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MRS showcases a selection of great applications of digital ethnography which demonstrate its effectiveness for reaching hard to reach audiences, exploring sensitive topics, capturing in-the-moment insights and diving deep into people’s realities.

MRS showcases a selection of great applications of digital ethnography which demonstrate its effectiveness for reaching hard to reach audiences, exploring sensitive topics, capturing in-the-moment insights and diving deep into people’s realities.

For insight teams that have turned to digital ethnography during the pandemic, we’ll examine the operational and methodological challenges of refocusing insight projects. We’ll explore how ethnographic insights have supported organisations to develop bold, new, consumer strategies at speed. We’ll consider whether the growth in digital ethnography marks a long term move towards remote digital qualitative methods and how this may evolve over time.

If you’re looking to hone your digital ethnography skills, gain new ideas and demonstrate the value of digital ethnography to stakeholders, then don’t miss this one-day virtual event.

Hear insights and experiences from the UK, US and Asia. Join speakers from GSK, McDonalds, Philips, BBC, Constellation Brands, Transport Focus, UK Coaching, Mars Wrigley, Kaiser Permanente, Ordnance Survey and more…

  • Explore how to plan, manage and execute a successful digital ethnography study
  • Bring consumers’ stories to life to underpin broad consumer trends
  • Assess the power of blending digital ethnography with other methods
  • Demonstrate the value of digital ethnography to stakeholders
  • Debate what’s next for digital ethnography

Our virtual events have become more interactive than ever.

  • Enjoy live, curated Q&A after every session
  • Approach speakers 1-1 after they present to ask follow up questions and continue the conversation
  • Enter themed breakout rooms at any time during the event to discuss your favourite topic
  • Join speed networking sessions to touch base with industry colleagues and to make new contacts


No Biography Available

Feel free to drop in and out of the below breakout rooms throughout the day – whether it’s during a session less relevant to you, or during a networking break, join the conversation.

Room 1 – Discuss recruitment considerations and participant experience
Room 2 – Discuss platforms, software & tools
Room 3 – Discuss digital ethnography versus traditional ethnography
Room 4 – Discuss the evolution of digital ethnography


10.00 Welcome from the Chair
Oliver SweetHead of Ethnography, Ipsos Ethnography Centre Of Excellence


10.05 PANEL - Using digital ethnography to respond to the inconceivable
Join researchers and clients for a discussion on how they used CovidWatch – a syndicated digital ethnography project that documented the lives of 30 households in 6 different markets – to understand the lived experience of a time that’s impossible to predict, and bizarre to describe.
This session will highlight key methodological issues related to digital ethnography, examine ways in which clients used insight from digital ethnography during the pandemic, and consider how ethnography can be successfully syndicated.
Chaired by:
Oliver Sweet, Head of Ethnography, Ipsos Ethnography Centre Of Excellence
Alexandra Wren, Global Insight Director, GSK
Christine Antoine-Simonet, Senior Director, Global Consumer Insight & Strategy, McDonalds

10.40 Learning to love the outdoors again in a locked down world
It’s Summer of 2020: the sun is shining, lockdown restrictions are easing, the nation’s hopes are rising, and families are beginning to venture outdoors again. Discover how Walnut Unlimited and Ordnance Survey collaborated to devise a unique digital ethnography study following the lives of families with children aged 3-14 years old, seeking to understand their reactions to being outdoors with their family.
Co-designing in a bespoke online community, the team were able to capture in-the-moment accounts of multiple family’s lives engaging the whole family from beginning to end. Hear how findings from this study have shaped the development of new Ordnance Survey digital apps, designed to help families embrace and enjoy outside adventures.
Sunita Bhabra, Research Director - Walnut Unlimited
Bessie Pike, Research Manager & MRS Young Researcher of the Year 2020 - Walnut Unlimited
Susan Parsons, Customer Insight Manager - Ordnance Survey


11.10 Networking break
Delegates are invited to join one of our themed networking breakout rooms, make use of the speed-networking function or visit the sponsor area


11.30 PANEL - Reaching the hard to reach
Join a discussion on how smartphone ethnography has enabled researchers to collect compelling and authentic insights from previously hard to reach or sometimes impossible markets. Hear experiences from research commissioners and practitioners of developing, and executing projects.

  • The rise of smartphone ethnography: what has changed over the last few years when it comes to accessing audiences over smartphone?
  • Examining the benefits and challenges of working in emerging markets
  • Key tips for getting good quality content and engagement
  • Discussing the future of smartphone ethnography for emerging markets research and the growing importance of gaining perspectives from these audiences

Chaired by:
Dave Kaye, CEO Peek Content &  Co-Founder Field Notes 
Adri Reksodipoetro, Managing Director, Nation
Richard Owen, Founder of CrowdLab (now a Dynata Company), Founder Frictionless Insight
Lara Rice, Research Manager, Global Distribution, BBC Studios


12.00 Live and direct: exploring the lived experiences of coaches from ethnically diverse & lower-socio economic backgrounds 
UK Coaching worked with Craft to better understand the lived experiences of coaches from ethnically diverse and lower-socio economic backgrounds. Using remote digital methods, the study followed 20 coaches over the course of a month, charting their lives and their attitudes towards coaching; sometimes touching on the most sensitive of topics.  
This study demonstrates the importance of building engagement and trust with participants to elicit greater depth of insight. It also highlights the strengths of digital approaches in bringing people and environments to life – especially when budgets are constrained and contact restricted. Hear speakers discuss how to optimise the design and management of a successful project and how to ensure filmed outputs deliver the fullest impact. In this case, insights will contribute towards a call to action to further diversify the coaching workforce. 
Konrad Collao, Founder, Craft 
Ettie Etela, Consultant, Craft 
Heather Douglas, Head of Policy & Impact, UK Coaching 


12.30 Festive shopper behaviour: understanding the ‘whys’ behind the data
Christmas is a key season for Mars Wrigley and the team wanted to develop shopper led insights to guide in-store activations, bolster sales and educate the business on shopper behaviour. Watch Me Think, a mobile ethnography agency partnered with Mars Wrigley to provide a deeper understanding of shopper behaviour and to deliver game-changing understanding of shoppers.

