Purpose Of Research Phase In Digital Strategy

purpose of research in digital strategy

Purpose Of Research Phase In Digital Strategy


The purpose of the research phase is to learn as much as possible before developing a strategy. We often enter into the strategic process with assumptions. When faced with a challenge, we often feel like we know the answer. Research is not necessary to prove you are wrong, but can also confirm you are right and support your decisions.  

The Research phase plays a core role in learning as much about your target audience, industry and environment as possible. This information will be the backbone of your strategy, ensuring it is built upon insight, instead of assumption.



The following activities conducted during the Research phase are intended to develop key insights that guide your strategic direction:

  • Research Mapping: identifying all of the points of data that will input to strategy.
  • Channel Analytics: utilizing your existing data on existing channels to make decisions.
  • Audience Research: finding out more about the target audience that you can use to reach them effectively.
  • Keyword Research: taking insights from how your customers utilize keywords in search engines.
  • Social Listening: observing how people talk about your brand, category or industry on social media.

purpose of research in digital strategy

Research Map

A research map is a plan that ensures all areas of research are being read correctly and allows you to map this research to derive insights.

Think of it as a simple mind map. When creating one, plot the things you begin to learn about your audience/challenges throughout the entire process. We do this so we can look at all of our information in one place to identify patterns and connections between our findings. You should identify your audience and challenge at the centre and begin to plot findings around the challenge.


There are key things to look out for to ensure the information you are using is accurate and useful:

  • Are there sources listed?
  • How recent is the information?
  • If it is audience research, how large is the sample? Is it representative of your audience’s population?
  • If you are focusing on one nationality, is the research relevant to your country?


Owned Research

Owned research is research that your business owns, has easy access to and is directly related to your business. Owned research is valuable for the following reasons:

#1 Provides a clear insight into your own opportunity.

#2 Gives the most accurate insights directly relating to your business and customers.


There are many different types of owned research but the most commonly accessed for digital are:

#1 Social Channel Insights

#2  Current Customer Reach

#3  Website Analytics



Social Channel Insights: This is about using the insights that are readily available on existing social channels. Who is your engaged audience? What are the common demographics?


Current Customer Research: Does your business carry out any regular research with customers? Can you influence this research to discover more about their social habits?


Website Analytics: What way are visitors using your website? What pages are popular? What pages are not as popular?


Accessed research is the research that is carried out by large research bodies and then made available online. This type of research is an excellent source of looking at multiple research studies to uncover a series of simple insights. There are costs involved so often this is something that larger organizations access. Look at organizations like Google, Facebook, etc. They have research and insight groups that regularly release free information and insights.

The following are resources available for accessed research:

Premium: WARC, ANA, etc.
Free: thinkwithGoogle, Consumer Barometer, etc.


Desk research is quite simply the research you can access easily through a simple Google search. It involves finding free to access articles, studies and research papers online. Discover demographics, insights and trends. Desk research is also the most cost-effective research tool as it allows you to easily access information for free.

Google is a highly effective desk research tool. It allows you to use the right keywords but also dictates the time you wish to look at them to ensure the research is relevant.


Research using the internet to locate free sources of information (articles, studies, reports, etc.) for gathering insights.

Google is a highly effective desk research tool. It allows you to use the right keywords but also dictates the time you wish to look at them to ensure the research is relevant.

Typically the best way to treat Google is to ask it questions about people. You can find articles or sources then with your answers. What do you want to know about people?



Action Point

I know you might agree with some of the points that I have raised in this article. You might not agree with some of the issues raised. Let me know your views about the topic discussed. We will appreciate it if you can drop your comment. Thanks in anticipation.



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About Adeniyi Salau 883 Articles
I am an IT enthusiast and a man of many parts. I am a Certified Digital Marketer, Project Manager and a Real Estate Consultant. I love writing because that's what keeps me going. I am running this blog to share what I know with others. I am also a Superlife Stem Cell Distributor. Our Stem Cell Products can cure many ailments.

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