Category: students

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The Future Internet Is Now: Web3

  • September 12, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

When the World Wide Web became publicly available in 1991, it revolutionized the way we work and play and perhaps more importantly how we consume information and goods. The early internet was relatively primitive and boring, but it soon evolved to be dominated by ecommerce and then social media platforms. Many tech and business experts believe that we are at the precipice of a new internet era, often referred to as “Web3,” for the third iteration of the internet. Proponents say that Web3 will be a decentralized internet that runs on blockchain technology, and brands that know how to utilize it to connect with their consumers will gain an advantage in the new tech-driven economy.

Gavin Wood, the founder of proof-of-stake cryptocurrency Polkadot and cofounder of Ethereum, first coined the term Web3 in 2014 to describe the increasingly decentralized internet based on blockchain technology, which he helped to create. Obviously, the definition is a bit broad and open to interpretation to a certain extent, so in the subsequent years others have added to Wood’s definition. As technology has advanced since 2014, and more people have become familiar with blockchain technology, other important elements of Web3 that’ve been identified are its trustless nature – which may sound negative, but in this context it’s not and will be explained more later – and users/consumers control over their personal information

The trends suggest that although there are many barriers to the complete adoption of Web3, where it is adopted, investors, brands, and consumers will reap incredible benefits. Consumers will enjoy the control they will gain over their personal data, while brands will find new ways to connect with their loyal consumers. So let’s take a look at how Web3 started, where it is today, and how consumers can expect from this new iteration of the internet.

How the Internet Became Web3

Tech experts generally divide the history of the internet into three phases. The first phase, known as Web 1.0, includes the period from just before the World Wide Web went public in 1991 to 2004. This era of the internet was marked by static web pages that were primarily informational and not interactive, although some of the earliest ecommerce sites, such as Amazon, began during this era. The second era, Web 2.0, began in the mid-2000s with the growth of social media, blogs, and ecommerce. The internet became much more interactive and the technology was driven by smartphones and cloud computing. As blockchain technology became more widespread by the late 2010s, experts have argued that we entered the latest version of the internet around that time.

As we enter this new internet paradigm, its success will depend on its widespread adoption, which will largely be contingent upon how well consumers understand the technology. Web3 will be based on blockchain technology, which may sound complex at first but it’s really straightforward. Blockchains are online storage systems that use encryption and distributed computing to protect the data stored on them. Encryption gives only limited people access to the data, while the distributed or decentralized element means that shards of data need to match in order for data packets to be retrieved or transactions to take place. In theory, and so far in practice, this form of internet creates a “trustless” format, whereby users are not forced to trust a company or central authority to protect their data or ensure that transactions are legitimate. Blockchain technology has opened an array of opportunities for investors and consumers, some of which are currently being realized.

Real World Web3 Applications

Cryptocurrencies have led the transition to Web3, with Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency being released on January 9, 2009. Bitcoin’s potential application for Web3 investors and consumers were quickly realized, as it remains the number one cryptocurrency by market cap because of its utility as money, a store of value, and as a financial instrument. But as much as Bitcoin may’ve opened the Web3 door, it’s the number two cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, which will likely play a bigger role in the new internet paradigm.

The Ethereum blockchain has proven to be highly adaptable and a destination for businesses and consumers who use Web3. Everyday new “tokens” are being created that allow users to access the Ethereum blockchain for decentralized finance, smart contracts, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs are digital art that are “minted” as originals and stored on the blockchain. As strange as the concept of NFTs may seem to many, they’re gaining in popularity and market cap. Investment bank Jefferies that NFTs will have a market value of over $85 billion by 2025

Smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) will also play a role in the emerging world of Web3. Smart contracts are contracts that are stored on a blockchain and can only be completed or fulfilled when certain requirements are met, while DAOs are companies that are bound by rules coded into the blockchains they use. These two concepts are combined when DAOs store data, such as retail prices, and contracts with wholesalers on blockchains, with the advantage being they are invulnerable to standard hackers

When DAOs and traditional companies use blockchains for business purposes, it is referred to as decentralized finance (DeFi). DeFi can include person-to-person or company-to-company transaction, with the primary benefit being that banks are bypassed. Although transaction fees are part of every blockchain transaction, they are often small and consumers only pay for the transactions they make. As more consumers are learning the ropes of Web3 and blockchain technology, companies and brands are starting to pay attention.

Some Brands That Have Adopted Web3 and DeFi

Due to the nature of Web3, it isn’t immediately apparent how many brands have adopted the new internet paradigm, but a quick look reveals that it is catching steam. Microsoft, AT&T, and Overstock.com have all begun accepting crypto for bill and merchandise payments, perhaps acting as the vanguard of DeFi and Web3 adoption among major brands. But a number of lesser known companies are also making inroads in the world of Web3.

