The Disadvantages of Internet Marketing Research

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Internet surveys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Companies can collect information quickly, and consumers can fill out information at their leisure. However, there are certain inherent disadvantages of Internet marketing research.

Companies sometimes discount online surveys as a primary source of data collection, because of these disadvantages. Instead, companies may prefer to use other marketing research methods, like phone surveys and personal interviews.

Lack of Target Audience Representation

Companies that use Internet surveys never know who will fill them out. Consequently, there may be a lack of target audience representation in the online survey, according to WestGroup Research. For example, a discount women's' clothing company may primarily sell to women ages 18 to 35, with annual incomes under £19,500. However, older women with higher incomes may be the predominant survey respondents, and the reason may be that fewer lower income women own computers. Additionally, surveys that are too general may be answered by non-customer website visitors, rather than the desired respondents, purchasing customers.

Not Random

Internet research is not always random. In other words, all customers don't have an equal chance of being represented in an Internet survey . For example, phone researchers may call every fourth person on a customer list during a survey, giving each customer an equal chance of being included in the survey. By contrast, Internet survey responses can occur quickly and haphazardly. Sometimes a company reaches its survey quota in just a few hours.

Technical Problems

Technical problems can interfere with respondents filling out online surveys, unlike phone or face-to-face interviews. For example, a respondent's computer screen may freeze while she's filling out the questionnaire, or a storm may interfere with her Internet service. Consequently, she may not be able to complete her Internet survey. Another concern for the company that ordered the research is that many Internet surveys don't filter out double entries. As a result, the researchers may need to assign a special ID number to each respondent. A special ID will allow a respondent to fill out the questionnaire only once.

Limited Number of Questions

Internet questionnaires are often short and simple because a company's technological know-how may be too limited for more complex surveys. Respondents may also lose interest in Internet questionnaires and quit them before they're completed. Since most Internet surveys are introduced through pop-ups, which can be annoying for customers, they may rush through the pop-up survey just to get to the information on the company's website.