In-depth interviews, or IDI’s, are a qualitative market research method that offers brands the unique opportunity to collect rich, insightful, and real data from a smaller, carefully selected group of participants. In-depth interviews utilize an open-ended, discovery-oriented data collection method where the researcher can more deeply explore a respondent’s feedback and thought processes. Researchers typically carry out in-depth interviews in-person; however, the COVID-19 pandemic has made virtual interviews the gold standard for obvious reasons. 

Researchers will use in-depth interviews in place of larger focus groups to gain feedback from niche groups or geographically diverse groups that make large focus groups too expensive or cumbersome. Additionally, IDI’s are used when there is a need for high-quality sampling, avoidance of peer pressure, honest and insightful responses, quick turn-around time, and lower costs, which we’ll go into greater detail about below. 

Higher Quality Sampling 

Market researchers should opt for in-depth interviews when they want to get feedback from particular groups of people. While random sampling is excellent for gaining a general consensus of your product or service, in-depth interviews allow you to hone in on a few particular groups. For example, with in-depth interviewing, you can target three groups: people who know about your product but haven’t tried it, people who have tried it but didn’t like it, and people who have tried it and liked it. The multi-faceted feedback will give your brand a clear path forward. 

In-depth Interviews Avoid Peer Pressure 

In group market research interviews, there can be a tendency for the participants to form the same opinions, a phenomenon knows as groupthink. As the natural human need for harmony and conformity kicks in, the result is less than insightful feedback. To avoid this psychological domino effect, researchers can select one-on-one in-depth interviews to ensure their peers do not influence interviewees.

Honest & Insightful Responses

Sometimes, when people are put into a group and asked questions, they begin to socially monitor their gestures, words, and opinions to avoid embarrassment. For example, in a market research session, a participant may have an unpopular opinion about a product or service but avoid saying so because they feel like an outlier. Researchers can utilize in-depth interviews to allow consumers to feel more comfortable and ready to open up to combat this. 

Virtual Interviews Are Quicker & More Cost-Effective

Market research isn’t cheap. When you consider the vetting process, participant incentives, documents, and data reporting, even the most modest market research project can be tens of thousands of dollars. To keep costs down, many companies prefer virtual interviews. Virtual interviews remove a lot of the overhead associated with in-person market research like building fees, snacks, and parking passes, etc. Additionally, in-depth virtual interviews allow researchers to interview fewer people in a shorter time-frame and, thus, produce reports more quickly as well.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has made online qualitative research necessary for participants’ and researchers’ health and safety.

For more information on emerging methodologies and how to bring your market research strategy into the new era, read more.