Why Mobile Research Is Important

With more than 125 million smartphone and 52 million tablet subscribers in the U.S. by the end of 20121, whether planned or not, many online surveys are being taken from a mobile device. Our own experience as well as industry research2 indicates that roughly 3-7% of surveys are taken on smartphones today, with the number taken on tablets also growing as technology becomes more capable. This highlights how mobile research has an important presence in the research world today and why understanding it is a necessity.

Delivering surveys via mobile devices is all about convenience and efficiency. It is about fitting into consumers ever-busy lifestyles in ways that work for them so that surveys/research are more convenient to complete. In addition, mobile research allows us to reach consumers in situations when it would have been difficult or cost-prohibitive in the past.

Implications for Mobile Research Adoption & Execution

Mobile research is here to stay. So what does that mean for us, as researchers?

  • Adapt or Get Left Behind – We must adapt our tools and techniques in ways that work best for consumers – to fit into their lives and work with the devices they use every day.
  • Embrace New Ways To Capture Consumer Insights – We must recognize we are now able to get to insights in new ways -ways that would have not been possible 5 years ago – that can lead us to deeper, richer insights.

Adapting Tools & Techniques to Accommodate Mobile Devices

From a purely executional perspective, we must adapt our research tools to account for mobile device survey completion which involves:

  • Enabling respondents to start and stop along the way, saving their data so that they can resume the survey later or on another device.
  • Ensuring that the question layout is in a mobile-friendly format to guarantee a positive and efficient survey experience for the mobile survey taker.

Without adapting our tools and techniques, the survey experience is compromised for the participant, with data quality and completion rates suffering.

Major Benefits & Uses of Mobile Research

Most importantly, the proliferation of mobile devices enables and enriches our research. Researchers can now harness mobile technology to increase consumer engagement and capture higher-quality, more accurate in-the-moment feedback and opinions.

A variety of research objectives can be met and exceeded by utilizing mobile technology to deepen our understanding of the consumer. A few examples where we have seen mobile technology lead to more impactful insights include:

  • Understanding path to purchase via questions and tasks administered before, during, and even after the shopping experience through a combination of an online survey and via their mobile device, including UPC scanning, photos, text-based questions, etc.
  • Bringing to life the product usage experience through video and photos.
  • Understanding at-shelf decision making in real timeutilizing text messaging and photos taken by respondents.
  • Capturing thoughts and opinions at the moment of purchase or usage helps capture details often missed when people are asked to recall at a later time via more traditional research methods.
  • Unpacking the shopper experience at specific retailers through location-based survey triggers to initiate surveys when a particular store is entered.

As our research strategies and approaches adapt to the ever-increasing mobile world, our opportunities to get to respondents in-the-moment also increases exponentially – along with our ability to get to even deeper, richer and more relevant insights.

Contact us to learn how mobile research can enrich your research plan today!


1 ComScore “Mobile Future in Focus 2013”
2 Confirmit Annual Market Research Software Survey 2011

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