Among the brands using Web3 and DeFi to watch out for the in coming years are the blockchain based social platform, Steemit, and the blockchain based supply chain, Everledger. Another company to follow is the decentralized exchange trading market, Augur. The reason why these three companies are potentially poised for success is because they all combine the new technology of Web3 with goods and services current consumers want. 

Future Trends and Consumer Benefits of Using Web3

There’s no doubt that Web3 adoption will set the tone for technology advances in the coming decades, but brands that know how to utilize it, such as those mentioned earlier, will use it to connect with their consumers. The trustless element of blockchain technology gives plenty of freedom to the consumer in many different ways. For example, consumers will be able to trade online apps on blockchains using smart contracts, cutting out the middleman in the process. Web3 also has the ability to give consumers more control over their data.

Under the current internet paradigm, personal data is stored on servers that are vulnerable to hackers, but on Web3, data can be stored on blockchains that can only be released if the owner allows it. In addition to enhanced security, blockchain data storage will cut down on spam and those who use it will be able to say goodbye to third party cookies forever! 

One of the most important future trends of Web3 will be how it connects brands with its consumers, by building more trust and loyalty. Because 76% of consumers don’t know what companies are doing with their personal data, the adoption of Web3 gives brands an opening. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the trustless aspect of the blockchain can provide a way for brands to rebuild trust with their customers, although it will require consumers to adopt the new technology. Brands can also leverage the new technology in other unique ways to build customer loyalty.

Nike has recently combined blockchain technology and the metaverse – which is considered another part of Web3 – to sell virtual sneakers in the virtual world, Roblox. Fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana recently combined the metaverse and NFTs to connect with its consumers by auctioning a nine-piece collection of NFTs for $6 million, which included a suit that the auction winner can wear in the metaverse. Brands can also issue NFTs and/or blockchain tokens as a way for their consumers to access special online events or deals, ultimately replacing standard loyalty points

How well brands migrate loyalty rewards programs to Web3 will likely play a much bigger role in the retail space in the future, giving consumers more power over how they store and use those points. An average consumer is enrolled in 18 loyalty programs, but they are only actively engaged in less than half of them, meaning lost points for the consumer and fewer chances for brands to engage their customers. Web3 technology can bring customer loyalty programs to the next level by offering digital rewards that are uniquely ownable, tradeable, and collectable, transforming brand-customer transactions into a more immersive experience

Of course the adoption of Web3 faces some barriers. Most of the big tech companies have no incentive to give up the power they hold over Web 2.0 and the current US government is hostile- to crypto generally and appears to know little, or care, about blockchain technology’s wider uses. Consumers are also slow to learn about what many perceive as an arcane form of technology, but many of these barriers existed before other major technology revolutions throughout history. Web3 may not replace the current iteration of the internet overnight, but brands that recognize its value as a tool to connect with consumers will find that it will be useful in the coming years.

About the author:

An industry leader and influencer – Rudly Raphael specializes in all aspects of research logistical design involving quantitative methodology,  implementing internal system infrastructure to streamline business processes, channelling communication and developing innovative research solutions to ensure Eyes4Research remains a competitive force in the marketplace. An entrepreneur, inventor (patent holder), blogger and writer – his articles have been published in various magazines such as Medium, Ebony Magazine, Bussiness2Community and also cited in various journals and academic publications. 

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4 Reasons Why Experiential Learning is Important

  • August 16, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Experiential learning has emerged as a powerful approach to education, revolutionizing the traditional classroom experience. Unlike passive learning methods, such as lectures and textbooks, experiential learning actively engages students through hands-on experiences and real-world challenges. 

Here are 4 reasons why experiential learning is important and why it is having a transformative impact on encouraging critical skills, fostering deeper understanding, and preparing students for success. 

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Active Engagement and Immersive Learning

Experiential learning places students at the center of their own education, enabling them to actively participate in the learning process. By immersing themselves in practical activities, students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. 

This hands-on approach encourages curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving skills, allowing learners to connect theory to real-life situations and apply their knowledge effectively. 

Fostering Critical Skills

Experiential learning goes beyond memorization; it nurtures a range of critical skills essential for personal and professional growth. Communication, teamwork, adaptability, and leadership skills are honed as students collaborate and tackle challenges together. 

Additionally, experiential learning builds resilience and self-confidence, empowering learners to embrace failures as valuable learning opportunities. 

Real-World Relevance

Traditional education often struggles to convey the practical applications of theoretical knowledge. Experiential learning bridges this gap by exposing to authentic, real-world scenarios. 

Whether through internships, field trips, simulations, or project-based learning, students gain insights into how their academic learning aligns with the complexities of the world around them. These types of relevant lessons ignite a love of learning and a sense of purpose in students, inspiring them to make meaningful contributions to society. 

