Conducting a usage and attitude study

Editor’s note: This is an edited version of an article written by Chloe Cook that originally appeared on the EthOS website under the title “How to Conduct a Usage and Attitude Study."

What is a usage and attitude study?

A usage and attitude study aims to understand how consumers feel about a particular product, service or brand and how they use it. The study typically involves collecting data from a representative sample of consumers through surveys, diary studies, interviews or focus groups.

The primary objective of an attitude and usage study is to gain insights into consumer behavior, preferences and attitudes toward a particular product or service. Companies can then use this information to refine their marketing strategies, develop new products or services or improve their existing offerings.

Usage and attitude studies can provide valuable information about consumer demographics, purchasing habits and decision-making processes. By understanding what drives consumer behavior, companies can make informed decisions about positioning their products or services in the market and tailor their marketing messages to specific customer segments.

When to conduct a usage and attitude study?

A company should leverage a usage and attitude study when they want to gain a deeper understanding of how consumers use their products or services and their attitudes towards them. There are many situations where you may wish to conduct an attitude and usage study. 

Developing new services or products

Before introducing a new product or service to the market, you should conduct a usage and attitude study to determine whether there is a demand for it and to gather insights into how potential customers might use and perceive it.

Improving marketing strategies

Gain insights into how your target audience thinks and feels about your brand and messaging by conducting an attitude and usage study. This information can help refine marketing strategies that better resonate with customers.

Refining existing products or services

Identify areas where you can improve your existing products or services to meet customer needs better. By understanding how customers currently use your products or services and their attitudes towards them, you can identify opportunities for improvement.

Responding to a changing market and consumer

If a company notices a shift in consumer behavior or attitudes towards their products or services, they may want to conduct an attitude and usage study to improve their understanding of these changes and how they can adapt their offerings to stay competitive. Consumer behavior is constantly shifting, so companies should conduct this type of research periodically. There can be dramatic changes in behavior, like we saw during the pandemic, or it can be a slow cultural shift. Either way, you’ll want to be on top of current trends.

Using diary studies for usage and attitude studies

A diary study is a research method that involves collecting data from participants over an extended period, usually several days or weeks. This approach can be particularly beneficial for conducting a usage and attitude study because it allows researchers to capture real-time insights into how participants use and interact with a product or service and their attitudes toward it. With modern diary study tools, researchers can collect rich data in the form of videos, pictures and text providing context that isn’t captured through surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups.

To conduct a usage and attitude study with a diary study research method, you would typically follow these steps:

  1. Recruit participants: Recruit a representative sample of participants who regularly use your product or service. If you are leveraging a platform, the provider will likely offer recruitment as a service or allow you to bring your own participants if you are using internal lists.
  2. Create and provide instructions: Create a list of tasks for participants to complete with clear instructions on how to record their interactions with the product or service, including when and how to document their experiences. A diary study tool often allows for several task types to be assigned to participants so you can collect rich, well-rounded feedback.
  3. Collect data: Participants would then record their experiences using the product or service in a diary or journal format. This could include information such as how often they used the product, what features they used most frequently and their overall impressions of the product or service. Data collection is generally done through an app if you use an online platform. It also offers the ability to capture pictures and videos, providing robust in-the-moment data.
  4. Analyze the data gathered: After data collection, you would then analyze the diary entries to identify patterns and trends in how participants used the product or service and their attitudes towards it. This could involve coding the diary entries and using statistical analysis tools to identify common themes and insights. Streamlining your analysis is another reason to use a diary study tool to facilitate the study. 
  5. Use the insights to enhance the product or service: Based on the findings of the diary study, you can make data-driven decisions on how to improve your product or service to better meet the needs and preferences of your customers.

Diary studies are crucial in usage and attitude studies

Diary studies are one of the most effective approaches for conducting a usage and attitude study as they provide a rich real-time data source on how participants use and perceive your products or services. By leveraging this approach, companies can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and attitudes.