The benefit of social media: Bulletin board focus groups as a tool for co-creation

Sylvie E. Rolland

University Paris Dauphine – DRM – UMR CNRS 7088

Guy Parmentier

University Grenoble Alpes / CERAG


According to an annual US survey of market research trends (GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report 2012), more than 50% of professionals claim they will increasingly use online qualitative research methodologies within social media and brand communities, to the detriment of traditional methods of investigation.

Among new methods, focus groups in asynchronous time,1 also known as bulletin board focus groups (BBFGs), are the leading techniques of qualitative online research, with a US corporate usage rate of almost 35% (GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report 2012, p. 10). There are several reasons for this growing success. From the point of view of respondents, asynchronous time corresponds to a behavioural trend of our postmodern period enabled by new technology: respondents want to take part when it’s convenient for them and not to suit someone else’s timing. From the point of view of practitioners, BBFGs can be rapidly created in online communities while focusing attention on a precise research subject within a timescale required by the client.