Enhanced Retention and Long-Term Learning

Studies have shown that experiential learning significantly improves information retention compared to passive learning methods. When students actively participate in their education, they form lasting memories and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.  This retention extends beyond exams and empowers students to apply their knowledge long after leaving the classroom. 

Experiential learning is an exciting innovation in education, transforming the way we teach and learn. Its emphasis on active engagement and real-world relevance shapes students into well-rounded and adaptable individuals. 

Stay current on the changing education landscape with the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from educators. Our panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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Why Pollsters Often Get It Wrong

  • August 14, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Polling has been an integral part of politics and decision-making for decades. However, it is not uncommon to witness pollsters facing criticism and being called out for inaccuracies in their predictions. While they utilize sophisticated methodologies, the question remains: why do they often get it wrong? What are the key factors that contribute to the pitfalls of polling? 

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Sampling Bias

One of the primary reasons behind the inaccuracies of polls is sampling bias. If the sample collected is not representative of the entire population, the results will be skewed. Achieving a truly random sample can be challenging, as certain groups may be underrepresented or difficult to reach, leading to distorted outcomes. 

Methodological Errors

Pollsters employ various methodologies, such as phone surveys, online polls, or face-to-face interviews. The choice of method can influence the results, and even subtle variations in the wording of questions or in the design of surveys may introduce biases. Methodological errors can lead to misinterpretations and predictions that do not reflect reality. 

Nonresponse Bias

Low response rates can plague pollsters’ efforts, as those who decline to participate in surveys may differ significantly from those who do respond. Nonresponse bias can skew the results and create an inaccurate reflection of public opinion. 

Timing and Momentum 

Polls are snapshots of public sentiment at a specific moment in time. Political landscapes are dynamic, and events can dramatically impact voter behavior. If polls are conducted too early or too late, they may not capture the most relevant insights, making them susceptible to inaccuracies. 

Social Desirability Bias

Respondents might provide answers they believe are socially acceptable or expected, rather than their genuine opinions. Social desirability bias can be particularly significant in controversial or sensitive topics, leading to unreliable data

Uncertainty and Margin of Error

Polls inherently involve a degree of uncertainty and the margin of error accounts for this variability. However, pollsters and the media often present poll results as definitive predictions, ignoring the potential for error and leading to misconceptions about the accuracy of the data. 

Pollsters play a crucial role in shaping public opinion and political decisions. But they face formidable challenges that can lead to inaccuracies in their predictions.  Addressing these challenges are essential steps to improve their accuracy. 

As voters, it is important to recognize that polls are just snapshots in time and not crystal balls for election outcomes. By understanding the limitations of polls, voters can make more informed interpretations of poll voters and avoid being influenced by unrealistic expectations. 

Read more about the market research industry on the Eyes4Research blog. The Eyes4Research voter panel provides academic researchers, pollsters, and campaign managers, among others, access to the first nationwide panel of likely voters to conduct online polling, as testing, focus groups, and in-depth interviewing among registered voters across the United States. 

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6 Reasons Subscription-Based Models Are on the Rise in Retail

  • August 9, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

In recent years, the retail landscape has undergone a significant transformation, with subscription-based models emerging as a game-changer in the industry. Traditionally, consumers have been accustomed to one-off purchases, but now, a growing number of retailers are embracing subscription services to offer consumers convenience, personalization, and a steady revenue stream. Here are 6 reasons why consumers are seeing more subscription services on the market. 

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  1. The Appeal of Convenience 

One of the primary reasons driving the surge in subscription-based models is the unparalleled convenience they offer to consumers. With a subscription, consumers can have products they love delivered to their doorstep regularly, without the hassle of reordering every time. 

From beauty and fashion to groceries and pet supplies, this model caters to a wide range of industries, making consumers’ lives easier and more efficient. 

  1. Personalization and Curation

In the era of information overload, consumers seek tailored experiences that align with their preferences. Subscription-based retailers leverage data analytics to understand their customers better, curating personalized product selections that cater to individual tastes. 

This personalized touch creates a sense of exclusivity, making customers feel valued and understood. 

  1. Predictable Revenue Stream

For retailers, subscriptions offer a predictable and steady revenue stream, creating a more stable business environment. Rather than relying solely on seasonal fluctuations or one-time purchases, subscription models provide a reliable income source that can be used for strategic planning and business growth. 

  1. Building Customer Loyalty

Subscription-based models encourage loyalty and commitment from customers. As users experience a seamless and rewarding shopping experience, they are more likely to stick with a brand long-term, leading to increased customer retention rates. 

  1. Product Discovery and Sampling

For new and innovative brands, subscription services provide an excellent platform for product discovery. By offering trail-sized products in subscription boxes, emerging brands can showcase their products to a targeted audience, gaining exposure and potential loyal customers. 

