Loving my Stalker


By James McIntyre¦ Student ID 88027183

I am being stalked again. It happens a lot these days, maybe I am too pretty, or maybe I just have a ‘stalk-me’ face.

She’s kind of creepy really, the way she knows everything about me. She follows me everywhere. Every move I make, every breath I take, she’ll be watching me. Randomly she contacts me, flaunting her knowledge, her power.

Been to the gallery on the peninsula she will ask, knowing full well that I have. Having fun are we? Hmm? And your B&B, how would you rate your stay?

Yes, it’s kinda creepy.

Yet I think I’m in love.

With Google’s market research.

Now I’m not a full on weirdo and I didn’t always love market research. Back in the days when people still had home phones I detested those calls. No, I really don’t have a few minutes to spare. No, oddly enough I really don’t want to talk to you about your new GurgleWhatsit 3000.  I hated the random irrelevancy and the in your face intrusion, the waste of my time.

Back to the love thing. In an age when we are tracked by our phones, our every preference and movement invisibly recorded, market researchers have a wealth of data, big data, available to them on a scale inconceivable even just a few years ago.

It could be Orwellian (OK, it is Orwellian) but the scale and personalised nature of information available to market researchers is really useful. To them certainly, but also to me. The preference algorithms that Amazon, Google and Netflix have built on me have often been interesting, and yes I do check out all the accumulated ratings that people have made for places and things.

So let’s look at some of the ways Google (as just one corporation) does this. I live my life, I travel here and there, I buy this and that, and my treacherous phone takes it all in. I have the option through Google Maps of rating various places and I also (and this is where it gets interesting for market research) have the option of using the Google Rewards app.

If you’re not familiar with this app check this video out (don’t mind me, I’ll make coffee.)

Basically users are paid in credits (that they can spend in the Google Play Store on musics, apps, movies etc) to answer short market research surveys. These surveys are at times generic or designed at building demographic data, and at other times very specific (in some cases clearly based upon the geo-tracking of my movements.)


So I get a small amount of ‘money’ for a trifling amount of my time and get to buy free stuff. The companies that place the surveys get data and customer feedback. Google gets paid by the companies. This is a mutually satisfactory situation.

It begins with companies designing and placing surveys with Google through the Google Consumer Surveys website, targeting particular segments or demographics and laying out the list and type of questions to be posed. In the example below I have targeted 25-34 year old women in Victoria.


Companies are given results by Google and are charged per completed response with pricing depending upon the number of questions posed, and the degree of targeting specified (with more specific targeting costing more.)

This is an excellent way of capturing a great deal of targeted information. From the market researcher’s point of view it is a cheap survey tool as the system architecture, infrastructure and app distribution costs reside with Google.

“Cost benefit”


Source: siegemedia.com

The potential reach is large as the app has millions of users, and access to results is very quick.

Market researchers also gain in this from having the active involvement of a potential customer. Getting that active involvement can otherwise be a challenge.

So, perhaps a couple of times a week I take these mini-surveys.  Unlike the random dinnertime calls of old, they don’t seem intrusive as I can take them at times of my choosing. Or not at all. Its a kindler, gentler form of market research that gives something in return.

Yes, I think I am learning to love my stalker.

Its still kind of creepy though.


Google.com. (2016). Easy answers for every business decision. [online] Available at: https://www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys/home. [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016]

Siegemedia.com. (2015). The Content Marketer’s Guide To Google Consumer Surveys. [online] Available at: http://www.siegemedia.com/creation/google-consumer-surveys-for-content-marketers. [Accessed 21 Aug. 2016]





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