Telling Consumer Stories with Personal, High-Impact Videos

Jul 18, 2019

When respondents in your research studies answer questions, does the potential of flat responses occasionally give you pause? If you think you might be missing a certain tone, some subtle humor, a smile or a frown that would give more context and depth to the feedback you’re gathering, you might just need to add qualitative videos to your research methods.

One of the best gifts we have as humans is the ability to read emotions and body language, to pick up on notes of sarcasm, disappointment, or delight in a person’s voice and facial expressions. It gives us insight into who we’re talking to.

In market research, consumer insights are everything, and we’re always trying to dig a little deeper to get to the underlying truth of what makes a customer tick. And while traditional surveys and focus groups go a long way toward revealing those insights, they don’t quite facilitate the authenticity that video can.

Through our partnership with video insight platform Voxpopme, we recognize that achieving a deeper level of consumer understanding can be uniquely gained through the medium of video. And because product innovation and problem-solving are largely dependent on a holistic understanding of consumers, video can be used as a powerful tool to portray consumer behaviors and preferences that can help inspire new products and solutions.

Why video?

Today, everything we do is media-driven. It’s fast, responsive, and engaging. And very little is text-based anymore. So it’s no surprise that social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have seen several billion video uploads this year alone.

Because video is how we readily absorb and share information these days, many consumers have developed a comfort level with giving feedback in front of a camera. Video encourages consumers to speak naturally and honestly, and to convey genuine emotions, feelings, and opinions. 

Beyond the consumer, video offers some important opportunities for researchers and organizations as well:

1. Humanize consumer experiences

As the world evolves to embrace video, so must market research. Today, video can be used as an agile qualitative tool that gives a more nuanced understanding of a research category or problem you’re trying to solve. It captures the “why” — the most personal, human aspects — of consumer responses.

Video enables you to:

  • Observe consumers on their turf. When consumers take videos of themselves in their own homes, or walking the aisles, you can see for yourself their thought processes and decisions. You learn what they like or don’t like about a product or experience — in their own words and in the comfort of their everyday surroundings or routines.
  • Accurately understand tone. There’s a big difference between reading “That’s funny” and watching a respondent say it with a smile and a belly laugh. Video both removes the researcher bias that can creep in and reveals sentimental nuance, which is easily missed when you’re only capturing text responses. 
  • Get a reality check. Authentic, personal responses via video help you more easily determine if your customer personas and segments are on the right track or if you need to rethink them. You can quickly verify if consumers are giving the feedback you expected, or uncover some important “wow” moments you hadn’t considered before.
  • Impress your stakeholders. Fifty-nine percent of executives would rather watch a video than read an article. Because even those in positions of leadership are swayed by video over text, it’s important to pique their attention with relevant and engaging consumer videos to help inform their decision-making.

2. Get personal

When you include a text open end in a study, you may get a straightforward response of five to eight words that isn’t particularly personal. But when you incorporate a video element, you’re able to build upon the contextual and emotional aspects of the responses, allowing you to uncover secondary and tertiary themes. Instead of “I like it because it’s good,” you may get “I like it because it reminds me of my childhood and my kids really like it, too.” 

With video, you’re able to add qualitative methods into your quantitative research to get to the heart of the story. In turn, respondents are able to open up and reveal much more about their personal lives and why they may or may not recommend a product, giving you important quotes that help you clearly understand why your customers are making certain choices so you know what to focus on or how to solve a problem. 

3. Gain insights quickly

Traditional research takes longer than today’s fast-paced business world can accommodate. But producing consumer videos takes less time and expense and incurs fewer hurdles than typical research, allowing you to capture a more representative audience without having to travel to talk to people or bring an audience together into one location. Consumer-driven videos also make it easy to get feedback on additional concepts quickly, enabling speedier decision-making overall. 

When time is a factor, video allows you to:

  • Begin fielding responses hours after project approval, rather than days or weeks.
  • Launch a fast and affordable study, compared to traditional focus groups or other qualitative research.
  • Remove geographic or other recruiting limitations.
  • Take an iterative approach, enabling you to address more business questions faster over time.