  1. Sustainable Practices

Subscription models often promote sustainable practices. Sending products in bulk or utilizing eco-friendly packaging allows retailers to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future. This aligns with the growing trend of consumers being increasingly aware of sustainability

As the subscription model trend continues to evolve, retailers will need to adapt and innovate to meet the changing needs and expectations of their customer base. Offering seamless experiences and unique products gives retailers the opportunity to redefine the future of shopping and build lasting connections between brands and consumers. 
Read more about the retail industry on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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5 Reasons Why Creating Ethical and Responsible Content is Important

  • August 5, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

In our rapidly evolving digital age, content creation has become essential to our daily lives. Content creators wield significant influence over their audiences’ opinions, beliefs, and actions. With this power comes the responsibility to create content that is not only engaging but also ethical and responsible. 

Here are 5 reasons why content creators need to produce content that is ethical and responsible for their audiences. 

  1. Building Trust and Credibility 

Ethical content creation is the foundation of building trust and credibility with an audience. When creators prioritize honesty, accuracy, and transparency, their followers are more likely to view them as reliable sources of information.

In a world where misinformation is commonplace, responsible content creation is crucial in encouraging informed discussions and combating the spread of falsehoods. 

  1. Respect for Diverse Perspectives

The internet has connected people from diverse backgrounds and cultures like never before. Ethical content creators understand the importance of respecting these differences and creating content that is inclusive and sensitive to various viewpoints. By doing so, they can contribute to a more understanding and compassionate online community. 

  1. Impact on Mental Health

Content consumption can significantly impact mental health, especially in the era of constant connectivity. Responsible content creators are mindful of the potential effects their content may have on their audience. 

They aim to inspire, uplift, and educate rather than promote harmful behaviors or unrealistic standards. By promoting positivity and mindfulness, they play a role in helping to encourage a healthier digital environment. 

  1. Addressing Social Issues

Creating ethical content goes beyond entertainment; it can be a powerful tool for addressing social issues and driving positive change. Content creators who use their platform to advocate for important causes and promote social responsibility can mobilize their audiences to take action and create a collective impact. 

  1. Setting a Positive Example

Influencers and content creators are role models for many individuals, especially younger audiences. Responsible content creation means setting a positive example and being mindful of the influence they hold. By using their platforms to promote ethical values and responsible behaviors, they can inspire their followers to do the same. 

Our interconnected world means that content creators have the potential to shape public opinion, influence behaviors, and impact society in significant ways. By being honest, respectful, and mindful of their impact, content creators can foster a digital landscape that promotes understanding, empathy, and positive change. 

Consumers of content also play a role by supporting and engaging with creators who prioritize ethical and responsible practices and contributing to a healthier and more responsible digital experience.  

Read more about media and marketing on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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The SAG-AFTRA Strike: What You Need to Know

  • July 24, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Currently, actors under the SAG-AFTRA union are on strike, which means not promoting their movie at events, appearing in any new roles, and many other things. But what are the specifics under their restrictions, why are they striking, and how does it connect to AI? 

What is SAG-AFTRA?

SAG-AFTRA is a labor union that represents actors and general media professionals, helping them negotiate for better wages and working conditions in the event that they are unreasonable/unlawful. Not just big name millionaire actors, but small actors trying to break into the industry often find it beneficial to join unions for the reasons stated, and boycotting for higher wages benefits them more than it does the Matt Damons and Tom Cruises of the industry. The union was born in a merger of two established unions, the Screen Actors Guild (1933-2012) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (1937-2012). SAG-AFTRA currently has upwards of 100,000 members. 

Events Leading up to the Strike

Last month, under the conditions that their negotiating committee would not reach an agreement on their new contract with powerful Hollywood studios, SAG-AFTRA voted to go on strike. In late June, upwards of a thousand actors signed a letter threatening to strike, including A-listers like Rami Malek and Meryl Streep.

Negotiations that the union proposed to AMPTP (the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) included limiting the use of self-tape auditions (due to potential bias towards better camera and audio quality amongst audition participants) and issuing residuals for streaming viewership. 

On July 14, the union announced at a press conference its decision to go on strike after their agreements were not met, following the laying out of details of the strike. This would be the first strike involving actors in the television and film industry since 1980. 

AI in Film

One of the issues discussed in the strike was the use of AI-replicated digital likenesses of actors. A portion of the statement that SAG-AFTRA made depicting AMPTP’s stance on the issue (which the latter denies) is as follows, “We want to be able to scan a background performer’s image, pay them for a half a day’s labor, and then use an individual’s likeness for any purpose forever without their consent”. This caused outrage among many actors on social media, as the issue of appropriate payment for especially lower-ranking actors is one that has existed for a long time. Most entry-level actors don’t make nearly enough from one role to live off of, so many have to fit auditions, headshots, and other things in between one or two jobs. 

