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Cultural Insights: Applying Ethnographic Methods Online


Although ethnographic research started as a way for anthropologists, as outside observers, to build a firsthand understanding of unfamiliar cultures, it has morphed into an everyday practice with tremendous potential to increase Digital Income. Virtual ethnographic research continues to take on new meaning thanks to experience-based websites and blogs that attract global audiences. Whereas researchers once had to negotiate their way into a community, today all they have to do is log on to become observers, participants, and members of a specific culture. With open access to personal information about habits, likes, dislikes, values, and lifestyles, researchers can get a more holistic idea of what consumers really want without disrupting the natural flow of their customers’ daily lives.

Media hosting sites, blogs, and social networking sites like,, and offer insights unavailable before this surge of web-based, user-generated content. As the number of such sites grows, obscure subcultures and trends come to the forefront, changing perceptions about popular culture and consumer lifestyles on an almost daily basis. Regardless of your business practice, the bottom line is that virtual ethnography is ideal for any hungry business looking to create bigger, better, and more insightful customer experiences.

To learn more about how virtual ethnography can help grow your business, contact our Insights & Strategy Director: