Probably the most important impact of the internet on marketing research is that it has taken it from the realm of academic studies, with set subject pools and reliably serious experimental conditions, into the realm of real life, with people interacting with one another on the level of regular day-to-day interactions. While it is clearly possible to still apply controlled, scripted situations to marketing research, the more effective way is to find methods of collecting and evaluating data collected in the more natural environment of virtual interactions.
In some ways, this makes marketing research harder, as new techniques must be developed, and as with many new innovations, there is a large ratio of failure to be expected. In other ways, however, this makes marketing research easier, particularly because, thanks to such developments like social networking sites, gathering the necessary data for marketing research has almost become 'one-stop shopping'. Marketing researchers are now able, with a fairly large degree of accuracy, to gather enough information to determine how successful a product or service is going to be, who are the existing and potential future competitors, how long the various levels of market demand will last , what the best distribution channels will be, what type of an advertising campaign will be most effective, how big an advertising budget to allocate to each particular product launch, and what the next step is going to be in terms of either phasing out the product or service or changing / enhancing it to maintain demand.
The Internet also allows marketing research to proceed along the partial implementation of the actual marketing campaigns by creating various low-cost advertising options. For example, while creating a YouTube ad is one step in a marketing research effort, driving viewers to the ad is another matter. Without one has a very wide social network to which an e-mail can be sent informing them of the ad creation, the low-cost way to have people view the ad in large numbers is by utilizing pay search engines or pay-per-view (or pay-per-click) advertising websites. There is even a way to reduce message dilution if one is willing to pay a little more for a targeted audience based on the demographic information that some of the advertising sites. Even without it, however, there is an excellent chance to ensure thousands of views for one's ad while spending a very small fraction of what it would cost to purchase the cheapest broadcast media advertisement. The response from such a method may be minuscule, but since the expenses are so low, the actual ROI can potentially be higher than that of a TV ad, for example.
The advantage of such a method, however, is not in the low cost of running an ad with an Internet advertising company, but rather in the long-term benefits acquiring a large number of views offers. Firstly, through the functionality specific to YouTube but also available on other social networking sites, an ad with a drastically increased number of views …