This hit a nerve with a lot of people likely as a result of the increased use of AI in movies and TV shows, like the de-aging of some actors and the AI generated artwork in the opening title sequence in Marvel’s new show, “Secret Wars”. The ethical issue regarding AI art is a similar one, as many artists feel their art is being stolen from search engines to create this art, and some artists who do commissions express concern over the possibility of losing customers who want custom art commissioned. The attitudes of digital artists and actors are similar enough, both parties wanting to get full credit and payment for work they create. 

Terms of the Strike

The terms of the strike that SAG-AFTRA proposed included actors not being able to promote their projects at film festivals or events, on social media, do interviews, and attend premieres. So pretty much any public promotion of films or shows from the actors is off the table. 

Even promotional collaborations posted on social media have a disclaimer in their posts “filmed before the strike”. So, for however long this strike lasts, don’t expect to see any newly recorded media interviews with your favorite actors.

About the author: 

Akili Raphael is a third-year student at DePaul University. He’s also an author and published his first book when he was only 10 years old. He is well versed in media topics such as animation, filmmaking, and is active in the online video game and sports communities. In his free time, he keeps his overflowing creativity in check by writing, creating art in various mediums, making short films, and practicing martial arts. Always interested in learning new things and sharing ideas, he considers himself a student of life above all else. 

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The Rise of Online Degrees and Certification Programs

  • July 21, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

The educational landscape witnessed a significant transformation in recent years with the rise of online degrees and certification programs. As technology advances, traditional brick-and-mortar institutions face competition from virtual classrooms and digital platforms. Here are some reasons why online education is growing in popularity, its advantages for students, and its impact on the future of learning. 

Accessibility and Flexibility

Online degrees and certification programs have revolutionized access to education. Geographical barriers no longer hinder individuals from pursuing their desired courses. With only an internet connection, students can access quality education from renowned institutions from around the world. In addition, online programs offer flexible schedules, allowing students to study at their own pace, shaping their coursework around other commitments like work or family. 

Diverse Course Offerings

One of the major advantages of online education is the wide variety of courses and programs available. Students can choose from a range of disciplines– from traditional subjects like business and psychology to specialized fields like data science or digital marketing. This diversity caters to the specific needs and interests of students, ensuring they can pursue their passions or acquire the skills required in the ever-evolving job market. 

Cost-Effectiveness

Online degrees and certification programs often come at a lower cost compared to traditional on-campus education. Students can save money on commuting, accommodations, and other expenses associated with in-person attendance. Additionally, many online programs offer financial aid and scholarships, making education more affordable and accessible to a broader population of would-be students. 

Industry Relevance

The rise of online degrees and certification programs can be attributed to their alignment with industry demands. Employers increasingly recognize and value online credentials, provided they are earned through reputable institutions. Online education allows professionals to upskill or reskill without interrupting their careers, which enhances their employability and helps them keep pace with the changing job market. 

Technological Advances

Technology has significantly improved the quality of the online learning experience. Interactive multimedia resources, virtual simulations, and collaborative platforms facilitate engaging and immersive learning environments. In addition, AI-powered adaptive learning systems personalize the educational journey, tailoring content to the individual needs of students and optimizing the learning process. 

The growing popularity of online degrees and certification programs has ushered in a new era of education, transforming the way people learn and acquire qualifications. Online education is empowering students worldwide, democratizing access to knowledge, and shaping the future of learning.Stay current on the changing education landscape with the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from educators. Our panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

The Rise of Online Degrees and Certification Programs

The educational landscape witnessed a significant transformation in recent years with the rise of online degrees and certification programs. As technology advances, traditional brick-and-mortar institutions face competition from virtual classrooms and digital platforms. Here are some reasons why online education is growing in popularity, its advantages for students, and its impact on the future of learning. 

Accessibility and Flexibility

Online degrees and certification programs have revolutionized access to education. Geographical barriers no longer hinder individuals from pursuing their desired courses. With only an internet connection, students can access quality education from renowned institutions from around the world. In addition, online programs offer flexible schedules, allowing students to study at their own pace, shaping their coursework around other commitments like work or family. 

Diverse Course Offerings

One of the major advantages of online education is the wide variety of courses and programs available. Students can choose from a range of disciplines– from traditional subjects like business and psychology to specialized fields like data science or digital marketing. This diversity caters to the specific needs and interests of students, ensuring they can pursue their passions or acquire the skills required in the ever-evolving job market. 

Cost-Effectiveness

Online degrees and certification programs often come at a lower cost compared to traditional on-campus education. Students can save money on commuting, accommodations, and other expenses associated with in-person attendance. Additionally, many online programs offer financial aid and scholarships, making education more affordable and accessible to a broader population of would-be students. 

