Capturing real-life behaviours to drive best innovation investment

The Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) team had developed an innovative and exciting direct to consumer (DTC) proposition - with a unique go to market model and communication approach. However, because it was so new, CPW were looking for an equally innovative approach to give them best possible chance to maximise success.

Business Objectives:

  • They had several different ways of bringing this to life. Which of their new DTC innovations would be best received by the consumer?
  • Understand how consumers navigate to, and use, a DTC website in this context to understand how any future site should work.
  • Do this in the most “real-life” and behavioural way possible - capturing behaviour rather than opinion - but without having to launch it into a live environment and show their hand to competitors.

Research Objectives:

  • Which of their new DTC innovations would be best received by the consumer - what was it about the routes that was compelling, or not?
  • Learn about the product experience of different propositions.
  • Which option would drive more premium?


In this project we wanted to be as behavioural as physically possible. We wanted to capture real consumer behaviour right the way through from communication to ordering and even consumption. We wanted to understand what caught the consumer eye in a social environment, what benefits drove people to purchase and what was it about the unboxing and consuming that they liked and disliked including the taste experience.

We leveraged a set of specific Facebook adverts to understand which would be most effective in driving consumers to a branded website. The proposition was the same in all ads, but with differing copy and creative solutions, but driving consumers to a DTC cereal proposition that they would order online via a branded website.

Those that clicked on the adverts were taken to a mocked up branded microsite, created via our microsite builder platform partner eMazing Retailing, to compare and contrast the two concepts to see how consumers reacted to them.

Arriving at the branded website, found via the branded advert, the consumer felt they were behaving within an utterly real-life environment. When they were introduced to the different concepts, the consumer was invited to click on  an “Interest to Buy” button, which thanked them for their interest and informed them the product was not yet available, but that they could receive a test product if they were prepared to capture their reaction to it via them recording the unboxing experience through to consumption experience.

Throughout the process we captured how consumers scrolled, what they clicked, how long they took and their haptics (if they were on mobile) so we could profile the differences between those that were interested to buy and those that were not.

After visiting the site and moving through the rest of the process, we asked participants to complete a short survey designed to add critical analysis to the consumer behaviours we had captured as well as consumer co-created optimisation ideas. This, combined with the rest of the study would allow us to best understand the commercial opportunity of each innovation and how to further improve it.

For those that received the product, we captured videos of the unboxing and of the consumption. We codified the aggregate videos to identify the overall patterns of behaviour and verbal and physical reactions to the product experience. We converted individual videos into a behavioural show reel to summarise the  video reactions into an easy to view output.


The results showed a clear identification of which recommendations they should launch with and proved to the  client that it is possible to do fully end-to-end “in context”, “real life” behavioural learning to give a much closer view of what will happen post launch.

The outputs of the research went so much further than a traditional report, with full consumer journey mapping, aggregated scores of how people went through the site and what they looked at, showreel video of people opening and consuming the cereals, all used to support our strategic recommendation of how to move forward.