Quantitative vs. Qualitative Data
The words quantitative and qualitative might sound similar but they couldn’t be more different.
In digital marketing, data is researched, collected, and used in just about every process or method, giving businesses a potential leg up on the competition. Finding out what works for you, and for your competitors, is the process that helps us reach the targeted audience.
Some data or research is about numbers, but not all. Quantitative data or research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical information. This allows a company to predict or even control the interest of a client.
Qualitative research isn’t about numbers at all. The data collected from this type of research is all about non-numerical information derived from text, audio, video, images.
Quantitative Data is a Numbers Game
Quantitative simply means that something can be measured numerically. Whether it’s the number of computers in an office or how many miles a runner can complete in a day, quantitative data is a numbers game.
In digital marketing, it is important to measure what you can in order to get a better understanding of what your customer’s needs are and how to meet them. Quantitative data involves numbers, quantities, and values, and each of those play huge roles in any marketing campaign.
Since quantitative data is collected through statistics, it is considered reliable, credible, and objective.
When To Use Quantitative Data?
Qualitative Data Generalizes Results
Quantitative data isn’t the only type of research. Qualitative data isn’t about numbers but more about what can be gleaned through observation and not anything that can be directly measured. This data is descriptive in nature. Qualitative data relies on descriptive words and judgement to indicate appearance, color, texture, or other qualities.
Examples of qualitative data are: gender, emotions, a car’s make and model, first and last names, specific animal species, etc.
If quantitative data relies on numbers, then qualitative data relies on organic, first-hand observations. These observations can include: interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, participant-observation, recordings, documents, and artifacts.
For example, someone might say that their red car is brighter than another red car parked next to them. The measurement of “brighter” is a non-numerical measurement that speaks to the brightness of the car, using opinion rather than an actual scale that can determine just how bright it is compared to the other car.
When To Use Qualitative Data?
- Uncovering a customer’s motivation is very important in order to understand why they want or need your services.
- Defining a user persona or ideal buyer by obtaining descriptive judgements.
- If you have a new product, you need to find out if customers want or need it. Qualitative data will help you determine whether or not your product will be popular. You can actually use both qualitative and quantitative research to determine this.
- Qualitative data comes in handy to start and manage market research, and social media insights are considered an effective method to collect qualitative data.
Can Qualitative Data Become Quantitative Data?
Absolutely. Using the example above, the brightness of the car could be measured by a light meter, and that instrument could tell how many shades brighter the car is from the one parked next to it. That quantitative data now becomes qualitative data because it has now been assigned a numerical number for how many shades brighter.