Industry Relevance

The rise of online degrees and certification programs can be attributed to their alignment with industry demands. Employers increasingly recognize and value online credentials, provided they are earned through reputable institutions. Online education allows professionals to upskill or reskill without interrupting their careers, which enhances their employability and helps them keep pace with the changing job market. 

Technological Advances

Technology has significantly improved the quality of the online learning experience. Interactive multimedia resources, virtual simulations, and collaborative platforms facilitate engaging and immersive learning environments. In addition, AI-powered adaptive learning systems personalize the educational journey, tailoring content to the individual needs of students and optimizing the learning process. 

The growing popularity of online degrees and certification programs has ushered in a new era of education, transforming the way people learn and acquire qualifications. Online education is empowering students worldwide, democratizing access to knowledge, and shaping the future of learning.Stay current on the changing education landscape with the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from educators. Our panels are made up of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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The Impact of Social Media Influencers on Audience Engagement and Brand Perception

  • June 13, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

Social media has become an almost necessary part of our lives, shaping how we interact, consume information, and make purchasing decisions. Influencers have emerged as key players, wielding powerful influence with their followers. While the world of influencers has changed since the early days, these online personalities still shape consumer behavior, as well as impact audience engagement and brand perception. 

The Rise of Social Media Influencers

The early days of social media influencers allowed for a natural progression of bloggers to migrate to image-focused platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. As high fashion and beauty spaces became more accessible to the average consumer in the 2010s, the audiences slowly began to move away from models and toward more ‘relatable’ influencers, who usually looked more like them. 

As a result of the rising influence of social media-based marketing, fashion images featuring traditional models are falling flat with consumers. Influencers can be credited with being part of the shift in consumer perception of marketing messaging and what kind of images they want to see.

Part of the evolution of influencers is how audiences perceive the authenticity of their messaging. Without trust, a genuine connection with an influencer’s following is impossible. The most successful influencers– the ones with the most covetable brand partnerships and the most engaged followers are the ones who regularly produce relatable content. 

Driving Audience Engagement

As mentioned above, the most successful influencers are skilled at producing engaging content that connects with their followers. In order to capture an audience and maintain the connection, an influencer also needs to have a unique point of view. Luxury labels are everywhere– but an influencer whose perspective on high fashion is shaped by her experiences as a short woman, or as a disabled woman, has a better chance to captivate her followers and foster meaningful interactions with them. 

The next level of boosting audience engagement is the influencer-brand collaboration. Through sponsored posts, product endorsements, or other types of partnerships, these collaborations can amplify exposure for brands. They can also reach new audiences and drive audience engagement even further, and in many cases, convert engagement into sales. 

Influencers as Brand Ambassadors

Audiences craft their perception of a brand in part by taking note of what, and who is associated with that brand. If an influencer is perceived to be authentic and trustworthy, recommendations and testimonials from them can influence audience opinion and their purchase decisions

Brands that fully embrace partnerships with influencers have seen success in targeted strategies to reach niche audiences that are often hard to reach which traditional marketing strategies. Brands can leverage their relationships with influencers within specific industries and segments of a market to enhance their relevance and credibility. 

The Challenges and Ethical Considerations of Influencer Marketing

While connections between brands and popular influencers might seem like the marketing golden ticket, there is danger in losing sight of the need for authenticity in the messaging. Audiences have become savvy about recognizing excessive commercialization. 

Consumers will quickly turn their back on an influencer who is perceived to have lost their own narrative in an Instagram grid full of promotional posts. Influencers who have learned how to strike the balance between maintaining authenticity and their brand partnerships are the ones who will retain the loyalty of their followers and accomplish the goal of turning likes into sales.

Another important challenge for influencers is transparency and disclosure. Audiences are accustomed to sponsored posts in their feeds at this point, and they expect those posts to be fully marked as a sponsored post and any gifted items in the post to be acknowledged as a gift from a brand. Disclosure practices are an important part of establishing audience trust as is the responsibility of influencers and the brands that they represent. 

Influencers have emerged as important partners who can shape audience engagement and brand perception in powerful ways. While the most successful influencers have mastered the type of storytelling that often converts likes into sales, brands need to know exactly what resonates with their audiences. 

Working with an experienced market research agency like Eyes4Research helps brands create an effective and successful influencer marketing strategy by gathering insights from audiences who are actively engaged on social media. The right data will help companies find the influencer whose storytelling will best amplify the story of their own brand and drive sales. 

Read more about social media and marketing on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything you need to collect high-quality insights from consumers who are active on social media platforms. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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Why all the “Hate” for LeBron James?

