A Donald Duck Lesson about Tracking Studies

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Last week, shortly after I’ve published my “Five Easy Steps to Successfully Initiate Tracking Studies”, a dear colleague approached me and told me that he thought this article was not my best.

– “Why do you think so?”

– “Tracking studies actually have a lot of pitfalls and setting them up correctly isn’t always that easy.”

– “You’re absolutely right. But why should I get our readers worried about problems, they wouldn’t experience when working with Norstat? We have knowledgeable project managers like you, who are able to guide our clients through the process.”

– “Maybe this is true, but readers might take it as a Donald Duck lesson. That’s my point.”

Understood! There is a thin line between keeping things simple and oversimplifying too much. And just because Norstat can ease tracking studies, doesn’t mean we don’t care about the methodological issues. We absolutely do!

Here is just a few of them:

What is the optimum amount of interviews? What is the best frequency? What should the target group of your study include? What is the perfect distribution of sub-groups in your sample? What are the right quotas and background variables? Do you want to use gliding averages and how should they be reflected in your sampling strategy? Do you need a fresh sample every wave? And if it makes sense to ask respondents repeatedly, what is the best approach to doing so? Are there any external data sources (like ad spends) you’d like to link to your tracking study? Should you link it to Cookie Tracking? How can you ensure comparability of the data across different countries? And many more…

So long story short: Tracking studies offer an incredible amount of different options and this makes it hard to provide a general guideline for setting them up. Still, our guidline can be helpful in some cases: Rookies for example may be thankful for a first orientation. And even experts who miss the woods for the trees can enjoy taking a step back from time to time. That, of course, shouldn’t hinder you to get in touch with us personally and discuss your specific requirements with us. We’re always looking forward to hearing from you!