Staff Writer
Jun 19, 2018

Nielsen digs deep for digital consumer insight

Accelerating Digital Transformation event offers a grandstand for developments in user experience and future-proofed research technology.

Attendees get familiar with the tech on display at the ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation’ event in Hong Kong.
Attendees get familiar with the tech on display at the ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation’ event in Hong Kong.
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Marketers have traditionally regarded the survey-based research approach as the ‘golden standard’ when it comes to consumer insight. Although it has made up the lion’s share of what we’d like to consider consumer intelligence for so many years, it’s now time to start looking towards new avenues for both engaging with and gleaning understanding from consumers.

“I think the challenge here is really to go further than what we’ve seen, going beyond survey-based research,” says Ankush Samant, eXellerator Innovation Lab, Standard Chartered Hong Kong. “Surveys tell you what percentage of consumers are doing what, but they don’t tell you why they’re doing something,”

It might be useful to consider the more traditional approach to audience measurement akin to dated social media techniques—hard-sell ads, wayward influencer tagging and plainly automated messages. While you’re grabbing eyeballs, your product or service is also instantly stamped as static and out-of-date. No one wants to be a throw-away brand, that’s why social media has evolved to incorporate engaging, useful and educational content, and it’s also why those that truly want to make use of data are taking a more nuanced approach to research, supported by bleeding-edge technology.

“When we try to analyse user behaviour these days, there’s just so much diversity,” says Peter Poon, managing director of Carlsberg, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. “When you look at the old days of traditional research, it’s just not good enough. We now need to have occasion-driven social learning and an online community. That’s where you need to look to find real insight for consumers.”

At the recent ‘Accelerating Digital Transformation’ event in Hong Kong, Nielsen laid this insight bare.

Accelerating Digital Transformation panellists (from left to right) Robert Sawatzky, head of content, Campaign Asia-Pacific; Christopher Chang, general manager, loyal operations, Reward-U, Hong Kong Express; Ankush Samant, eXellerator Innovation Lab, Standard Chartered Hong Kong; Peter Poon, managing director of Carlsberg, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan; and Michael Lee, managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau.

Nielsen has long been sitting firmly at the centre of the digital data sphere, and their recent advancements place them in a unique leadership position to fuse science with insight, providing hard numbers coupled with more emotional-based interpretation methods.

On display at the event were several product-experience booths providing hands-on introductions to Nielsen's disruptive breakthroughs in AR, video capture, VR eye-tracking, and more. The proprietary tech is making feedback collection fun, entertaining and participatory for audiences, a notable departure from the aforementioned survey-based research methods of years past. These new developments integrate image and video analysis into user feedback to form a much more nuanced, revelatory approach to research.

Nielsen’s Smart Tracker, a solution which Mandy Tam, senior director of Nielsen Hong Kong, tagged as “transforming the traditional shopping environment into a smart retail space.” The Smart Tracker uses digitised passive path tracking and on-premise crowd sourcing to provide direction for retail performance, including shopper experience enhancement and the integration of membership programs.

Mandy Tam, senior director, Nielsen Hong Kong

The Smart Tracker is part of a much larger suite products that ultimately seek to, in the words of Jacqueline Lew, senior director, brand health product development, growth and emerging markets at Nielsen, “provide a holistic view of your digital effectiveness.”

While it may appear to be a tall order for brands yet to fully immerse themselves in the field, these new developments are crucial for those looking to prep their audience insight standards for the years ahead.

Michael Lee, managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong and Macau, paints a picture of the obstacles afoot, and the way forward, “Data sets are getting bigger and bigger, more and more complicated, and what we’re trying to do is create one platform where clients can go to fully understand their data. So you don’t have to go through multiple partners to get the insight you need.” He went on, “One thing I do want to stress is if you haven’t got something in place right now for measuring data. You better start now.”

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