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Opportunities and Problems in Internet Marketing Research.

The Internet Marketing Research tool is a relatively new one that has been recently being used. Researchers need to know the opportunities and problems that can be faced using this tool. The three main themes that are to be discussed are survey design, sampling and field work.

Any research that is to be conducted is based on the objectives of the research. A survey design mainly consists of three components: 
  1. the objectives of the survey, 
  2. the sampling units, and 
  3. the data collection method. 

Objectives of the survey can be anything like to find out the consumer behavior through questionnaire, to find out how to use the internet as a marketing research tool, etc.  Questionnaire surveys can be done with internet and the advantage with it is data is automatically recorded. The other type of objective can be studying internet consumer behavior, etc.

There are different types of sampling units that could be used. They are web pages, websites and internet users. Based on the sampling units the objectives can be met for example by asking the questionnaires to internet users.  The third dimension is data collection method. Based on the objective appropriate data collection method has to be selected. The three different types of data collection methods are 
  • direct observation, 
  • a questionnaire and 
  • an experiment. 

The direct observation might be like observing the content of a website by the researchers or a sample of users.

Using questionnaires as a data collection method, there are four types of formats that could be used for internet questionnaire surveys. They are web-sites questionnaires, e-mail questionnaires, text formatted forms sent by e-mail as an attached file or downloadable text formatted form posted at a designed ftp which can be returned by mail or fax. Based on these three dimensions, eight designs may result from the combination of these.

Survey sampling problems are the most difficult problems that are to be faced by the researchers during the internet survey. Based on the nature of internet it is very difficult to select a sample and design a sample frame. The internet is a growing universe, sampling keeps changing and the results that we get at one point of time are not same at the other times. The generalization of results could be done only to certain extent.

Some of the other problems are defining the universe as internet is open and growing universe. Identifying the sampling frame could be another problem, as there are many research engines that can be used as sampling frame. Selecting a sampling procedure can be limited. Other problem is validation of results is difficult. One solution is to evaluate representatives of the frame. The other solution to these problems is using dynamic indicators and by surveying in several points of time.

Another important problem is the problem of non-coverage error in internet research. This creates limitation to the generalization of the survey results. Other important issue in the internet research is it is difficult to track the respondent. There is no control on who is the respondent when questionnaire is posted on the website. If the questionnaire is sent through mail then there is better control. It is also difficult to know the nationality, the culture, or the language of a site only by its URL address.

Some field problems are also there. Most important are format of the questionnaire, the use of research engines to obtain a frame and problems related to sampling units. Quality of the frame is not very good. The solution can be using representative and search engines to get a sample.

Internet is a very effective tool for marketing researchers. Apart from the problems using this, it does offer many opportunities too.


  1. Hello all,

    The internet marketing, also known as digital marketing, web marketing, online marketing, search marketing or e-marketing, is the marketing of products or services over the Internet. Internet marketing is considered to be broad in scope because it not only refers to marketing on the internet, but also includes marketing done via e-mail and wireless media. Thanks a lot!

    Online Focus Group

  2. The era of digital marketing has already been begun and it is a highly efficient process. Which will bring more profit for the business owners no matter how huge or tiny your business is? It works for all in a same way. Digital marketing


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