4 Common Insight Platform Challenges and How to Overcome Them

6 min readMay 11, 2022

Insight professionals use online insight platforms for data collection and data analytics. Every platform varies and each client is looking to customise and use a platform in a slightly different way to suit their business’ needs and allow them to meet their objectives.

However, there are commonalities between all needs, with insight professionals requiring a platform that is intuitive, easy and quick to use, allowing for correct sampling and the most appropriate methodology to be undertaken, and for the streamlining of data analysis and sharing of results within business. Challenges on platform selection are not uncommon, but if these challenges can be overcome, then vital data can be quickly and efficiently collected, and most importantly, this data can then be trusted. Here are four common areas where researchers often experience challenges in insight platforms.

1. Recruitment and Representative Samples

Recruitment is often the biggest hurdle in platform management. Ensuring that a representative sample of a businesses’ customer base are recruited to the platform is imperative. When recruiting from a customer list or CRM database, it is important for both researchers and stakeholders to ensure that the data is up-to-date and accurate; if we find any gaps in the demographic data then we can pose more screening questions upon recruitment too, as this will help ensure confidence in relation to the relevance of our sample.

Insight experts today have many qual research methods to choose from, each with their strengths and purpose; and the best way to choose is to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

When recruiting via a third party, it is essential that all recruits are verified and the correct information gained; again, screening these individuals during the recruitment process is key and if possible, also ask the recruiter or platform provider to provide additional checks or verification of these individuals (e.g., by IP address) to ensure they are from the location stated or to check that the individual is not someone who routinely joins panels to answer surveys just for the incentives!

Having a platform that holds recruited respondents in the in-house database means researchers and stakeholders can customise demographic data and segment according to project-specific data or more creative data rather than simply demographic. It also allows insight teams to scale the volume of respondents if necessary. Representation is crucial to ensure feedback is gained from the correct customer/non-customer group in research. Having the ability to select the correct targeted sample from the database for each piece of research and the ability to scale research is vital to gain, for example, a global representation from new customers in different locations. Check the platform’s sample selection process; easy criteria selection to gain the correct sample will save hours of work.

Some insight professionals recruit on an ad-hoc basis and although this can gain the results required, it is, at times, often slower and less agile than professionals who target their sample from an existing database. However, there are benefits to both approaches, therefore a platform that can allow for ad-hoc research requests, as well as housing a large scalable database will give the business the most options.

2. Retaining Engagement

Once a group of individuals are recruited to a platform, it takes time, effort, good management and organisation to keep them engaged and ready to undertake research. Too many insight professionals let management of their platform lag. Platforms that are not clear and directive to the user will inevitably have a lower engagement rate and an increase in unsubscribes, and thus, when a decisive research question arises from the business the expected response rates will not be guaranteed. Be consistent with language, make the signposts clear and simple for tasks and routes within the platform. The best way to do this is to emulate a user to see what they see, test things out, if links are confusing or the platform isn’t clear, then it is likely that a user will feel the same.

Schedule regular tasks on a platform to get users into the routine of checking and using the platform more consistently. People have taken time to help your business, take time to tell them how their voice is being heard. Retaining engagement on your platform will ensure you have greater response rates, and thus more robust research, in any future research questions posed.

3. Ease of use and Methodologies

As individuals use more advanced and intuitive technologies, it is fundamental to ensure the platform selected for research is compatible with desktop as well as laptop, mobile and tablet users. The techniques used to converse and connect with respondents through all methodologies needs to be accessible by all involved — researchers, respondents and stakeholders — especially if insight teams are looking to make sure they obtain high response rates.

When a research question is posed from the business, insight teams must determine the most appropriate method to gain the most robust results to influence key decisions. In many instances, companies use surveys as a default to all research questions, often as they only have access to a survey platform technology when alternative methodologies would be more suitable. Platforms are now able to provide and allow for the analysis of large-scale qualitative data as well as quantitative, so it is essential to select and use a platform that can cater for your business’ methodological requirements. Selecting a platform with lots of functionality and capability will likely allow other business functions to use the same technology, thus streamlining crucial processes.

4. Access

The final challenge faced by insight professionals is access to the platform. Now, many platforms charge based on number of client users, and although this can seem like a large output at the start of the contract, the value in having as many stakeholders as possible all use and understand the same platform is time-efficient and in the end cost-effective. Some platforms allow for different access rights among stakeholders and researchers, which has a multitude of benefits from data security and managing customer-stakeholder connection, to ensuring research is consistent.

There are four common platform challenges that insight teams face: recruitment, engagement, use and access, each with it’s own difficulties and solutions.

Many insight professionals use more than one platform, so it is important that data is stored and disseminated in a secure way, meaning decisions can be made in-the-moment and still allows for the same data to be accessed in the future. In addition, allowing multiple users to have access to the research data can assist with business decision making on various levels, some of which may not have been imagined in the original brief. Choose a platform that allows access to be maximised to ‘super admins’ and also controlled for security purposes. The dissemination of data increases reach and thus insights empowerment across the business provides cost efficiencies.

Many insight teams have an analytical background and preferred specific analysis programmes, but can these programmes work with the data stored securely on the research platform itself? It’s crucial that data be retained, accessed and revisited, therefore the tools already in use need to be taken into account when choosing the right research platform for you.

For access purposes, the platform should be able to collect, analyse and disseminate data within one place without the need to download vast amounts of data, which allows multiple stakeholder teams to work on the same data at the same time without altering the data or impacting each other.

Those who have had experience working on insight platforms will know that each platform has its own challenges, but by selecting the most appropriate platform allows for an increase in value, for processes to be streamlined and scaled, which will give the business the most flexibility to expand in the future.

This blog was originally published on the FlexMR Insights Blog, and can be accessed here.




FlexMR is The Insights Empowerment Company. We help brands to act decisively, stay close to customers and embed agile insight at the heart of every decision.