Nailbiter uses video to collect real-time data on purchase decisions

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Nailbiter
Photo: Nailbiter

Related tags Marketing

As Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories became embedded into day-to-day routines, market research firm Nailbiter saw an opportunity to elevate consumer surveys to involve real-time videos of the decision making process. 

“Using the phone inside the store is something I do everyday…it’s a very natural experience,” ​Amit Dhand, founder and CEO of Nailbiter​, told FoodNavigator-USA. Using its proprietary data collection technology, Dhand wants his company to compete in the market data Big League against legacy firms like Nielsen and IRI.

He argued that video footage is much more reliable than consumers recalling their purchases and saving receipts for surveys, “not because they’re lying, but because they forgot.”

The company had been developing its technology for several years, leading up to the fall of 2014, the time of the company’s incorporation and when it started to pitch to clients. It was during a meeting with one of its earliest high profile clients—Ricola—that the company got its current name.

“We used to be called Motion Research, and they said ‘We launched this million dollar marketing campaign, and we’re ‘biting our nails’ waiting for Nielsen data, and you guys gave us the same data 6 months earlier,” ​Dhand said.

It’s not exactly ​the same data, he added, but the same insight—whether the product is going to succeed or fail. “Our data helps marketers buy time. Put it this way: If you could tell there will be an earthquake, what would you do?”

Working with video footage

The data collection process uses two of Nailbiter’s proprietary technologies. The first is PTM, a complex survey platform linked to phone apps that can use video responses. “These apps can be put on people’s phones internationally, and the videos are captured through the app,” ​he said.

“So if you are in the parking lot of a Walmart, we can ping you and say ‘It looks like you’re going to enter a Walmart, give us your shopping list,’” ​he added.

Once the consumer respondent puts in his or her list, the app can select several items and request the respondent to take video footage of his or her shopping decision. For example, if soup was on the list, the app will ask the user to take video footage of him or her browsing and choosing a product from the soup aisle to turn into data for Nailbiter’s client Campbell's.

The data translation process is done through Nailbiter’s second proprietary technology, Annotator. “It basically what views the videos and detects what brands are in the video. It converts audio into a transcript—so that type of data across several thousand people ​[allows us to] semi passively observe what goes on the store,” ​he said.

With this data, the company can tell clients insight as diverse as whether people noticed a new product when it was displayed a certain way, or if more consumers in one certain region are choosing one brand over the other, and so forth.

A self-funded tech company

Different from the data companies it wants to compete with, Dhand said Nailbiter is first and foremost a technology company with a set-up that allows it to license its technology elsewhere. The market research component is a way to self-fund, he said.

“We have chosen to self-fund the company and not go for VC money. So one way that we keep the company funded and show other research companies that there’s value in our data is buy selling it to companies like Campbell's and Nestle.”

Now that Nailbiter has three years of data collected for a list of high-profile clients, the company is more open and aggressive with its outreach. Further down the road, Dhand wants Nailbiter’s technology to become a tool in the arsenal of analytic teams throughout the CPG industry. “We want to be a tech company that enables the whole industry,” ​he added.

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