Editor's note: Michael Schiessl is CEO of research firm Eye Square. Philipp Reiter is the company’s COO. Jan-Philipp Görtz a content advisor for Eye Square. Jeff Bander is Eye Square’s head of U.S. 

In the first half of the 20th century, still dominated by Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, it seemed sufficient in market and other social research to simply ask people’s opinions in order to find out what their actions would be. The time of this “explicit” research (or System 2) was one of print ads, billboards, posters and newspapers, which in the interwar period added the cinema and radio (broadcast and advertisement). It was a brave old world of “rational thinking,” analogue technology to go with conventional, black-and-white pictures with some radio sounds. Print media especially have an almost captive audience, as the process of reading words from analogous media requires active participation and limits readers’ ability to digress.

This Gutenberg universe was subsumed by television in the 1960s. TV integrates visual and audio information into one powerful medium with the potential to monopolize attention of an increasingly passive audience. Furthermore, due to its ability to tell stories with color, motion and sound, television reaches deeper into the emotional spheres (System 1). This, the emotional drama of TV, is the motive behind implicit research to gauge emotional responses and effects. Together System 1 and 2 (emotion and cognition) cover roughly 80 percent of a person’s experience. So far, so good. 

What about the remaining 20 percent? Actually, it seems to be becoming more important in communications. The last 15 years have seen yet another revolutionary development and with it the dawn of a new era: the mobile internet and screen revolution made possible by powerful networks and numerous new tech devices. Multiple new and less-linear media choices have become available for users and c...