The 5th research method after paper, person, phone & PC? Most typically these self-led mobile methods involve surveys, interviews or diaries conducted via Mobile Apps, Mobile Web, SMS/MMS and sometimes Voice Memos.
The method has been around as long as mobile data has been generated by mobile devices, but really began with the rise in SMS messaging in the 90’s. Some might say it’s 20 years old ! FYI: Our first trials were in 1999 with UK Mobile Network One2One.
Eventually Smartphones catalysed the channel as a method in its own right, with true internet capabilities and the development of Apps. In the past SMS and “WAP” (early mobile web) Market Research failed to take-off, as these lacked true benefits to researchers and brands versus other methods and given the skew in audience, clunky mechanism, and costs to respondents.
Nowadays, Mobile-based MR is reaching a zenith given the channel’s prevalence, relevance and advantages versus more traditional (and old fashioned?) ways.
More on the drivers of Mobile-based MR follows…
Mobile can really work if these 5 R’s meet your needs.
Relevance & fit
Response Speed & Real-Time
Always on instant insight
Location, location, location
Relevant real-time research
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere
In the moment/emotion/mouthful
A multi-channel multi-media method
A multi-channel channel in itself
Many methods within the method
With mobile you are not limited to one or two options, but many.
Qual or Quant? Online of Offline?
Survey or Diary? Text only or multi-media?
Mobile App or Mobile Web or SMS Survey?
Data only, or Image/Video/Voice Capture?
Quant: short surveys, quick polls, ad hoc, panels, tracking, etc.
Qual: TXT-depths, Vox-Mobs, Life Diaries, Ethnography/ images/video, etc.
Relevance… Increasingly fitting to more and more audiences/topics/brands. Reach… The ubiquitous ever-present mobile wins hands down. Real-time… The fastest response, quick-fire research is here. Really Handy… If well designed, very convenient for respondents & brands. EnRiched Insight… Not just text and numbers but images, video and voice!
Short & Sweet Not Always
The Best Substitute for
Depth & Detail
Biggest Barriers for Mobile MR
Irrelevance… a bad fit for audience, brand or topic may need to be avoided
Technical… a multitude of devices and browsers to be considered/tested
Psychological… concerns for brands and respondents needs to be overcome
Over-long/complex surveys… an industry issue, even more so for Mobile !
International variations… for usage, devices, networks and regulations
Check and plan for the above.
Get help if required.
Quant: When you need numbers for precise measurement and confidence in results
Main Options for Mobile Quant
1/. SMS/Text Surveys
Usually an initial opt-in/ permission question sent to database/panel
Questions & Answers pre-scripted, open or closed/ framed
Replies can be paid for by agency/supplier (free for respondent)
Works well for CustSat where relevant brand/event/ moment and/or where audience has free time (e.g. during a ferry crossing)
Response can initially be very fast, although “a long-tail”
2/. Mobile Web
Survey invite displayed to user on relevant mobile web page
Works well for mobile website UX/Sat surveys and for audience understanding
3/. Dedicated Mobile Survey Apps/Panels/Communities
Survey experience can be richer and longer and more complex versus web/SMS
Usually deployed with opt-in panellists (existing or mobile only)
Make your own (DIY) and Panel/Agency Owned App Services
Apps can collect data even when offline (and upload later)
4/. Surveys Embedded Into Apps (like adverts)
Quick fire surveys built into App experiences
Look like adverts to start, but follow a simple Q&A survey approach
Qual: When you need depth, detail and diagnosis
Main Options for Mobile Qual
1/. Text Depths
Open-ended text conversations between researcher and selected respondents
2/. Vox Mobs
Capture and delivery of video opinions using mobile’s camera
Utilising pre-screened or recruited respondents
3/. Mobile Diaries & Journals
Using Apps or Regular Surveys
Capture behaviour and in-the-moment feelings/ moods/emotions
Randomised or event-driven
Can be 24/7 or select periods
4/. Mobile Ethnography
Study of people and cultures in “real life”
Discovery not measurement
Mobile enables capture of images/video/voice-descriptions of events/ moments/experiences/ life on an ongoing non-intrusive basis
Memorise The Mobile MR Mantra…
Check – Ensure mobile method fits with audience/topic/brand
Constrict – Keep Surveys Short & Simple.
Engage – Engaging (Reassuring) Invites (+ opt-in).
Entice – Meaningful Incentives/Rewards.
Retain – Keep Respondents Engaged (flow and above).
Plan – Plan and work around country variations.
Get help – Consider & work with best (technical/panel) partners.
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