  •  Hear how Mars Wrigley briefed and worked with Watch Me Think
  • Determining the do’s and don’ts for mobile ethnography recruitment
  • Assessing the impact on research of capturing both ?in-store? and ?online shopper behaviour? without the presence of a moderator
  • Mining and analysing insights from video responses
  • Developing an engaging narrative and examining how best to socialise findings to internal stakeholders

Karina Taylor, Qualitative Researcher, Watch Me Think
Emma Goff, CMI UK - Seasonal & Gifting, Mars Wrigley


13.00 Lunch & networking
Delegates are invited to join one of our themed networking breakout rooms, make use of the speed-networking function or visit the sponsor area


13.40 In it for the long haul: perspectives of travel & transport through the pandemic
In July 2020, Illuminas partnered with Transport Focus to create three online communities, with rail, bus, and road travel users, to collect the experiences and perspectives of 160 current and former transport users.  Case studies, video diaries, spin-off interviews, journey diaries and photography exercises have brought the communities’ experiences to life over a nine-month period.
This session will demonstrate how taking a longer-term approach to digital ethnography addresses many of the challenges of online research. It will show the value of recording how views develop over time and how an informed, engaged community can work towards changing transport for the better.
Angus Smith, Senior Research Executive, Illuminas
Sarah Wright, Senior Insight Advisor, Transport Focus


14.10 Listen to learn: using social intelligence and cultural curators to explore the experience of Black/African American haircare
The importance of diversity and representation has been a core narrative of 2020. Influenced by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, brands are reflecting on how they respond to the experiences of individuals within the Black community. Whilst this is a vast, multifaceted space, one area where needs are truly diverse is haircare. Philips North America, in partnership with a leading retailer, recognised the need to better explore and understand Black/African American haircare. The brief was broad and bold. Simply put: “educate us”.
Hear how a blend of digital ethnographic methods allowed InSites Consulting to step back, listen and learn about the Black haircare experience. Social listening captured the spontaneous conversations within the Black community at a macro level whilst immersive ethnographic tasks such as video and mood board creation provided deeper insights.
Emma Kirk, Research Director, InSites Consulting
Dale Gatling, Senior Manager, Shopper Insights, Philips


14.40 Networking break
Delegates are invited to join one of our themed networking breakout rooms, make use of the speed-networking function or visit the sponsor area


15.00 PANEL - Shaking up the status quo: a year when digital methods took centre stage
Digital ethnography has typically taken the position of the understudy, reserved for when in-person ethnography wasn’t feasible. And yet, the Covid-19 pandemic has paved the way for digital methods to step into the limelight.
Panellists will challenge delegates to consider whether these online approaches are simply a short-term, necessary solution or whether this year digital may have disrupted the research industry in the long-term. As we head into 2021 what will the future of research hold and how is digital ethnography likely to evolve?
Chaired by:
Samantha Bond, Associate Director, Public Division, Kantar
Ella Majava, Associate Director, Consulting Division, Kantar 
Rhiannon Price, Northstar
Anouk Vincenti, Insights Manager (provided by Adecco on assignment at Google)_


15.30 Exploring connection in the age of Covid
In October 2020, Constellation Brands partnered with The Sound to gain a deeper understanding of how people are socializing, connecting and celebrating today, as bars and restaurants continue to be challenged. But how do you study connection when everyone’s on lockdown?
Join Rebecca and Katie as they share how their 3-day digital diary study with 40 social butterflies from across the U.S. conveyed emotionally powerful stories of how respondents were fairing, what they missed, and what creative solutions had taken the place of traditional watering holes. Hear the reasons behind selecting the digital diary method, how effective online platforms were in yielding rich content and developing a strong story narrative, the key ah-hah moments and lessons learnt for next time.
Rebecca Roth, Director of Research, The Sound
In conversation with
Katie Survance, Senior Director, Emerging Opportunities & Innovation Insights, Constellation Brands


16.00 Safe space” - leveraging mobile technologies and consumer behaviour to get real-time, real-context feedback
Hear from Richie Grantham on how Kaiser Permanente's Health Innovation team is advancing ethnography within Healthcare during the pandemic. Richie, a veteran of Ethnographic Research for over 25 years will speak about being an early, pre-covid adopter of Digital Ethnography, what the main benefits are and whether he thinks digital ethnography is here to stay, or not.   
Eugene Murphy will share his perspectives, as a platform provider, on how this methodology is being used across multiple industries and what changes and trends have emerged as a result.  
Eugene Murphy, Founder & CEO, Indeemo
Richie Grantham, Principal Design Leader, Kaiser Permanente 


16.30 Closing comments from the Chair

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