Social Media: Outpacing Focus Groups on Quantity and Quality

Jamie Schau

Social data is a tremendous tool fueling our full portfolio of products, helping us bring clients real and accurate data from real people. But why lean on this in lieu of traditional focus groups? Is it comparably accurate? Reliable? Helpful?

The answer to each is a resounding yes.

Using Social Media to Monitor the CBD & Cannabis Industries

There is a tremendous amount to learn and understand in the dynamic and ever-changing cannabis industry. Some basic examples:

  • How is my brand or marketing campaign resonating with consumers?

  • What do my loyal customers look and act like?

  • Will our new product succeed, and if not, what can I change to make it more appealing?

  • Which of my competitors are doing a better job engaging with individuals, dispensaries, and influencers?

  • What are the personality attributes of the people talking about my brand?


In the past, market research has been heavily reliant on focus groups to attain this type of information.  But for several reasons, social media is a better tool for doing so:

  • Volume

A traditional focus group involves a handful of people whose insights come with a hefty price tag. Social media can be leveraged to easily collect thousands, if not millions, of data points at a fraction of the cost – making them not only tremendously more cost-effective to obtain, but more statistically significant and reliable.

  • Speed and flexibility

In order for data to be helpful in this industry, where consumer trends change constantly as new users, products and companies enter the market and others evolve, it needs to be produced extremely quickly. Social media allows us to control topics, language, approaches and strategies as needed, getting answers in real time - all the time. Instead of the snapshot offered by a focus group, data and insights can be collected on an ongoing basis and easily tailored to individual clients with tight timelines and changing needs.

  • Honesty

Social media users can hide behind the cloak of a handle, making them more likely to be forthcoming about their product use and interest, unlike in a focus group where participants might feel judged or concerned about privacy. This is highly significant in the cannabis realm, which remains not only rife with stigma, but where many users face the risk of real consequences (loss of employment, relationships) were their cannabis use to be discovered.