending on the business objectives, generally include some or all of the following:

1) 'Market sizing' (e.g. category penetration, usage frequency, etc.) 

2) 'General category understanding' (e.g. who uses, what/when/where /how, category dissatisfactions, etc.) 

3) Understanding brands (brand penetration, brand perceptions, brand choice drivers, etc.)

4) Information for targeting (e.g. attitudinal or behavioural segmentations)

Ipsos Point Of View

U&As are useful in providing clients with a foundational understanding of the markets in which they operate. However U&A research can be plagued by a lack of actionability. Many U&A's suffer from one or more of the following issues :

  1. No precise definition of business objectives, i.e. no clear idea of how results of the U&A will be used once results are available.
  2. Because of lack of precise business objectives , U&A's can become inflexible 'mega surveys' which are slow and do not allow for incremental learning.
  3. Long non-engaging questionnaires  which erode the validity of the answers. Data quality is  a problem for surveys that go beyond the 25 minutes: satisficing responses increase, there is more cheating & skipping sections and respondents start perceiving it as too long. This is particularly problematic for categories with a large competitive set of products or services.
  4. Most U&A's collect information via standard surveys only. In particular, when it comes to 'behaviours', this approach has its limitations in terms of what people can remember; some information can only be collected accurately when measured in the moment  and/or via observation.

In view of the above, Ipsos has developed a new, more insightful,  approach for conducting U&A's which addresses the above issues and which integrates other sources of information besides survey data. Key features of the new approach are :

Insight focused

We work with the client to understand the specific application of the results (i.e. new market opportunity, competitive understanding, drivers of usage for branding campaign, etc.)

It uses a modular & flexible approach which allows for incremental decision making

In our new approach we don't start from a big mega survey. Rather, we use a modular and interactive approach. As such, insights come in incrementally and faster than with the traditional mega survey approach.

Increased validity of survey results by using mobile friendly - device agnostic surveys

  • The survey length is limited to a maximum of 15 mins, so we avoid the issues with long questionnaires described above
  • We survey respondents on the device they want, allowing both for interviews on a  mobile and PC.  As a result, we can now fully reach certain target audiences which are difficult to survey on PC only (e.g. young adults, mothers with babies, and ethnic groups).
  • Mobile phones allow us to gather information 'in the moment' and use pictures and videos to enrich the insights

Data agnostic  

  • We take advantage of unobtrusive data (social intelligence) and use pop-up communities
  • We use any other type of data that can bring the right insights (ethnography, Big data, etc.)

Use of targeted advanced analytics
Traditional U&A's are often only descriptive in nature. In our new U&A approach we use advanced analytics to unlock the best insights from the data. The analytics we used are targeted to answer specific business questions.

Below is an example of how such a modular approach can be deployed:

The Decision Funnel


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