WASHINGTON, DC—Edelman research subsidiary StrategyOne has acquired PluggedIN, an insights firm specializing in building and managing market research online communities.

“The addition of PluggedIN to StrategyOne provides Edelman with the tools to offer clients real-time insights and engagement with their consumers and other stakeholder groups critical to their success,” says Alan VanderMolen, president and CEO, global practices and diversified insights businesses at Edelman.

Founded in 2006, PluggedIN works with clients allowing them to gain an understanding of their consumers’ attitudes and behaviors, while building relationships with their core audience in real-time.

The PluggedIN platform integrates aspects of social networking and community features with the methodological rigor of qualitative and quantitative market research, fueling clients’ business with insights-driven strategy.

A recent GreenBook Research Industry Trends report found that 58 percent of research buyers saw online community research in their future, ahead of mobile surveys (41 percent) and text analytics (47 percent) and just behind social media analytics (68 percent). By building communities of individuals who share a common passion or demographic MROCs offer clients an online research pool that delivers a level of insight richer than traditional focus groups, and more immediate than a survey.

“Insights communities are a cornerstone of market research’s future as the industry shifts from an emphasis on asking to an emphasis on listening and collaborating. We feel strongly that community based research is only beginning to achieve its true potential and that this research approach will continue to see explosive growth in the years ahead,” says Robert Moran, US president, StrategyOne.

Founded by Ben Werzinger and Matt Foley, PluggedIN hosted MROCs on behalf of multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Kraft Foods, T-Mobile, General Mills and Shell.