How video tools work

Producing compelling consumer videos is the best way to engage and build excitement with stakeholders, be it an agency or the top brass within your organization. But when speaking with multiple consumers, it’s difficult to build empathy and consensus, to really capture the elements in the room and unify them into something that is super easy to share or gets to the point quickly. 

Highlight reels pull together the best quotes from key themes, sentiments, or audience groups that tell a story in a way that no data point or chart can do, and can be delivered in a compact, stakeholder-ready report.

The video platform aggregates responses collected from all videos and sorts them into themes and sentiments. Videos are parsed to get to the clips that are the most engaging or the most relevant to what you’re looking for. For example, if your question to respondents was “How would you improve our packaging?”, video analysis might identify a theme, say, around plastic and quickly sort all the clips that have to do with respondents’ feelings toward plastic. The tools then splice and assemble those clips to create a highlight reel for you, without the hours of time typically needed for video editing. 

The Voxpopme video platform:

  • Automatically identifies, analyzes, and ranks key themes that come out of the video study
  • Allows you to further explore certain sentiments and specific themes 
  • Assembles clips with impactful sound bites into a highlight reel for telling a story

Before your video study launches, you also get help identifying the key objectives for your video questions, as well as with crafting the questions themselves to ensure maximum respondent engagement. After the videos come in, analysis is expedited and the study capped off with a stakeholder report.

Video use cases

Using consumer videos to reach deeper insights is ideal in a few different use cases:

1. Exploratory questions

How you craft questions is foundational to the quality of the responses you get back. Exploratory questions are projective exercises to understand respondents’ feelings, attitudes, and beliefs that help you get to the insights that don’t leap off the page when you’re asking direct questions.


  • If you had to describe ________ in three words to a friend, what would you say and why?
  • Describe _________ as a superhero; what are its powers?
  • If you could do one thing to improve ________, what would you do and why?

2. Video activities

Understanding product usage and shopping experiences in real-life scenarios is invaluable to getting the first-person point of view of your respondents. Video activities ask respondents to complete a task in their own environment.


  • Show us your pantry; what is your favorite product and why?
  • Go to the store and take a video of the ________ aisle; tell us what stands out to you and why.
  • Take a video showing us how you use _______; tell us what you like or dislike.

3. Concept testing / creative feedback

By giving initial feedback on concepts or creative, respondents point the way toward refinement and optimization of those concepts, helping to dispel internal brand disagreements. Video concept testing asks respondents to review, react, and provide feedback on concepts or ads.


  • Tell us about your initial impressions of this idea; what things do you like or dislike?
  • Tell us three words that come to mind when you see this ad; why did you choose those words?
  • Pretend you were telling your friend about this product; how would you describe it to them?

Best practices

The tendency with video is for researchers to ask every question they can think of. But as with other forms of feedback, consumers can experience fatigue and dropoff if they’re overloaded with too many questions or have to spend too much time on it — in this case, taking the actual video and then uploading it. The key instead is to focus on the questions that will get you the most value from the video.


  • Keeping each study to just a few focused videos in order to minimize respondent fatigue and dropoff.
  • Asking short and direct questions to keep responses on-topic, and to improve the upload speed for respondents.
  • Providing simple, specific activities with clear instructions; rather than “Give me a tour of your kitchen,” you could ask “Show me your favorite kitchen appliance and tell me why you love it.”

Tapping into the unique power of video

Consumers are constantly telling us how they feel: through comment boxes, phone calls, social media posts, and yes, even in surveys and focus groups. But where consumer feedback really comes alive is in the form of personal videos that shed light on and bring color to real-life attitudes, perceptions, preferences, and evolving behaviors — with the genuine tone, emotion, and expression that makes your customers human. 

As video continues to dominate the media sphere, market research can tap into the trend and receive a wealth of competitive and constructive insight that tells a compelling story.

To learn more about how to use video for more effective storytelling, watch the full webinar.

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