person Guy Potter access_time March 7, 2019

Instant Surveys for the Changing News Agenda

In an age of real time news and instant reaction, gauging and measuring public opinion has never been more important. No sooner has something hit the public consciousness than some other, shinier thing has come along to knock it off the news agenda. Rinse and repeat.

And, in an age of social media where stories go viral and disappear in the blink of an eye, separating the signal from the noise is no easy task. At the same time, the tools and resources available to clients have evolved hugely in the past few years, with online tools in particular now forming the foundation of many projects.

Agile insights

This fast-moving blizzard of information can leave some businesses blind when it comes to gauging feedback from customers. Traditional models of gathering feedback are beginning to look increasingly unwieldy and unresponsive in the era of social media. Just in the same way that consumer products have to be tested and modified quickly, research providers must also move towards a more agile model.

More haste, less speed

Reflecting and gathering opinion in such a fast paced and volatile environment is no easy task. Clients or board-members increasingly expect instant feedback – and they expect it at a price that won’t break the bank. That growing demand is in large part responsible for the rise in online technology and big data.

There has been a perception in the past that what instant surveys gain in speed they lose in accuracy and quality of results, but in fact the opposite is true.

Just in the same way that consumers are demanding instant feedback on everything from spending to fitness, users of research must also deliver results faster, and with greater accuracy.

And the benefit of instant survey is the opportunity to quickly modify and improve research, crafting and tweaking each iteration according to your client or business needs, as well the fast-changing news agenda.

In the same way that e-commerce can substantially reduce costs for retailers, online agile surveys are far more cost effective than traditional methods.


Offering a self-service-style of customer interaction, puts the power and control back into your hands or the hands of the client. The need to go through time-consuming consultation and sign off can act as a real drag on the timeliness of the survey.

And if that happens, there is a danger that the research cycle is extended and slowed down. As a result, this approach can lead to ‘over research’, where the longer project cycles and higher investment produce greater volumes of data but less in the way of rapidly actionable insight.

But instant surveys not only deliver insight faster, they can also produce smarter results too. With you in the driving seat, research insight can be designed to suit whatever specific needs the project demands. That may include short form insight delivered via a dashboard. And this ‘snackable’ insight can represent a real competitive advantage when used in the right ways.

The speed at which the news and social media changes means that PR and Marketers need to keep up with the pace in order to respond to client and business needs. Of course, we all want everything to be done right and well, but it is a case of more haste, less speed.

Agile research gives you the tools to react quickly and effectively. If you need Brexit opinion in the morning and even more Brexit opinion in the afternoon, you can get this covered in minutes, and stay ahead of the competition.

Guy Potter is maru / usurv's head of research and clients.
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