We all get junk landing in our inboxes from time to time, spinning us stories about amazing deals that don’t really exist and trying to get us to reveal personal information in return for something that isn’t even real. It can be scary to receive these emails, especially when it’s so difficult to tell the difference between real, legitimate emails and fake ones, masquerading as real. And it’s not just via email anymore – scams and fake news are spreading everywhere on social media, too.
So, when it comes to taking part in market research, how can you spot the fact from the fiction? And how can you spot the legit market research companies from the fake? In this post, we’ll identify the ways in which you can assess the credibility of research agencies so that you can sign up to studies with confidence.
1. Look at reviews
When buying a new product or investing in a new service, how often do you check online reviews before parting with your hard earned money? You want reassurance that what you’re about to buy is going to be worth your time. You want back-up and reassurance from others who’ve previously purchased the item, who can give you information about their experience. Reviews, for the most part, give a good overview of a company. So, why act any differently before you sign up to market research? You won’t be parting with your money, but you will be signing over your contact information. So, have a browse for some online reviews from others who’ve taken part in research with that particular company before you go for it. Ensure you’re looking at reviews from people who have taken part in market research before and can give a well-rounded response.
2. Assess the claims
Some claims out there are posted by people who don’t have any evidence to support their comments, some aren’t always true, and some are just plain funny! You just have to trust your instinct and make a judgement call as to whether you think these claims are true – are lots of people saying the same things, or is it just a one-off comment?
3. Check out their social media profiles
Every company has social media profiles nowadays, connecting with others in the same industry to chat and share ideas. Angelfish Opinions is our participant facing side of our market research business. Angelfish Fieldwork is our client facing side of the business and you can check out our LinkedIn social media profile – yep, we really do love market research! If you find that the market research agency in question is not on social media, then this would be a red flag; agencies use social networks as one of the top ways to find respondents for their research.
Another thing to consider is their following. Accounts with just one or two followers, who claim to be top research agencies, are probably fake! Look closely at what they post or tweet about; a good market research agency will post about their upcoming studies and share engaging content to interact with respondents. Checking social media for legit market research companies will give you a good idea of whether or not you should trust them.
4. Check for a website and contact details
Does the company have a website? If not, it’s unlikely that they’re legitimate – are there any businesses out there that don’t have a website these days?! If they do have a website and their contact details available, assess their credibility. Are they local? Does the email address work? Another good tip is to look out for a FAQ page where you’ll be able to find answers to the most common queries the company gets, plus, it is a great place to learn more about what they do.
Open and honest research
At Angelfish Opinions, we take an open and honest approach to market research recruitment. If you ever have any questions about any of our studies, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly team will be happy to answer your queries.
If you’d like to take part in market research and get your opinions heard by big brands, sign up to our panel. We’ll send you emails to the studies that are relevant to you. It’s a fantastic opportunity to express your thoughts, plus, you get to earn a bit of extra cash as you go!
With the rising cost of living, it’s no surprise that more and more young people are having to live with their parents in order to be able to save up enough money to eventually move out. House prices are skyrocketing, meaning it’s now more difficult than ever to buy, and renting isn’t cheap either – often people opt for houseshares to further save on costs. But what does all of this mean for you? And what can you do to raise extra funds?
Nearly one million more young adults are living with their parents compared to 20 years ago (2.4 million in 1997 to 3.4 million in 2017).
In London, the number of young people living with parents grew by 41% between 1996-98 and 2014-15.
Why spend an absolute fortune on rent when you can continue living at home for free, or for a lot less? You may decide to stay at home because the cost of housing is just so high. Many believe that paying rent is just ‘money down the drain’ as you pay off someone else’s mortgage without getting anything of your own. And, with costs getting higher and higher, especially in cities, the more attractive living at home becomes. Renting just a one-bed flat in London eats up nearly half of the average salary, and the average cost of a one bedroom flatin Bristol is a huge £767 per month. And that’s before bills.
It’s not just the cost of rent putting people off – house prices are also on the rise. The annual increase in the year to May 2019 was the fastest recorded since January 2017 and comes after a 5% rise in April. The average property will now set you back £237,837.
Millennials are moving significantly less often than earlier generations of young adults. Among 25- to 35-year-olds, who were living at home in 2016, 91% reported that they resided at the same address one-year earlier, much higher than the previous generation. Among Gen Xers living at home in 2000, 86% reported living at that address one year earlier, an indication that moving away from home is increasingly less common.
Cost of living
The general cost of living is getting more and more expensive. Costs of weekly food shops, travel and entertainment are all rising, making saving money very difficult. From council tax to TV licence, water bills to gas bills, general house bills are also on the rise, again deterring young people from finding their own place. Plus, what was once considered by many as ‘luxuries’ are now becoming necessities. Could you live without your Netflix or Spotify subscriptions in order to save money? The ‘fear of missing out’ or ‘FOMO’ haunts many! Plus, travelling is now more popular than ever. With youth travel representing more than 23% of the one billion tourists travelling internationally each year, it’s clear that saving for experiences such as this is now quite important for this age group.
