Young worlds are constantly changing, making it tricky to predict children’s future content needs. Kids becoming device natives, VOD services eroding traditional channel audiences, and the globalization of brands – among other rapid developments – have all initiated major upheavals in this space. At Hook Research, we are constantly adopting new youth research methodologies to better understand how to help our clients create the next blockbuster product in their field.
Qualitative Research within New Youth Research Methodologies
As qualitative researchers, the fundamental areas we need to explore have not changed. These can be roughly categorised in 3 areas:
- What gets kids excited about new content and ideas?
- What do kids worlds look like, and how can creators tap into this?
- Which narratives will carry most relevance cross-market?
However, the way we look at these fundamental questions is undergoing exciting and seismic changes as traditional face-to-face work is increasingly being augmented by new methodologies.
Innovative Measurement Tools
Observing kids watching new shows used to be the best method of seeing when kids laughed, paid attention or turned off. While useful, it was hard to monitor the reactions of bigger groups, and to be sure that research was getting an accurate take on engagement. Technology is increasingly solving that problem, letting us measure facial response and sub-conscious emotional reactions to content through the use of in-built cameras. Knowing where interest spikes (or dips), gives us a better indication of which plot points, characters, or scenarios to focus on in our research.
Technologically Powered Insight
Up to now, children have responded to questioning via an online research panel with written answers and photos. But as stimulus becomes more interactive, and connected devices are becoming faster and cheaper, it is becoming easier for device-literate kids to respond to panel questions with their own sound and video files. These powered-up pieces of content allow us to generate more well-rounded analysis, leading in turn to richer insight.
Building New Narratives
As researchers, however, we need to think about engaging creators beyond panel insights: Creating private groups, setting tasks and co-ordinating respondents are just the tip of the iceberg. We need to think creatively about utilizing mainstream social networks – using these ready access networks to build compelling research plans around layered audiences (involving kids, parents, friends, and teachers) – if we truly wish to understand the impact of our findings cross-market.
Constantly evolving our approaches to new youth research – iterating them within our powerful 4D Methodology – helps us remain relevant in a dynamic digital world. We’re also constantly engaging with the wider research community, hosting panel discussions and creating dialogues around this ever-shifting space. Our results so far have been impressive, reinforcing the importance of qualitative research in a content creator’s armoury. But there is no room for complacency.
In a world of continuous change our challenge is to seek, identify and utilise new contexts in which research can happen, where kids feel comfortable and where we can fully exploit our craft skills – that is posing questions that matter, and providing analysis and insights that truly guide rich development in our industries.