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Why use WhatsApp for Market Research in emerging markets?

In the evolving landscape of market research, reaching a representative sample of participants is crucial for gathering accurate and actionable data. Traditional research methods, such as in-person interviews and digital surveys via email or web platforms, have their merits but often fall short in inclusivity, especially in emerging markets. This is where WhatsApp, with its widespread adoption and versatile features, emerges as a superior tool for engaging a broader demographic. Here’s why integrating WhatsApp into your market research strategy is essential for capturing the voices of emerging markets.

Unparalleled Reach and Accessibility

  • High Penetration Rates: WhatsApp boasts extensive usage across emerging markets. In regions like Africa, South America, and parts of Asia, it is often the primary mode of communication, outstripping traditional SMS and email.
  • Low Data Usage: WhatsApp is optimised for low data consumption, making it accessible even in areas with limited internet infrastructure. This is crucial in emerging markets where data costs can be a barrier to online participation.

Enhanced Participant Engagement

  • High Response Rates: Our WhatsApp surveys boast an industry-leading 62% response rate, reflecting the platform's high engagement. The average WhatsApp user on Android spends about 59 minutes per day on the app, with over 90% returning daily and checking the app approximately 22 times.
  • Familiar Interface: Unlike static surveys, WhatsApp allows for a conversational approach which can mimic an in-person interview. This can lead to higher engagement rates as participants feel more comfortable and less like they're undergoing a formal interrogation.
  • Multimedia Capabilities: Participants can easily send voice notes, images, and videos, enriching the qualitative data collected. This is particularly beneficial for expressing thoughts that are hard to capture through text alone.

Scalability and Flexibility

  • Adaptability of Surveys: The digital nature of WhatsApp allows for dynamic survey adaptation. Questions can be adjusted on-the-fly based on previous answers, ensuring richer data and insights.
  • Ease of Scaling: WhatsApp can handle large volumes of messages simultaneously, enabling the scaling up of research projects to include thousands of participants without additional costs.
  • Real-Time Interaction and Convenient Completion: WhatsApp facilitates immediate communication, allowing researchers to follow up on responses in real-time and adapt surveys dynamically. It also offers easy pause and resume functionality. This ensures participants can manage interruptions in their daily lives without losing survey progress, greatly enhancing the likelihood of survey completion and the quality of the data collected.

Overcoming Traditional Limitations

  • Digital Inclusivity: Many individuals in emerging markets may not have access to computers or high-speed internet but do have mobile phones with WhatsApp. This makes it possible to include a more representative sample of the population.
  • Language Inclusivity: With the capability to conduct surveys in multiple languages and the ease of using voice and video responses, WhatsApp surveys cater to non-literate populations and those with disabilities, ensuring a more inclusive data collection process.
  • Reliability: Mobile phones are personal and usually within arm’s reach, leading to higher response rates and more timely feedback.


While traditional research methods still hold value, the reality of emerging markets—with their unique challenges and opportunities—necessitates a more adaptable, cost-effective, and inclusive approach. WhatsApp, with its broad reach and versatile functionalities, offers an unparalleled platform for conducting market research that truly reflects the diverse perspectives and needs of emerging market populations. By adopting WhatsApp, researchers can ensure their data is not only comprehensive but also truly representative of the community they aim to serve.

Extra data

WhatsApp is one of the most widely used mobile applications in the world, owned by Meta. It has a massive user base of 2 billion users (excluding China where WhatsApp is banned), making it highly popular. Each day, over 100 billion messages are exchanged on the app, making it the most widely used mobile messaging platform globally.

  • WhatsApp has 2 billion active users worldwide.
  • WhatsApp is ranked as the most used mobile messenger app in the world.
  • More than 100 billion messages are sent each day on WhatsApp.
  • The average WhatsApp user on Android spends 59 minutes per day on the app.
  • Over 90% of android users are active daily
  • On average, its users return to the app 22 times a day
  • India has the most WhatsApp users (487.5 million).