What you can do to make extra money
There are lots of ways to earn a bit of extra money, including selling old clothes on eBay or DePop, getting a weekend or part-time job, or even dog walking! To save money, decide on what is a luxury and what is a necessity. Could you go without catching up on a Netflix series this month? Could you make your coffee at home instead of buying it at your local coffee shop? Little things like this can really start to add up, so make sure you’re only spending where you have to.
Making more money doesn’t always have to be boring and a chore – taking part in market research is also a great opportunity to get some extra cash. You can work this around your day-to-day life and you get to communicate with big brands, telling them what you really think of their products or services. You’ll meet like-minded people and, if you’d rather, you could take part in the comfort of your own home (or your Mum & Dads!). So, to get started, join our panel and start receiving invitations to take part in studies that are relevant to you.
At Angelfish Opinions, we conduct market research studies with some of the biggest brands in the UK. From retail to health, we cover a wide range of industries. Taking part in a market research study can be highly rewarding as you get to have your say, plus, you can also influence how a brand brings its new product or service to market. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you, you will also receive an incentive for your time – making it a great way to earn a bit of extra cash on the side.
We conduct many different types of market research studies here at Angelfish, but one of the most popular ones are those carried out as an online community. But what is an online community? And what can you really expect from one? This article will take you through everything you need to know so that you can confidently take part and get your opinions heard.
What is an online community?
So, first things first, what is an online community? Well, an online community is made up of a group of people who come together online to discuss a particular service or product by a particular brand. This discussion is held on a secure platform and you can use a tablet, smartphone, app or computer to take part.
How long do online communities take?
This ultimately depends on the brand’s criteria. Generally speaking, though, online communities usually require respondents to log into the community portal (which is kind of like a discussion forum) for around 15-20 minutes a day, for between 7 and 10 days. This makes it easy for you to fit it in around your personal life and other commitments.
How do I answer the questions?
Market research is conducted to find out what customers really think about a product or service. Meaning: say what you think – no filter! Brands wantto know where they can improve and what you don’tlike, as well as what you think they’re doing well. When it comes to length, you’ll need to ensure your answers are detailed enough to give clear reasoning behind what you’re saying, but there’s also no need to submit essays! Remember, most of the time, you’re required to spend 15-20 minutes in the portal per day – so make sure you use that time fully.
Why should I sign up to an online community?
Online communities are great because they give you the opportunity to influence the brands you use on a regular basis, making everything from user experience to marketing and packaging to branding better for all their customers. The flexibility of an online community really is one of the biggest benefits: you can take part any time, anywhere, so if you want to login from your sofa with a packet of biscuits and a cuppa? No problem – it’s completely up to you!
What about incentives?
Your time is highly valued by both us and the brands we work with, and we’re always super grateful – which is why we offer an incentive for all of our participants. This will usually be in the form of a gift certificate, bank transfer, or cheque. The amount you receive will vary depending on the criteria set by the brand, as well as by how long the study lasts. However, usually, you can expect the incentive to be £40-£150. The exact amount will be clearly identified at the beginning of the research study.
Fancy giving it a go?
Now that you know what an online community is and what you can expect if you take part, why not sign up and get involved? It’s totally free and only takes a few minutes. Once you’ve signed up, we’ll send you invitations to take part in studies that we think are relevant to you. Interested? Click the button below to join us!
Whether you’ve just completed your college course, graduated from university, or finished your post-grad qualification, there are plenty of opportunities for you to give your career a bit of a headstart and increase your employability when the time comes to start a new job.
Completing your studies can often leave people feeling a bit low, and the feeling of being in ‘limbo’ can start to creep in. That’s why this time – the period between finishing your course and landing your first full-time role – is crucial to gain as much experience as you can.
Plus, there are plenty of ways to make extra money, which is always useful! Of course, it’s important to relax after a busy few years of deadlines, coursework and exams, but spending three whole months over the summer with your feet up could leave you disadvantaged when you come to applying for jobs.
So, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can boost your career this summer and land your perfect role.
1. Do some voluntary work
Volunteering is a great way to network and build contacts while working for an organisation you care about. Also, it allows you to become familiar with a range of workplace activities and build upon your personal development. From helping out at your local charity shop to getting involved in fundraising events, your voluntary work can take you a long way.
Volunteering is also a great way to combat the age-old ‘need a job to gain experience but need experience to get a job’ conundrum. There are many transferable skills to develop from volunteering, whether in retail, events, dog walking or anything else you can think of – and it will all give your CV and general workplace confidence a healthy boost ready for the big world of work!
