4 ways AI will change the insights industry and improve the lives of researchers

1 August 2023 | 4 min read | Written by Andrew Reid

The market research, data analytics and insights space is set to benefit greatly from the AI revolution. Our space is generating fresh first-party data regularly. AI can help us design, implement, analyze, and action research at a blistering pace. This constant flow of data on consumer attitudes and opinions can fuel generative AI.

At Rival, we started a journey five years ago to build a mobile-first, conversational insights platform because we believed the market research industry needed to evolve and adapt to the changes in consumer behaviors. (If we can't get people to participate, we don't have an industry.) When ChatGPT was released, it caught our attention early because, just like the Rival platform, it is conversational in nature.

Like many tech companies today, we consider AI a core part of our strategy. Our early experiments with AI have shown great promise in the potential of integrating conversational, mobile, and AI technologies to help improve the day-to-day lives of market researchers and drive better business outcomes. 

I recently attended the 2023 Quirk’s Event in New York, where I’ve seen firsthand how bullish researchers are about the power of AI. Sessions that had AI in their titles were packed.

While the excitement for AI is encouraging, I think it’s important that we refrain from mindlessly investing in AI simply because of the buzz. The number of market research data collection platforms now claiming to be AI-powered is challenging to decipher. As with any technology disruptor in the past, companies must evaluate how new technologies can empower them to address their customers' most critical problems.

I see AI making immediate impact on four key areas, all of which also happen to align with Rival’s four core brand promises: Engage, Understand, Optimize, and Inspire.  

Engage: Improve the participant experience with AI

During the Quirk's Event, there was significant discussion about the increasing relevance of human centricity in the new AI era. Ironically, researchers are still using traditional research methods—which are robotic, too clinical and too formal—to gather consumer insights. As a result, our industry continues to experience declining engagement and reconnection rates.

Participants are not robots. They want to share their ideas and engage in conversations with brands, just as they do with friends, family, and ChatGPT. :-)

The combination of AI with a conversational approach and text technology drives innovation in areas such as intelligent follow-up questions, copy refinement, and tone adjustment.

By adopting a different approach to engaging with your consumers, you’ll see improved response rates, foster lasting relationships, and create a positive impact on your brand experience.

Understand: Combine the power of AI and mobile tech to uncover deeper insights

A major concern in the industry is ensuring that real people respond to our surveys instead of bots. Ensuring confidence in the insights we generate will continue to be a priority in the coming years.

Using mobile and its native capabilities like text and video provides an additional layer of validation, ensuring that insights come from real people. Videos capture deeper insights and sentiment, and research-on-research studies show they provide 700x more words than responses captured in open-ended responses. When a face is attached to unstructured data, the authenticity of the response can be validated.

I acknowledge that we can create AI avatars that look like people, but I feel like we’re still a few years away from that issue becoming a real problem in research.

Optimize: Reduce repetitive tasks and get initial ideas with AI

The question of whether AI will replace researchers is a valid concern for many insight professionals, as they contemplate its impact on their jobs and continued existence. One thing is certain though—we will need to embrace AI and adapt to it.

Researchers face daily challenges, including managing frequent changes in priorities, handling an overwhelming number of projects, and meeting constant demands for quick responses to business questions. It's a lot, and there's increasing pressure for research teams to do more with less. 

What if researchers had an assistant to optimize their repetitive tasks and provide initial ideas? AI will significantly impact this area, empowering researchers to utilize their human intelligence, apply critical thinking and industry best practices, and focus on generating recommendations for the rest of the business.

Inspire: Increase speed to insight with AI

As we get more customer feedback and data, it becomes more challenging and time-consuming to interpret the insights comprehensively.

Researchers require the capability to summarize and present stakeholders with a narrative that enables actionable insights and enhances business outcomes. Also, timeliness is crucial to its relevance.

AI plays a significant role here as it can compile findings from multiple sources, analyze trends and sentiments, and summarize them rapidly.

At Rival, we call it speed to insight and innovation. Test assumptions quickly, iterate rapidly, and launch promptly—inspiring the right actions within your organization with speed.

AI innovations for market researchers

I'm excited to see the future and how Rival customers will keep innovating with conversational and AI-enabled use cases in a mobile world.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be rolling out some exciting AI integrations and new capabilities to our insights platform, including:

  • Tone refinement to match the survey context up to the research participant
  • The ability to quickly summarize your research with various types of outputs
  • Open-ended probing on both text and video open ends
  • Auto image generation

And we have about ten other exciting integrations we can't talk about yet. 😉 Subscribe to our newsletter if you want to get notifications about these capabilities. 

I look forward to attending Quirk’s New York next year and see our industry’s progress in pushing forward AI.

P.S. The image in this blog post is what Midjourney’s AI came up with when I asked for a market researcher from the future. Who knew we were so cool!

author image
Written by Andrew Reid

Andrew Reid is the founder and CEO of Rival Technologies, the pioneer and leader in conversational market research technology. He is also the founder of Alida, formerly called Vision Critical.

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