  • June 12, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

“In the valley of the blind…the one eyed man is king.” – Unknown

Saying LeBron James is one of greatest basketball players of all time is like saying Einstein was good at math. It’s a severe, and almost disrespectful understatement. He is by far one of the most influential athletes to ever live, and even one of the most popular figures in American history. Those who have never watched a basketball game in their lives know the name “LeBron James”. From collecting most of the major accolades in the sport to recently involving himself in several media projects, he’s one of the athletes that truly are above the sport of basketball. He’s never been involved in criminal activity, had a crazy scandal, and tends to avoid negative press altogether. So why is he so hated while other people who rival his talent in the sport aren’t? I find that the (albeit unwarranted) reason that he is disliked by many ultimately boils down to: high expectations and insecurity of the public.

A high school phenom, hailed as “the next Michael Jordan”, James has had pressure put on him from a very young age. He came from an impoverished background and ultimately brought him and his friends around him out of poverty just by being good at the sport of basketball. The sports world marveled at his talent, and of course he still had haters. Those who believed that he wouldn’t succeed in the NBA. Those who didn’t “believe the hype”. If you’re good at something, people will ultimately doubt you out of jealousy. Brutus had his own uncle Julius Caeser brutally murdered. Judas sold out Jesus for like a couple thousand dollars in today money. People will hate on you even if you’ve done nothing to them. However, he truly became the villain of the NBA when, after 7 years playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, left for the Miami Heat. 

“This is the worst thing that could ever happen to Cleveland. For him to go on there and drag us in the mud for seven years and stab us in the heart, he deserves everything he gets.”

These words from a fan would have you think that he was a cocky, selfish person that never brought the dilapidated city and their basketball team any success. When LeBron came to Cleveland, the team’s win percentage had been on a steady decline for 6 years. Their record the season before he was drafted was 17-65. He didn’t exactly enter a successful dynasty when he entered the league. They hadn’t won a playoff series since Clinton was in office. However, in his first season, they went 35-47. In his second, they broke .500 for the first time in years, winning 42 out of 82 games. In his third season, they beat the Wizards in the first round and lost to the powerful Pistons in 7 games the following round. The next season, he brought them to the NBA Finals. Let me reiterate: in his fourth season in the NBA, he brought a team with zero all-stars to the NBA Finals. They ultimately got swept by the Spurs led by Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, but Cleveland fans had not even tasted the playoffs in over a decade. Their record continued to improve each year that he was there. In his final season, he’d led them to five straight playoff berths and their regular season record was 61-21, the best in the Eastern Conference. All because of one man. The man who won two straight MVPs. The NBA’s leading scorer in 2008. The man with the second most playoff triple doubles of all time. He took great pride in his city, hoping to bring them as much success as he could, which he did. But no one can succeed alone. Wilt couldn’t, Magic couldn’t, Michael couldn’t, Kobe couldn’t, and LeBron couldn’t. And the fact that would soon be made even clearer to him would be that he was alone in Cleveland. 

The same man that brought millions of television views to Cleveland in high school just by making jump shots and dunks was soon to be hated by the same people that seemed to love him. In 2018, Daniel Shoag, a Harvard economics professor told ESPN that LeBron’s presence in Cleveland increased restaurant and bar business by 13% and employment by 24%. His impact is truly bigger extends past basketball and seeps into becoming an economic boost for the city. Not just that, but when he leaves, the Cavs go back to sucking. After he made his decision to leave the decrepit excuse for a franchise that was the Cleveland Cavaliers, their record was 19-63. There are more cents in a quarter held to a dollar than wins versus losses in a season when he left. The Cavaliers went from being 1st in the East to 15th. Not just that, they were the second worst team in the NBA. It’s immensely sad. Not to mention, the infamous LeBron hate including verbal abuse and jersey burning happened before he’d even played a game in a Heat jersey. Ultimately, his criticism from Cleveland fans is unwarranted. Notably, he went on to return and brought Cleveland their first championship along with 4 straight Finals appearances, so everyone loved him again. However, the hate he received was deep rooted in sports. There were several LeBron hate pages from his time in Miami. Kids and adults alike would share memes making fun of his flopping, his “crying” faces, and random irrelevant things. 

He’d still go on to reach even greater success, but that damage was already done, and he already had more scrutiny waiting for him when he entered the political world. 

LeBron James has rarely, if not never, been silent on how he feels about the mistreatment of African Americans. After the brutal murder of Eric Garner at the hands of police in 2014, he was one of a group of NBA players to wear “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, quoting his final words, to bring awareness and demand justice to the issue. He’d spoken on the similar murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. He’d rightfully criticized former NBA owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments. Notably he has spoken out against conservative figures like Donald Trump who claimed that James is unintelligent. He helped fund an elementary school in 2018 along with housing complexes and medical centers with the same name, “I Promise”. He’s a big part of the media company Uninterrupted who also promote similar types of activism including but not limited to racial equity, women’s rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights. So a lot of his criticisms nowadays are from people that oppose his politics, mostly conservatives but also liberals sometimes as a result of his comments regarding Hong Kong’s pro-democratic protests in 2020. Either despite his political views or because of them, he’s still probably the most scrutinized player in the NBA. 