2. Take on an internship
Internships are usually short-term placements within a company to train you for a certain role. An internship can give you a great insight into what working life is like and could even help you to decide what you do or don’t want to do when applying for permanent positions. Whilst it’s true that not all internships are paid positions, the experience they can give you – and the boost this gives your career – is invaluable.
3. Take part in market research
Market research is a way for brands to find out what their customers really think about their product or service. From your perspective, taking part in a market research study means that your voice will be heard and you can influence the way brands advertise, price, brand, package and place their product or service on the market.
But that’s not all: participating in market research shows initiative and helps to develop your world view and will also inevitably build your communication skills. Whether you participate in an online community or a focus group, research is all about communicating – and initiative and communication skills are definitely buzz words worth adding to your CV to help get you noticed.
Plus, it’s a way to make extra money as you continue your search for your next job. So not only do you get your opinions heard by the brands you use regularly, but you can also impress future employers, show that you are proactive and passionate and make some pocket money too. To get involved, sign up to a research panel and start receiving invitations to studies that suit you.
4. Go travelling
Travelling is a great option for those who’ve got the travel bug! It shows you’re willing to try new things and take on new experiences, as well as developing your confidence. Travelling often involves quite a lot of organisation and planning, which you’d be able to apply to the workplace, too. Plus you’ll have plenty of interesting stories to tell your new colleagues!
5. Start a blog
One of the best ways to show how passionate you are about a particular industry is to start a blog dedicated to it. Whether you want to work on your writing skills or talk about the latest industry news, starting your own blog will put you a step ahead when it comes to applying for jobs. You could use free platforms such as WordPress or Blogger, and let your creativity run wild with customisation.
6. Join a club/sports team
Teamwork is a skill that most employers look for – and one of the best ways to demonstrate excellent teamwork is by joining a sports club. And that’s not all: developing a new hobby will also help you to de-stress from the mundane activity of job searching!
7. Organise an event
What better way to demonstrate your organisational skills than by putting together an event? Event planning involves logistics, marketing and a whole lot of organisation, which means it’ll give you a great opportunity to build upon your skills. You could give a talk on a topic that interests you or a charity fundraising bake sale – whatever interests you!
8. Get a summer job
While doing all of your extra-curricular activities, you’ll need to find ways to make extra moneyso you can afford to live! Any experience is good experience when you want to land that perfect job – even if it’s just working for the local pub or corner shop. It’s important not to have gaps in your CV if you can help it, as employers may question what you were actually doing during this time! Plus, the new skills you learn will be great to add to your CV too.
9. Learn new skills
To strengthen job applications and demonstrate enthusiasm for your career, try and learn some new skills that are relevant to the role you’d like to go into. You don’t necessarily need to go off and learn three new languages or know the ins and outs of computer coding, but just showing motivation for your work will go a long way. For example, why not develop your writing skills with an online course or take on a short-course over the summer months at college?
10. Network, network, network!
This one’s a big one. Often, when searching for your next role, it’s not what you know but who you know. Oh, your mum’s cousin’s friend’s uncle works for that company you’ve always dreamt of working for? Perfect! You’re in! But often it isn’t quite so simple – which is why you’ll probably have to put yourself out there a bit to hear of opportunities.
If face-to-face networking intimidates you, don’t worry – online platforms such as LinkedIn provide the perfect solution. Do some research into the kind of companies you’d love to work for and connect with some of its employees. A great tip is to send a direct message to them, asking them howthey got their role or if they have any advice. Sure, they might not always reply, but there’s no harm in showing your interest!
All in all…Landing your dream job is often a long journey, so make sure you take your time and give yourself the best chance possible by taking every opportunity that arrives. In the meantime, there are plenty of ways to make extra money such as taking part in market research or working a summer job whilst you make more permanent plans. We wish you the best of luck!
When you sign up for market research and enter the validation process, you may be asked a number of questions relating to your everyday life. This is because we need to recruit the most relevant participants for our clients’ market research studies so that they can generate fair results.
The brands we work with often have very specific criteria when recruiting for their projects to ensure that they get the insights they need. However, we understand that it can seem a little strange to be asked more ‘personal’ questions before taking part in a market research study. Officially, this is known as ‘special category data’, which the GDPR says is more sensitive and, as such, needs more protection. This includes things like race, ethnic origin, religion, or genetics. To process this data, we adhere to strict conditions as part of the GDPR law.
This blog post will take you through some of the most common things we ask and why we ask them, ensuring we always abide by GDPR rules.
What is your financial situation?
When validating you for market research, we may ask about your yearly income, disposable income, and any debt you currently have. Of course, you are not obligated to answer this, but this information can be vital because it allows our clients to really understand their customers. Rest assured, your answers are used purely for market research purposes and will not be passed on to a third party.
