2014: Mobile on the Move

Posted by: Joan Cassidy
  • December 17, 2014

geofencing---blogsize---2014-mobile-on-the-moveEvidence mounts: mobile matters to marketers and researchers because mobile matters to people. (What an understatement.) 2014 marked a dramatic shift as marketers shifted to mobile ads in a big way, and a respondents entered surveys on mobile devises en masse. A recent research industry report suggests as much as 20% (ie. smartphones & tablets) of online research is taking place on mobile devices. Not surprisingly, research clients are more and more often asking if surveys are mobile-friendly.

This attitudinal shift in the research industry is all about best practices: what works best for respondents, works best for the research. However, the mobile revolution both constrains and enables researchers.  All researchers are forced to rethink methodologies and design starting with survey design.  Mobile friendly surveys must be increasingly concise and certainly more engaging; otherwise your survey could be hijacked by Candy Crush for attention.

Some of the most exciting mobile-facilitated enhancements are below that allow market researchers to connect with and learn in new and different ways:

Be on the Spot, Get Spot-On Insights

Geo-fencing, beacons and micro-fencing allow us to find people in new ways and learn about their in-market experiences. These location targeting tools let us survey people while they’re shopping at a specific store, attending an event or movie, visiting a hotel, or taking in the latest thrill ride at a theme park.  By being location aware we also become context aware. We don’t have to worry about fuzzy recall of their last experience, we can catch respondents in the moment, and in that way, enhance the quality of our insights.

Selfies in Stories

In the qualitative arena, new mobile tools give respondents opportunities to curate content and narrate their reactions to products, brands, experiences and media as they go through their lives.  These tools allow people to do what comes naturally – reflect, respond and rethink, eliciting a narrative of reactions that together create a longitudinal ethnography.  Using their smart phones, respondents enhance our understanding of their wants and needs by sharing pictures of the insides of their refrigerators, conducting family interviews, and narrating videos as they travel through retail stores and their daily lives.

Active Insights from Passive Metering

Direct digital observation using passive metering allows us to monitor mobile behavior, test and monitor ad effectiveness on mobile apps, and also enables us to use profiling features to identify specialty sample targeting for other research studies. Passive metering relies on robust participation in mobile panels, many of which are still in their infancy, so keep on the lookout for how this evolves.

In 2015, wearable tech, new apps and wider acceptance will expand our thinking and challenge us to find new ways to leverage technology and interact with respondents. Mobile will keep on moving, and the market research industry would be wise to merrily do the same.

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