September 19, 2017: A new standard, ISO 19731 digital analytics and web analyses for the purposes of market opinion, and social research is now complete and available to the global research industry. This Standard was formally published at the end of May, 2017 Over the last three years, WG3 of the ISO TC225 (Market, opinion and social research) committee chaired by Erich Wiegand from Germany and including active members from AMSRS (Australia), ASI (Austria), MRIA (Canada), JISC (Japan), MOA(Netherlands), UNE (Spain), and MRS (United Kingdom), as well as various other observing countries and associations (e.g., ARIA, ESOMAR, WAPOR) worked carefully to build a new standard reflecting the evolving methodologies in market, opinion, and social research.

This new standard, ISO 19731, covers broad research management topics such as project management requirements, proposals and tenders, project execution, confidentiality, subcontracting, complaints, data analysis, participant safeguards, reporting, data retention, and ownership.

ISO 19731:2017 specifies the terms and definitions, as well as the service requirements, for organizations and professionals that conduct digital analytics and web analyses for collecting, analysing and reporting of digital data for purposes of market, opinion and social research by various methods and techniques. It provides the criteria against which the quality of such services can be assessed and evaluated.

ISO 19731:2017 applies to digital and web analysis research activities such as:

  • understanding the usage of websites via the use of cookies, page impressions and other means, navigation across sites, time spent by visitors and their actions;
  • online metered panels, e.g. on-going measurement of web visitation via meters installed on panellists’ desktop, mobile or tablet devices;
  • tag-based solutions to measure online usage at universe level, which can be integrated with metered panel data to provide a hybrid measurement;
  • social media analytics which collect, aggregate and analyse online comments, and user-generated content such as blogs, forums and comments on news sites or other sites.

This new standard serves several purposes and will help both service providers and buyers at all stages of the research process.

  1. Buyers who have less experience with digital analytics and web analyses can refer to this detailed framework in order to understand the various important aspects of these processes and equip themselves with a comprehensive list of important topics they should be aware of when buying and planning services.
  2. Service providers can use the standard to ensure that they are incorporating appropriate and comprehensive quality processes at all stages of the process.
  3. Service providers who might not normally consider themselves to fall within the market, opinion, and social research function can gain a better understand of what research buyers are seeking in the provision of services in the field of digital analytics and/or web analyses.

Service providers who wish to certify according to this standard should get in touch with their local association or certification board.