We may also ask for your bank details for studies where payment is delivered by BACs so you can get paid for your time. Don’t worry, though – it is perfectly safe to give your account number and sort code as this information can only be used to pay money INTO your account. You could also get your incentive in the form of an Amazon voucher, depending on the methodology.
On occasions, you may be asked about your financial situation will help us to match you to our client’s criteria and to ensure that we are representing a certain audience fairly. Once again, you don’t have to answer this but if you don’t, we may not be able to take you forward for the research study. We will always give you a breakdown of the type of information we are storing, how long it will be stored for, as well as details of any third parties, and a clear indication of how they will process data.
What is your political affiliation?
Again, when you sign up for market research and move through the validation process, we may ask for your political affiliation. This can seem a little odd, however, we do this because our client needs to reflect their demographic as closely as possible or else the opinions could become irrelevant. To give an example, if a brand knows that their eco-friendly product is purchased by people who support the Green Party, which has strong environmental values, interviewing people who don’t support this party would not give a good insight into what their target audience really think.
What is your sexual orientation?
We may ask for your sexual orientation or your opinion on LGBTQ+ and feminist issues to ensure an equal representation is acquired for the market research study. Everyone should have a voice in market research to get their opinions heard.
How would you describe your ethnicity?
We believe that diversity within market research is really important. Making sure that everyone is equally represented is vital to any market research study in order to produce the best outcomes, whilst conducting research with respondents who have a wide range of different backgrounds also ensures brands don’t make avoidable mistakes.
Who is living in your current household?
We may ask you who you live with and what their occupations are (if applicable). This is to assess whether you are part of the demographic our client is looking to recruit. For example, a brand may want to conduct a market research study with parents whose kids still live at home with them.
What are your purchasing habits?
This question is asked to find out whether you are a customer of the brand we are working for to ensure an equal representation. Often, this information won’t be provided on your market research invitation so that we can recruit both customers and non-customers for our client. With this question, honesty is always the best policy as you don’t always need to be an existing customer to take part in the research.
As well as this, the brand may be conducting research on their competitors to understand their market better as a whole. In which case, this question is asked to assess why you may choose one product over another.
What is your address/where do you live?
Some market research studies involve an in-home interview, which is where a researcher comes to your house to see how you use a particular product within your day-to-day life, asking you questions as you go. So, in this case, we will need to provide an address for the researcher to go to.
Another reason we ask for your address is so that we can represent a particular audience from a particular area. For example, our client may wish to conduct research with 25-35 year olds from Manchester.
What are your social media account details?
We may ask for your social media username (such as your Twitter handle) as it could relate to the inclusion criteria provided by our client. For example, if a brand wanted to conduct market research with people who regularly post on social media, we would need to ask you if you’re active. In order to ensure that all our research is conducted fairly, we ask this question to be able to verify the most active social media users.
Equality in recruitment
All in all, we only ask these questions so that we can get a fair representation of respondents for our clients, who often have very specific criteria. We need to recruit those who use the brand’s product or service and who also fit a particular demographic.GDPR applies to every organisation, including market research and fieldwork agencies, so we always handle data sensitively and transparently. Each individual has certain rights when it comes to sharing data with us, including the right to object, the right to be informed, and the right to erasure, which we always respect. If you have any further information about the questions we may ask once you sign up for market research and the data we acquire, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We’ve all seen the upsetting images of plastic items clogging up the oceans and damaging natural wildlife. And, with plastic production expected to increase by 40% over the next decade, the consequences of this shocking prospect could be devastating. Recycling alone is not enough to solve this crisis, so, what can you do to help reduce your plastic waste? Often, it’s more about the little things you can adopt in order to make small changes. After all, a lot of people doing something little is better than a few doing a lot.
To have your say in the way brands market and package their products, you can take part in market research. Your opinions are highly valued and you will get paid for your time. For those wishing to take part from the comfort of their own home, there’s even the option to share your opinions and make extra money online, too. In the meantime, check out these five simple ways to reduce your plastic waste…
1. Take reusable shopping bags to the supermarket
Remember when plastic shopping bags were free? Not that long ago, we wouldn’t think twice about packing our weekly shop away in single-use plastic bags. But, since the plastic bag charge came into place in England in 2015, there has been a huge 85% drop in their use. They now cost 5p-10p each – hardly breaking the bank – yet this initiative has been reallyeffective.
Many of us now use our own reusable shopping bags on our trips to the supermarket. But let’s go one step further. With so many products inside the store, such as loose fruit, still requiring you to use plastic produce bags, why not invest in some reusable storage bags, too? This way, you’ll save even more on plastic.
2. Use refill stations
With eight million tonnes of plastic dumped in our oceans every year, the rate of our plastic waste is growing at an alarming rate. To help make one small change, why not try refilling your hand soap, laundry liquid, or washing-up liquid at your local Ecover refill station, rather than throwing away old bottles? Ecover produce 100% recyclable bottles that you can refill more than 50 times at these local stations.
