Netnografica’s technique of netnography combines the vast scope of big data analysis with the embedded emotional insights of focus groups. It starts out with a big data, search-fuelled type of examination of a broad range of social conversations, interactions, connections, and experiences. But then, it examines them closely using the approach of netnography.

Netnography is a qualitative and empathic research methodology that adapts ethnographic research techniques from anthropology to deeply immerse managers in online consumer interactions and experiences

Netnography relies on technology search combined with highly-skilled interpretation of online and offline cultures and communities. Although it begins with a broad, software-assisted overview of relevant online space, it rapidly begins to describe and define particular areas that can be subject to the “Deep Dives” of cultural anthropology. Netnography also frequently involves detailed personal interviews with people involved in relevant online areas, such as influential bloggers or message posters.

The distinctive advantage of netnography over other forms of social media listening is that it offers a more contextualized and nuanced understanding. Because it is a qualitative technique, it provides consumers’ rich stories, cultural connections, rituals, insider language, terminology, pain points, and key visual images in a way that statistically-based systems of understanding cannot. Because it is an online technique that leverages masses of digital data, it provides a far broader sample than techniques such as focus groups or interviews. Using visual and audiovisual information as well as texts, often supplemented by personal participation and interviews, it offers a detailed cultural and personal understanding that unobtrusively brings people’s online and often offline behavior to life in a way never before possible.

Insights to inform marketing strategy and product development

Netnography offers a powerful new toolkit to help companies brand, communicate, and profit using social media.

  • Brand perceptions—Brand perceptions are shaped by functional, social, and emotional experiences that the customer share online through “social brand engagement”—easily read by netnography.

  • Brand positioning and repositioning—Establishing or shifting the target market’s perception of the product’s key benefits and features, relative to competitive offerings is often a key goal of managers; leveraging the rich insights coming from netnography are key assets that can make the difference between failure and success

  • Segmentation studies—Dividing markets into similar sets of customers, and designing strategies to target their common needs, interests, and priorities; both can be powerfully activated by the rich cultural insights of netnography, which offers new ways to group and communicate to consumers

  • New product development and innovation—Netnography has a strong history of being used to develop successful new products and services, as well as guiding the modification existing products to eliminate pain points or offer additional levels of customer delight.

  • Trend identification—Netnography is a cutting-edge tool for understanding today’s changing marketplace and customers, and gaining an understanding of tomorrow’s trends today.

  • New service models for co-creation of value—Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, sharing, lead users, and other forms of new collaboration between producers and users are evolving to generate value for customers and to produce co-created innovation; netnography has a strong history of being on the cutting edge of detecting and helping to guide initiative in collaborative value creation.

  • Social media strategy—Digitally native, netnography is a powerful way to guide the use of social platforms to effectively increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.

  • Brand activation—Netnography helps build informed strategy and activate it through digital and other tactics; the resulting insights are used to drive consumer action and build emotional connections through brand interactions and experiences.