Small data: the value of limited research

The value of challenging your new business ventures with real research cannot be overstated – but how much in depth research is really needed?

In advertising a whole “insights” industry has emerged to give clients confidence in their new products and new campaigns. With a wealth of data to back your decisions, how could anything go wrong? Right…!

At Channelzero we believe in testing, but not to the extent of paralysis by analysis.

A 1990’s study by Jakob Neilsen aimed to find exactly how many research interviews are required to get the insights you need. The answer may surprise you...It’s only 5

Nielsen plotted how many insights were discovered after 10, 20, 50 and 100 interviews. Nielsen discovered that 85% of insights are discovered after just 5 interviews, after which the same insights were repeated. Testing more people didn’t lead to more insights, just a lot more work! Plus consider the ROI – it drops like a rock. The extra time taken to get the additional insights aren’t worth it – you are better off to address the feedback and test again.

Turns out the small data is beautiful.

Or as the mighty Winston Churchill put it “Beware. Some individuals use statistics as a drunk man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than illumination”

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