Available at most UK supermarkets, Ecover bottles package washing-up liquid, laundry liquid, household cleaning products, and hand soap. They are the first major brand to implement a nationwide scheme like this, but with more and more refill shops popping up nationwide, it’s only a matter of time before other brands get on board and start offering the same service!
3. Save money by using your own coffee cup
Takeaway coffee is so convenient when you’re on the go. However, we’re throwing away 2.5 billioncoffee cups here in the UK, let alone the rest of the world. That’s 5,000 every minute. What are we doing?! Let’s make one small change by simply taking a reusable coffee cup with us wherever we go.
You can even get collapsible ones that don’t take up room in your bag! Many coffee chains, such as Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Pret A Manger even give you a discount if you bring your own cup, so you can save those extra pennies, too. Boston Tea Party has gone one step further and completely banned single-use cups – now that’s progression.
4. Stay clear of plastic straws and toothbrushes
With an estimated 8.5 billion plastic straws thrown away each year in the UK, it’s clear we still have a long way to go. Plastic straws are not recyclable and don’t decompose, and they also lead to long-term pollution of our land and oceans, clogging up waterways and harming wildlife.
UK consumers are the second biggest users per person of single-use straws compared with other European countries. But, with companies such as Final Straw selling reusable, collapsible straws that you can take with you anywhere you go, there are now more sustainable alternatives. There are also other reusable straws on the market, so you don’t have to buy single-use plastic ones ever again! Just making this one small change can lead to such positive results.
But that’s not all. We use 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes every year, most ending up in our oceans and polluting the natural ecosystem. Fish and sealife don’t need to keep their teeth clean! Plastic in our oceans has huge consequences, not to mention the disruption to marine life. As an alternative, Humble Brush have manufactured toothbrushes that are made out of bamboo. Working with dentists, these brushes are not only good for your dental hygiene, but they also decompose in just 6 months in a household compost bin. They also make eco-friendly cotton buds and toothpaste, too, if you want to go the extra mile!
5. Get your milk delivered
Another way you could reduce your plastic consumption is by getting your milk delivered in glass bottles from your local milkman. Okay, it might be a little more expensive than just popping to the shops to grab a bottle, but it’s worth considering, especially if you’d save on petrol. Plus, you’d be supporting your local milk farm.
Between 1975 and 2015, the amount of milk sold in glass bottles shrank by a huge 90%. Switching to plastic meant that we now use about 13 billion plastic bottles a year, including milk and other drinks and toiletries. That’s 200 bottles per person in the country, every year. So even if we just switch our milk bottles, and nothing else, we’ll have a great positive impact on the environment. You can find your nearest milkman here – let’s bring back the good old milk round.
Let’s spark change
David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 was the most-watched TV programme in 2017, highlighting the effect our plastic waste is having on marine life. It sparked a change in people’s way of thinking, making many of us think twice about our plastic consumption. We still have a long way to go, but just by implementing these small changes into your day-to-day life, you can do your bit for the world. We just need to get the ball rolling! The government’s Resources and Waste Strategy is definitely a step in the right direction, but we all need to work together now to help the future.
So, now that you know how to reduce plastic waste, what are you going to do to minimise your impact on the environment?
At Angelfish Opinions, you can voice your thoughts and opinions to well-known brands by taking part in market research. You can have a direct impact on the way a product is packaged, launched, priced or marketed. Plus, you can make extra money online if you’d like to work it around your personal life. Want to get involved? Sign up to our panel today to start getting invitations to relevant studies.
It’s so easy to automate daily tasks and chores nowadays. Using the latest technology, we are able to create smart and connected devices that are taking the meaning of modern living to a new level. What was once a thing of sci-fi movies is slowly becoming a reality – from communicating with robots to automating everyday chores, there are many ways our homes are evolving into something quite different. But is this way of living really for you?
One way companies get to understand their customers’ thoughts and feelings about particular pieces of technology is by conducting market research. Usability testing, or user experience testing, is a popular method for brands to see how their products work first hand. Whether it’s a particular app or brand new technological device, companies need to know how to best market their products in-line with their customers’ wants and needs. To get involved in user experience research methods, including to get the opportunity to test the newest technology on the market, sign up to our research community – you will receive invites to take part in studies that interest you. Plus, you also get paid an incentive for your time.
What is a ‘smart home’?
Smart homes operate to the convenience of its residents. Want to turn your bedroom lights off from a different location? Adjust your thermostat without leaving the sofa? Check who’s at your door before you answer it? There are few limitations to what technology can do these days.
Using Bluetooth and wireless connections, smart home devices – such as the Amazon Echo – streamline everyday tasks that you can control, monitor and access remotely via smartphone or tablet.
