The dawn of the mobile age and the smartphone revolution has drastically changed the world, and market research is no exception to this.
The use of mobile phones is ubiquitous. Customers are using them in an increasing number of ways along their ‘Path to Purchase’ of a wide variety of products and services. Every business needs to understand how their customers use mobile. And, of course, mobile research can also be used very effectively to understand behavior which doesn’t relate to mobile devices at all!
Recent developments in mobile research technology have improved the quality and quantity of the data which can now be captured, and this has revolutionised the market research industry.
In using the term ‘Mobile Research’ we’re referring to the use of online surveys on mobile; SMS and App based surveys, and passive data collection.
In this blog we look at the key reasons why we believe mobile research is an essential part of the research mix in order to truly understanding your customers.
Consumers love mobile
Mobile devices are essential to the modern consumer, with many of us looking at our phones up to 1,500 times a week. In May 2015, Google announced for the first time that more searches are now coming from mobile than from Desktop usage, and businesses were keen to take advantage of this, with 71% employing mobile apps to attract new customers and encourage loyalty. With the number of smartphone users worldwide set to surpass 2 billion in 2016 there’s no mistaking the power of the mobile research market.
Since smartphones are now considered by most to be an essential item, always by our sides, researchers using phones are constantly in contact and on hand – extremely useful in tracking panelist behaviour throughout a wide range of situations.
Observe natural behavior
Technology aside, mobile research is a simple form of passive research. Smartphones are carried around everywhere by customers and are able to passively track multiple behaviors using one data capturing source. Mobile research can simultaneously track consumer behaviours such as shopping locations, activities and media consumption the media – all data which is invaluable and uniquely captured in the nature of mobile research.
Passive mobile research, in particular, is likely to reduce the bias effect of the research process on panelist responses. By nature it is longer lasting, and therefore any initial effect on behavior lessens and eventually disappears, as panelists begin to forget they are taking part in the research program.
The mobile phone is also a very personal item. And mobile research takes place on an individual basis. There are no other respondents there to influence panelist responses.
High quality data
It’s not just the reach and quality of the research results that are benefits of mobile research, but also the response time and engagement of consumers. The novelty of the mobile data techniques mean that respondents engage much more with the surveys, and researchers tend to expect the quality of data to be much higher. The nature of the data collection process reduces the time it takes for panelists to respond to surveys, the time required to process the data, and in turn this reduces the costs involved.
There are still some minor issues with mobile market research methods. With the limited capacity of mobile devices, it means that the surveys pushed out to panelists are limited in their size and detail due to the interface type. From a technical perspective the surveys and information have to be optimised for a variety of operating systems and devices. Connectivity can also be an issue for mobile surveys – Apps are a way to get round this, but securing App downloads can be challenging.
The future of mobile market research
The industry and technology providers like RealityMine are continually pushing the boundaries of mobile market research. Our aim is to gather as much data as possible without the interaction of panelists, to reduce bias and continually improve the quality of our data.
Examples of Passive Mobile Research from RealityMine