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With market research that is agile increasing and a growing trend toward research methods which can be utilized remotely, the demand for Online Bulletin Boards (OBBs) has grown exponentially in 2022. Learn more about the ways you can use OBBs to gain valuable insights from your respondents as well as how VocalViews can assist you in integrating them in your market research process now.

What is an OBB?

The online bulletin board (OBB) study is a method of qualitative research which gathers a virtual gathering of participants as well as an moderator to gain information on subjects of importance through an interactive discussion.

OBB is typically held for a few days, during which the participants will dip into and out of the group when their schedule allows. It’s a space for moderators and participants to engage and discuss diverse topics over longer periods of time. Members are encouraged to develop thoughts, share their opinions, and comment on opinions in the best way they can, and are frequently asked to provide additional material by way of media files to clarify their ideas. This will help in further discussions with the moderator and within the group when the content is shared. The OBB might begin with a group discussion, and then split into one-on-one conversations as research develops.

The most common activities and participation involve:

  • Discussions in groups
  • Diary-related activities
  • Uploads of media (e.g. videos, photos, web clippings)
  • 1-on-1 conversations between the participant and moderator

What is the process of building OBB groups?

Bulletin boards operate via an online platform. They typically comprise between 10 and 20 people, although there is no limit on the number of participants. Groups may be comprised of individuals who fall within an array of demographics, like people aged 18-65 that reside in the UK or more specific, like B2B decision-makers aged 25 to 65 in the financial sector who utilize a specific enterprise software or parents with children aged 12-15 that purchase teens’ trousers at least every 3 months.

The majority of clients hire their candidates from existing customers list or prospective lists. In addition, recruitment may be contracted out to an agency that is specialized like VocalViews who have access to a wider range of candidates and is able to sort them out to find those that meet the client’s exact specifications.

What are the benefits of OBBs?

OBBs allow executives, researchers or developers to take decisions about strategies or the next steps for research, in a quick and cost-effective way. In just a few days, customers can get first insights on subjects that interest them, enabling them to take decisions and plan their next steps quicker than traditional methods of research. Additionally, there is more privacy among the participants in OBB. OBB which makes it particularly beneficial when discussing sensitive topics.

Benefits to OBBs:

  • Cost-effective
  • Many activities and discussion styles to pick from
  • Engaging and interactive for participants, leading to greater depth and deeper understanding
  • Participation is flexible Participation is flexible – participants can participate from any location at any time
  • Offers insight in real-time (this is particularly useful with the increasing use of rapid research within the Market Research field)
  • Provides greater anonymity than traditional research in-person

What should you consider when selecting an OBB platform?

The past five years saw an increase in the variety of OBB software platforms, which could make the choice of platform to choose or which licence to purchase more challenging. Here are a few of the most crucial aspects to take into consideration when making your choice:

Does your platform allow users to login and participate on a mobile device? The ability to access the platform using the mobile phone is extremely significant, as the majority of users are using tablets and smartphones for a large portion of their internet-based interactions. It is equally important that for mobile users to experience, the platform is user-friendly.

Can it be accessed via both a web browser and app? While mobile phone apps are incredibly popular, it’s beneficial when the platform is “device independent’ and is used with regular web browsers, as well. Platforms accessible through apps usually are not secure and drain batteries of the users more and can limit participation.

Are there adequate security measures implemented? Since the GDPR is now in effect, security must be the top priority when selecting the right platform. To protect your privacy in your communities of insight, it is recommended to look for platforms that offer SSL encryption and password security as well as respondent privacy for tasks that must remain private, as well as notifications to inform respondents what tasks can be viewed by others in the community.

Does the platform allow users to review and/or delete content after it’s been published? The option for each individual user to review, edit or delete content they’ve posted is essential as they could modify their opinion regarding what’s published. Lacking the option to edit or remove content can make it difficult for people to participate.

Does processing and accessing files via the platform simple? It is important to think about the context and the format of the files that are being processed or uploaded, and if they’re compatible with other applications employed. Problems with processing files can slow the synthesis of information by your team, create delays in the field, and even hinder participation.

Does the system you are using simple to use? It’s an easy question, and you need to consider whether using and navigating the platform is easy and is easy to use. If not then you might want to consider rethinking your decision.

How VocalViews can assist

  • VocalViews can meet a variety of your OBB requirements, and it can run an qualitative study from beginning to end, such as:
  • Tips on the most appropriate OBB platform including our own online video platform.
  • Participant selection
  • Discussion guide development
  • Management of projects
  • Expertly supervised moderation of OBBs in all important languages
  • Incentive handling
  • Analysis and reporting

Contact us today to discuss what we can do to assist to meet your OBB research requirements.