Benefits of the smart home
Convenience – most people invest in smart devices for their homes as they want to save time doing basic tasks. Controlling things simply from a mobile device or tablet – from adjusting your thermometer topre-heating your oven – provides a convenient alternative! This technology helps to streamline your everyday tasks, meaning that you can focus your time on the things you’d rather be doing.
Environmental – Controlling your energy levels all in one place means you’re can easily save on electricity and gas within your home, improving your energy efficiency. Smart meters are so beneficial, in fact, that all energy suppliers must aim to install them in every home in England, Wales and Scotland by the end of 2020.
Accessibility – from a mobility perspective, a smart home provides effective and accessible solutions for elderly or disabled residents. For example, voice control eliminates the need for people to move around unnecessarily.
Security – You can put your mind at ease when you’re away from your house by implementing security devices such asdoorbell cameras. You’re also able to automate lightingwithin the house when you’re not at home, just by a click of a button on your phone.
Is a smart home for you?
43% of Brits now own at least one smart product in their home. Many people enjoy the convenience of smart home appliances, but the initial cost can be expensive. As well as this, you may have to set aside some time to learn how to use this new technology effectively to decide what will be most beneficial to you and the way you live. Not only this, but the initial set-up of some devices can be fairly complex.
Broadband is faster than ever before, meaning it’s becoming easier to connect an entire home. However, security breaches are a cause for concern. For example, your smart home devices could be at risk of hacking. Therefore, it is important that your smart devices are connected to a secure internet system.
Interested in testing out new technology? With Angelfish Opinions, you can get your thoughts and opinions heard by the brands you know and love by taking part in user experience research methods. Your valued feedback will influence the way a product is launched, branded, packaged, marketed or priced. So – a great way to make a real difference while earning some extra cash!
New and dynamic products are coming to the market all the time, like the ones mentioned earlier. Market research provides the opportunity for brands to really get to know their customers’ thoughts and feelings about these new products. Plus, consumers can get their voices heard, while getting paid to do so.
A trip of a lifetime awaits you in Europe – as one of the best adventures any aspiring traveller can experience, the European continent has such a lot to offer! So, don’t let Brexit put you off and get your backpack at the ready!
For many people, taking a gap year is the best way to fully immerse themselves in the traveller lifestyle. And why not? You’d return home with so many stories to tell, so many photographs to show off, so many memories to cherish.
The cost of travelling, however, is definitely something to think about. But with a bit of crafty spending, clever budgeting, and careful saving, you can make it work. Plus, with our paid market research studies, you can always make yourself a bit of extra cash to spend on your travels.
To help you decide where to go, we’ve picked our favourite cities for backpacking on a budget and reveal our top tips for saving that extra little bit of cash so that you can really make the most of your time away.
First up on our list is Barcelona – a must-see city for those who want to experience its cool architecture, great nightlife, and tasty food! People who’ve visited Barcelona rarely speak ill of this vibrant city, especially when visited on those warm summer days.
In a city that doesn’t sleep, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to, either! From 24-hour beach parties to open-all-hour bars, Barcelona is young at heart, despite being surrounded by numerous historic buildings and cathedrals.
Set aside enough time to soak up every corner of this amazing city – each neighbourhood is unique to the last, but the most popular areLas Ramblasand La Ribera. Don’t just visit these areas, though; make sure you visit as many as you can!
You’re going to want to get thrifty in this city; it’s known for its high prices! However, as long as you plan ahead, Barcelona doesn’t have to eat into your travel budget as much as you think it might.
The average daily budget will be around £45-£55. However, some only spend around £20-£25 if staying at a cheaper hostel! So, entirely affordable, depending on the time of year you visit.
Don’t forget, you can save money simply by walking over taking the bus (which is around 2.20 euros each way), attending free festivals and activities such as walking tours rather than opting for the paid ones (they’re often just as good, and you’ll get to see so many examples of Gaudi’s architecture all over the city!)
Quick top tips
Park Güellis a public park with gardens and architectonic elements. Designed by Gaudi, it’s amazing to see, and definitely worth a visit. However, stick to the free parts of the park if you want to save some money – especially when you have so much more on your list to see.
The Sagrada Familia is probably the most iconic landmark of Barcelona, with its phenomenal architecture and stunning design! But if you don’t have 26 euros to spare for an entrance ticket – no matter! The real spectacle is the outside of the building, so you can still say you’ve visited, just without the price tag!
There are some hidden gems in Berlin, and it really is one to put on your travel checklist! Although perhaps not the most aesthetically pleasing on the surface, the vibe of the city is definitely one to experience.
Berlin is among the best European cities to visit in summer, where you can get the very best weather – which of course comes hand-in-hand with a great atmosphere! The city makes a great stop-off if you’re interrailing across Europe, and there are a range of affordable hostels to stay at. The East Seven Hostel is highly recommended, as is Circus Hostel and St. Christopher’s Berlin(if you’re looking for a party!).
