We All Need Research Technology (ResTech)
These days, technology and innovation are an integral part of our lives. From our prolific use of apps, streaming devices, smart homes, and more, we’ve come to expect immediate results with technology. And the research industry is keeping pace. The time has come for research to own its technology-focused, disruptive future — because this change has been in the works, and now it’s accelerating.
The impact of COVID-19 has moved companies to adopt a digital approach at a faster rate in the last six months than the past six years. In addition, the need for (and utility of) online research has grown exponentially, as sampling shifts from a traditional market research practice to widespread use in nearly every industry. The good news is that many of us in the research world have been anticipating the shift toward tech adoption because we saw it happen in the advertising space.
While this direction of research has been the norm for several years, we’re now defining its new path: Research Technology, which we’ve dubbed “ResTech.” The magic behind ResTech lies within the programmatic technology that now leads the research industry.
Research is Following the Path of AdTech
The concept of programmatic connections was actually conceived in the AdTech industry via demand-side platforms (DSPs). In the dark ages of digital advertising, every ad placement was planned, negotiated, and executed independently with each publisher or network. The process was cumbersome. Eventually, DSPs and exchanges eliminated these obstacles with programmatic buying. AdTech made the process of buying and selling ads faster than ever, with the added bonus of being able to scale.
Research (the “insights” industry) is mirroring the evolution of AdTech with its own force of change. In the early days, researchers relied on in-person interviews or phone surveys. When online surveys first entered the scene, buyers still had to manage each individual survey panel, which was a slow process and an invoicing nightmare. And what about agencies, brands, or advertisers that need insights that are fast, scalable, and affordable?
So, we brought the concept of programmatic buying to the research space; instead of relying on phone surveys or individual survey panels, online marketplaces bring millions of global respondents to one place. Now, buyers of research have more control over their studies, and online survey panels have more opportunities to sell to them.
Investors are Funding ResTech Faster
ResTech used to operate largely under the radar, as a sort of “man behind the curtain” that made insights possible for industries all over the world. But, the cat’s out of the bag. Today, hundreds of millions of investment dollars are being spent on fast-growing technology platforms that are radically changing how research is conducted, who can deliver insights, and the speed of decision-making within the Enterprise.
In 2018, SAP purchased Qualtrics for $8 billion. Adding Qualtrics’s user data to their own operational data is a huge competitive move for SAP. Research Now and SSI combined forces to create Dynata, one of the world’s largest market research providers. In March 2020, Usertesting received $100m in Series F financing from Insight Partners. Investors are funding ResTech because it informs strategies, insights, or simply answers. And the industry is only continuing to grow.
We tallied the annual funding for ResTech companies over the past 10 years. There’s a clear signal of additional interest from investors into the space with 2020 on pace to set the record with $1.2B invested in the sector.
And the growth of these ResTech companies are outpacing other more traditional parts for the industry. We analyzed transaction volumes (completed surveys) in our own platform, and we see ResTech platforms dramatically outpacing more traditional Market Research Agencies and Data Collection Firms.
Not only does the consistent upward trend indicate that ResTech works, but it also shows that we’ve tapped into an increasing need for research. Investors are seeing this growth and eagerly buying in — because the value of ResTech is evident.
ResTech Means Research for All
So, what does all of this mean? It’s simple: you benefit from ResTech, whether you realize it or not. In the same way that AdTech created a new level of ease, speed, and granularity for advertising, ResTech is changing the way we access insights. In fact, Researchers from all industries are investing in their tech stacks so they can conduct research in a new way — more efficiently and affordably.
Consider the changes that political pollsters and academic researchers have experienced over the last several years. They’ve seen a dwindling respondent base for phone and in-person interviews, which are becoming less reliable and more expensive. ResTech allows them to conduct a higher volume of research, at a lower cost, with reliable results.
This efficiency has also become a valuable tool for marketers and advertisers — ResTech plays an integral role in planning, testing, launching, as well as assessing the success of a creative concept or product.
Ultimately, ResTech is designed to democratize research and enable a broader range of industries to conduct studies. Lucid is committed to pushing the boundaries that have long confined the research industry, and we encourage you to join us in exploring the possibilities ResTech has to offer.