A large part of his recent criticism is petty debate and comparison to Michael Jordan and other NBA legends. In the late 2010s, after overcoming a powerful Golden State Warriors team in three straight games to win the NBA Finals, more and more people started debating whether he should be considered the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T) or not. It’s a purely subjective and pointless debate, but it’s one of many in the sports world. This, though, happened to strike a nerve with thousands if not millions of basketball fans as Michael Jordan has been considered unquestionably, undeniably, the greatest basketball player of all time for at least decades at that point. So much so, that he’s been compared to Jesus Christ on several occasions. Former NBA player John Salley said in an interview last year that “Jordan was designed the same way that Jesus was designed”. Even LeBron himself said that meeting Michael Jordan when he was 16 was “like [meeting] Black Jesus to me”. So every accomplishment he reaches and every failure he meets is compared to the career of Michael Jordan, most notably Jordans 6-0 Finals record versus LeBron’s 4-6 record. 

The criticism of LeBron James goes to show that no matter what angle you take, what opinions you have, or what you do, you can’t please everybody. 

About the author: 

Akili Raphael is a third-year student at DePaul University. He’s also an author and published his first book when he was only 10 years old. He is well versed in media topics such as animation, filmmaking, and is active in the online video game and sports communities. In his free time, he keeps his overflowing creativity in check by writing, creating art in various mediums, making short films, and practicing martial arts. Always interested in learning new things and sharing ideas, he considers himself a student of life above all else. 

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3 Things Companies Need to Know About Their Loyalty Programs

  • June 7, 2023

  • Eyes4Research

In its Best Loyalty Programs 2022 list, Newsweek placed several food brands at the top of the Grocery and Restaurant categories. Not a surprise considering how much of our incomes are spent on food. In a recent earnings call, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson noted that the company’s Rewards program now accounts for 53% of spending in their stores, an all-time high. 

Loyalty programs have become an essential part of everyday transactions. It is estimated that the average U.S. consumer is enrolled in 16.6 loyalty programs, but only actively uses half of them. So what do consumers want in a loyalty program? What will make them use all of the programs they are enrolled in? 

The Features That Capture Loyal Audiences

With all of the different loyalty programs out there, consumers are starting to understand what they want. Consumers are looking for things that make their lives easier. If a loyalty program is going to help make grocery shopping more accessible by allowing consumers to shop through the app and have the groceries delivered while earning points, they are more likely to sign up. 

Consumers also want loyalty programs to be convenient and they want to feel like they are getting something exclusive by being a member.  A sense of community while offering personalization can drive exclusivity. 

Receiving personalized recommendations as well as digital coupons and points that they can use towards future purchases makes customers feel like they have a special relationship with the brand, and it will keep them coming back. Conversely, programs that expire or that require a neverending stream of purchases in order to remain viable are less likely to capture an audience over the long term. 

What Brands Are Doing to Stand Out

As mentioned earlier, food brands are leading the way when it comes to loyalty programs that their audience loves. This is because these brands are leveraging technology and maximizing their apps to improve their customer experience. 

When brands listen to feedback from their customers, they can give them the features that they want, like making a grocery list within an app and being able to immediately assign it for delivery. This is what keeps their audiences loyal to their brand. 

Some brands, like Kroger, require an annual subscription, but there are customers who are willing to pay more for a higher level of service. In this case, Kroger can use their customer data from their subscriptions to track store preference and purchase patterns This also allows them to better plan inventory and pass savings along to their customers. 

Brands are also tapping into the gamification trend in their loyalty programs as a way to engage their customers. Wendy’s has its own channel on Twitch, a livestreaming platform, while Chipotle once did a promotion in partnership with gaming platform Roblox, which invited users to play and win branded virtual products. 

How Brands Can Elevate Their Loyalty Programs

While gaming platform partnerships might be the golden ticket for some loyalty programs, one size doesn’t fit all. Brands need to learn what their own customers would want in a loyalty program.

Market research helps brands build strong, long-lasting relationships with their consumers by giving them the data that tells them exactly what their customers need and want.  When brands make their customers feel like they are important, they are more willing to be an advocate for that brand. 

Experienced market research agencies like Eyes4Research have the tools brands need to gather insights from consumers on loyalty programs and much more. Eyes4Research can help brands find the right sample and write surveys to yield the highest quality data. By being armed with consumer insights and best practices on how to build brand trust, companies can make better decisions. 

Read more about retail and consumers on the Eyes4Research blog. Eyes4Research also has everything brands need to build trust with their customers by collecting high-quality insights from consumers. Our panels are comprised of B2B, B2C, and specialty audiences ready to participate in your next research project. Learn more about our specialty panels here.

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