To stay on budget, it’s worth sticking to the cheaper bars and restaurants, which can be tricky when the city has so many expensive options. Alternatively, you could choose to stay in a hostel that has a kitchen where you’re able to cook your own meals!
Getting around Berlin is pretty easy using their rail links. However, to get somewhere quick and, conveniently, Uber is a great option. The price is locked, meaning that you can’t get ripped off, plus it’s often cheaper than travelling by taxi anyway.
Quick top tips
Some highlights of Berlin include:
Checkpoint Charlie – The setting of many thrillers and spy novels, Checkpoint Charlie is a reminder of the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin.
East Side Gallery – Previously the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery is now the longest open-air gallery in the world.
New Synagogue – One of Berlin’s most beautiful buildings and a memorial important to Jewish life.
Reichstag – As one of the city’s most significant historical buildings, Reichstag is the Parliament and mirror of German history.
We couldn’t write a post about the best European cities to visit in summer without giving Paris some of the limelight! This city is home to many great sights – from the iconic Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, to theSacre-Coeur, there’s always something to do here. With such a great vibe running through the city, there are many beautiful areas to visit, not forgetting the abundance of museums and art galleries to peruse.
To really get the most out of this city, you may have to accept that it may cost you a little more than other locations. Because who doesn’t want to gorge on wine, cheese, and pastries? That said, it is possible to save money on things such as travel costs (they say you see more of a place on-foot!) and avoiding eating out every day.
The hostels in Paris do tend to cost more than other cities in Europe – coming in at around £20-£35 per night, but is entirely worth a visit, even if you only stay for a few nights.
Quick top tips
Stick to Sundays: museums and galleries are often open for the public for free on Sundays!
Buy your metro tickets in bulk, not one at a time: plan your trip carefully and ensure you save yourself money on travel costs.
Take a picnic to the Eiffel Tower: if you don’t want to pay to go to the top of the tower, just sit and admire!
With its idyllic canals winding through the city’s streets, every new turn in Amsterdam presents a new photo opportunity for Instagram! One of the best European cities to visit in summer, there’s plenty to see and do – from art galleries to canal boat trips, museums to their more ‘interesting’ exhibitions, there’s certainly plenty to do here.
If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam on your year abroad, we’d highly recommend purchasing the I Amsterdam city card – it gives you access to discounted (and sometimes free) attractions, restaurants, and public transport. Having an I Amsterdam card also means you can skip the hassle of buying tickets at the city’s major attractions (the queues can get really quite long, especially at the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum!) Also included in the I Amsterdam card is a free canal cruise! This is well worth doing if you want to learn more about the history of the city.
You can buy different versions of the I Amsterdam card – from a 24-hour card to a 120-hour card, depending on how long your stay is.
Things to do
A’dam lookout: get panoramic views of the city at the top of the A’dam tower, while enjoying a cocktail or two! For the daredevils out there, the ‘Over the Edge’ swing is Europe’s highest swing, where you literally dangle over the edge of the sky deck! Make sure you book tickets online as you will save some extra pennies this way.
Anne Frank house: Discover the story of Anne Frank as you walk through the house she was hiding in during the war. Although emotional, this is definitely worth a visit.
Delft: Just a short train journey away from Amsterdam is Delft. Away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, this beautiful town is absolutely stunning and full of history! Wander down the streets, along the canals, and around the churches before sitting outside in the courtyard lit by twinkling fairy lights.
Aside from the I Amsterdam card, there are other ways you can save money when visiting this city.
As travel is so reasonable, we’d recommend staying outside of the city itself, where the hotels and hostels are often cheaper.
Take a packed lunch – instead of eating out for all meals, why not make your own? There are plenty of benches overlooking canals where you can sit and eat!
Bulk-buy your train tickets: Plan your trip wisely by pre-booking your train tickets
These are just a few of the many amazing cities you could visit on your year abroad. Of course, to really make the most of your travels, it’s going to be hugely beneficial to ensure you have enough spending money while you’re out there. So, in preparation, you could take part in one of our paid market research studies. From online focus groups to at-home interviews, user testing to accompanied shops, there are lots of different ways for you to get involved. Interested? Just click here to sign up.
You probably think of market research as just filling out online surveys or taking part in focus groups, but it is actually so much more varied than that! Accompanied shops are a popular qualitative market research method used by brands to gain valuable shopper insights. If you love shopping, it’s the dream; you can actually get paid to shop in your favourite high-street stores! Brands want to understand the shopping habits of their customers so that they can make decisions about the products they produce and the services they provide, ensuring that they put their consumers’ best interests first.
What does it involve?
