Q&A with Julien Chevignon – CEO of YouGov Asia Pacific

Q. Where does YouGov position itself? Are you an online panel company, a full-service consumer insight firm, or a hybrid of sorts? Is your position unique in any way?

YouGov is an international research data and analytics group, offering a full range of online research solutions to support a wide spectrum of marketing activities for our customers with our proprietary panel.

Since beginning operations, YouGov has used the internet to conduct its market research. Our business model has been built on the principle that internet- based research is more accurate than traditional research. Unlike other companies, this digital approach has placed YouGov in good stead for the interoperability of its products and services, easily aligning them into a single system. As an organisation that operates across borders, high standards are essential to our continued success. It ensures that our panels are always engaged within a GDPR-permissioned environment, which is supported by secure ISO 27001 certificated operations.

As the pioneer of online market research, we have a strong record for data accuracy and innovation. A study by the Pew Research Center concluded that YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors on accuracy” as a vendor of choice.

Q. When did YouGov open its first office in Asia, and what was the motive for YouGov to come into Asia?

In 2014, YouGov announced its first long-term strategic plan which focused on growing the company’s syndicated data capabilities and expanding its geographic footprint to key emerging markets around the globe. YouGov has thus established its APAC presence in the same year through acquisition.

Besides, we’ve set up our first panel of Chinese consumers and have enabled it to launch a Chinese version of BrandIndex back in 2013. This operational establishment in the APAC region has also motivated us to come to Asia and develop a regional business centre here. This strategy accelerated our ability to enhance data capabilities and mobile technology, enlarge our panel, and grow revenue.

Today, YouGov has already emerged in the top 3 most quoted market research firms in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia; and we were named as the Research Agency of the Year in 2020 and 2021 by APAC Insider, two years in a row.

Q. What were some of the ‘firsts’ for YouGov in online research over the last 21 years (areas you innovated)?

YouGov is dedicated to innovating and improving its products and services to better cater to clients’ research needs. Over the past 21 years, we continuously optimised our ground-breaking syndicated data solutions: the daily brand perception tracker, YouGov BrandIndex, and the media planning and audience segmentation tool, YouGov Profiles. Our market-leading YouGov RealTime provides a fast and cost-effective solution for reaching nationally and internationally representative and specialist samples. YouGov’s Custom Research offers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research, tailored by sector specialist teams to meet clients’ specific requirements.

YouGov Crunch is the most advanced analytics tool for research data, combining super-fast processing with drag-and-drop simplicity. YouGov Cube is a unique, single-source, connected-data library that holds over 10 years of longitudinal data. We maximise the value of our connected data through these technologies and strong research expertise, including our application of Multilevel Regression with Post-stratification (MRP) methodology, to make accurate predictions at a granular level.

With our continuous innovation, YouGov data has successfully reflected our mantra: best panel – best data – best tools.

Q. How did you identify a need for self-serve online research, and who are the main users of this service? Does the 24/7 service involve ‘human’ servicing, and why is there a 24/7 need for this? How do you deliver this?

Nowadays, consumer attitudes and behaviours change every second. Timely consumer market insight becomes essential for businesses. That’s how we came up with the idea of launching 24/7 research services, via YouGov Direct or YouGov RealTime.

YouGov Direct is a self-service platform where our clients can create and launch a survey straight away and get results within an hour.

If our clients need research support, they can also launch surveys with YouGov RealTime, where our research experts work around the clock with live chat support to get clients’ surveys up and running.

This 24/7 service is suitable for all our clients who need instant and reliable data, especially advertisers, media- owners, and publishers.

Q. How does the recontact capability of panellists differ from that offered by other panel companies? What key benefits do clients see in this?

Some companies offer research services to help clients evaluate post-campaign results, but not many can do the in-depth campaign analysis on a long-term basis. YouGov Re-Contact integrates clients’ research with continual follow-up surveys from their tracking results, allowing them to re-target a particular group of respondents who gave a specific answer on a previous survey. With this solution, our clients can uncover deeper diagnostics on the `why` behind target audiences’ behaviours and attitudes. Our single-source, proprietary panel can help clients to get in touch again with those who have seen their ad or heard buzz around their brand to understand on a greater level the specific messages they recall and the impact. It also helps to discover the drivers of their behaviour and barriers to using their product/brand.

Q. Do you have any new developments for online research?

We integrated blockchain technology into YouGov Direct. This creates both complete transparency of data use for our clients, providing necessary assurance, and an audit trail of verifiable transactions for our panel members.

In a GDPR and post-CCPA World, YouGov Direct also enables accurate and ethical consumer research targeting as panellists decide how much of their personal data they wish to share with advertisers and are compensated monetarily each time that data is used. A double opt-in process gives businesses complete peace of mind when conducting research – the YouGov Direct panel is ready and receptive to relevant surveys and research. Consumers are compensated for their opinions when they complete a survey.