About Yazi

Yazi is a data collection company dedicated to providing accurate and comprehensive market research. Through innovative technology and deep cultural understanding, Yazi strives to illuminate the diverse experiences, opinions, and needs of individuals across Africa. This is how we work.

Start your Research Journey in Emerging Markets today!

Frequently Asked Question

We have gathered the answers to common queries about how Yazi facilitates revolutionary market research through WhatsApp, alongside a host of other insightful information.


How does Yazi Work?

Yazi is a Market research platform built on top of WhatsApp. You have the ability to script, design, edit, launch and analyse your results on our webapp. The questions are sent via WhatsApp and the participants interact with them there as if it is a normal conversation.


How is Yazi's Data Protection?

Yazi prioritises data privacy by anonymising information, employing robust encryption, and allowing database access only to authorised personnel through password and 2FA protection. We adhere to stringent security standards including ISO/IEC 27001, NIST, PCI SSC, and GDPR, ensuring no data sharing with external third parties. Our comprehensive Data Security Program encapsulates physical and logical security measures, data access controls, encryption, along with data backup, recovery, and a well-structured incident response framework. In adherence to GDPR's principles, we process user data with utmost transparency, and address data deletion requests promptly as delineated in our Terms of Service, providing you with control over your data.


Why WhatsApp

Our WhatsApp surveys boast an impressive response rate of 62%, showcasing superior engagement compared to traditional online surveys, especially valuable in reaching individuals with limited internet access. The low data cost of 10 cents per survey, alongside the prevalent use of WhatsApp in South Africa with a 95% penetration rate, facilitates nationwide representation, reducing financial and phone storage barriers.

The familiar and user-friendly nature of WhatsApp enhances participant comfort, while its pause-resume functionality ensures convenience in survey completion. Moreover, the recent WhatsApp API upgrade enables rich data collection through various media forms without incurring significant data costs, paving the way for nuanced longitudinal studies. This platform's habit-forming nature, reinforced by personal engagement from our researchers, makes it an exemplary channel for continuous and detailed market research.


How is Yazi's data quality?

  • Speeding - A completion time that is too fast indicates the respondent has not sufficiently comprehended the questions.
  • Gibberish checker - Checking that open text answers are not “gibberish” and can be understood as a sentence.
  • Straight-lining checker - Checking that the sequence of answers does not follow the same pattern - e.g. A, A, A, A, A, A
  • Red herring question - Intentionally placing “oddball” questions into the survey to see if the respondent was paying attention. We also ask questions that correspond with previous answers but are categorised or worded slightly differently.
  • Evidence question - Where we specifically need an audience that exhibits a certain behaviour or matches a certain demographic, we ask respondents to send a picture that proves they match/meet requirement.
  • Panel recalibration & assessment - We recycle demographic and behavioural questions every 4 months to compare against historical answers.

What types of Questions do you support? 

Question Types Supported: 

  • Multiple Choice
  • Image
  • Video
  • Voice Notes


  • Grid Questions
  • Ranking Question

How many questions can I ask via WhatsApp?

At Yazi, we employ a multifaceted approach to recruit diverse and reliable survey participants. Our strategies include:

  1. Social Media Engagement: We actively recruit through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter/X, and TikTok. This broad approach helps us reach a wide demographic spectrum.
  2. Partnerships: We collaborate with companies possessing extensive databases of customers or members. Through these partnerships, we invite individuals to participate in our surveys, ensuring a rich pool of respondents.
  3. Local Presence: In an effort to connect with communities, we've placed QR codes in spaza shop locations across South Africa. These QR codes direct individuals to our WhatsApp number, facilitating an easy sign-up process.
  4. Referral Program: We believe in the power of word-of-mouth. Hence, we have a referral program where existing participants can refer friends, family, and their network. We incentivise these referrals to encourage a broader participation.
  5. Demographic Information Collection: To mitigate bias and the incentive to provide untruthful responses, we gather demographic information before showing participants our surveys. This ensures the quality and reliability of our data.