During an accompanied shop, a researcher will join you on the shopping trip, taking in the way you shop and the decisions you make. They will watch out for how you walk around the store, what catches your eye, and when you make your purchase. But don’t worry, they won’t interfere or influence you in any way, perhaps just asking the occasional question while you browse. For example, they could ask what you think about the layout of the shop, what you think works and what doesn’t work.
Sometimes, you may not even be ‘physically’ accompanied during your shop – a digital assistant could be used. This advancement in technology has allowed for participants to log their customer journey through pictures, videos, texts and checklists. This way, participants may feel more relaxed and therefore act more naturally.
The whole research study can last between half an hour and two hours, depending on the brand’s criteria and the size of the store.
You won’t need to factor in too much travel time as the study will tend to take place in a convenient place for you. Although, of course, this will also depend on the location of the store, and who the brand is!
As a thank you for taking part in the accompanied shop, you will get paid for your time. The value of this incentive will vary depending on the length of the shop, but it will usually be between £40 and £150 paid in the form of cash, gift voucher, cheque, or bank transfer.
How you can get involved!
If you’d like to get paid to shop and influence the decisions of the brands you love, you can sign up to our research panel here. We’re always looking for people who want to get their views and opinions heard, wish to make a difference, and just want to have fun! Once you sign up, you will receive invitations via email to various projects – just choose the ones that suit you.
Palm oil (known in the science world as ‘Elaeis Guineensis’) has been a hot topic recently, especially since the supermarket, Iceland, released its ‘Rang-tan’ advertisement in August last year, which was later banned from TV. The animated advert featured a sad orangutan, who was upset about the deforestation of his natural habitat due to palm oil production. The message of the ad was to put pressure on top brands who use palm oil within their products. It was banned from TV because it was deemed too political by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). So, what is palm oil? And why has it caused so much uproar?
Palm oil production
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil which is used in almost half of the products found in UK supermarkets, such as chocolate, pizza, shampoo, lipstick, soap, and margarine. It comes from palm oil trees, which are grown in forests in Indonesia and Malaysia. From these trees, two types of oil can be produced: crude palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Crude palm oil comes from squeezing the fruit that are produced by the trees, which are each made up of about 50% oil. Palm kernel oil comes from crushing the stone (called a kernel) in the middle of the fruit. Each tree can produce 10 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per hectare, which is a lot of oil!
As it is so versatile, palm oil is widely used; its resistance to oxidation gives products a longer shelf-life. Plus, at high temperatures, the oil remains stable, so it is able to give fried products that crispy texture.
Oil palm trees are native to Africa, but were brought to South-East Asia just over 100 years ago. Now, 85% of global supply comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.
The history of this oil stretches back thousands of years! In the late 1800s, archaeologists found palm oil within a tomb in Egypt dating back to 3,000 BC. By the middle of the 15th century, palm oil was being used as a local food source by European travellers to West Africa. The British industrial revolution created a demand for palm oil – for candle-making and as a lubricant for machines. It was introduced into Malaysia in 1910, which then emerged as the world’s largest palm oil producer between 1970 and 1990.
Why so controversial?
Palm oil forests are home to many different species of animal, including Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino. In order to extract the oil from palm trees, these forests need to be uprooted, destroying the habitats of these animals. But it’s not just animals losing their homes – many local people are also forced to leave. According to Greenpeace, an area the size of a football pitch is lost every 25 seconds in Indonesia alone, having a devastating effect on local communities.
As well as this, when the forests are destroyed, carbon-rich peat soils produce tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, harming the environment. Shockingly, child labour and worker exploitation is still a big issue within the production of palm oil, another reason why many are strongly against this industry.
What is being done?
Let’s go back to Iceland’s TV ad. It was produced in partnership with Greenpeace, an organisation that defends the natural world and promotes peace. The ad has now received over 5.9 million views on YouTube (as of March 2019) and has sparked a petition to end the production of ‘dirty’ palm oil, which already has over 1.2 million signatures. They are aiming to get big brands such as Unilever and Nestle to drop palm oil from their products.
The WFF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is a non-government organisation, working towards wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment. They are also fighting against palm oil and raising awareness of the consequences of the production process. In 2012, the UK government set a commitment for 100% of the palm oil used within the UK to be from sustainable sources. In 2016, 78% of the total palm oil imports to the UK were sustainable, meaning there is still some way to go.
The sustainable production of palm oil, where habitats aren’t destroyed and the environment isn’t harmed, is possible. In 2004, the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was formed. They have production standards that set best practices for producing and sourcing palm oil. They are a not-for-profit organisation who set these standards for companies. Brands must comply with these criteria in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).
Make a difference to the world…
If you’d like to get involved in how products are produced and marketed by big brands, then your voice can be heard. At Angelfish Opinions, we connect customers with companies by carrying out paid market research studies. To get involved and start getting invited to a range of different projects, sign up here: