Advertising Research In The 21st Century

A new method for the Internet age

E. Ann Hollier
Senior Vice President for Research, DiscoverWhy, Inc., United States.
Kristen C. Remington
Manager of Marketing Information, Terra Lycos, S.A., United States.


As the Internet comes of age, we are experiencing a research paradigm shift bigger than any that has occurred in nearly half a century. In the 1950s Gallup abandoned door-to-door interviews in favor of telephone polling, thus ushering in the era of modern-day market research. Now, we are witnessing a mass migration of market research from the telephone and other traditional venues to the Internet, with results we can only begin to imagine. Just as in the 1950s, companies see a promising new tool for gathering more information, more quickly, at a lower cost per head than traditional methods. However, also like the 1950s, corporate decision-makers question whether samples composed exclusively of users of the new technology can ever be broadly representative of the general population – or guide sound business decision-making.