NewMR Recap: Mobile Research in Action

Last week on June 4, 2014, "Mobile Research in Action" by Sue York was aired on NewMR. Today we had a chance to watch the replay and slides and follow that up with a brief recap here. If you have a chance, we really recommend taking a look at the replay. It was a great presentation with a lot of useful insight on the past, present and future of mobile marketing research. Again, a big thanks to NewMR for allowing us to be the Platinum Sponsor for all NewMR events in 2014!

So, what is with all the hype about mobile? It is mainly because of the ubiquity of mobile devices. Take a look around you, it is hard to find someone without a mobile phone in their hand or by their side nowadays. It was estimated that there would be 6.8 billion mobile devices by the end of 2013. And by the end of 2012, over 50% of the world's population lived within a 3G coverage area (or better). What this means is that the world is quickly moving towards a trend in which people will have increased internet access and mobile phones.

Sue explained her idea called "in the moment" research. "In the moment" research essentially refers to how mobile market research is able to reach customers when they are in a critical moment. Perhaps they just made a purchase, maybe they are in the middle of eating a meal, or just walked off an airplane. Whatever the instance, mobile research captures people's feelings and attitudes immediately in that moment. Instead of other methods of research that asks people to recall their feelings days, weeks, or even months after the fact, mobile works in real-time.

Sue then took us on a brief history of mobile MR from the 1990s through the mid-2000s and to today. Back in the 1990s, mobile MR was mostly SMS, contained short questions, and only accounted for a small percentage of total MR surveys. By the early 2000s, phones were starting to get smarter, larger, and having an internet connection was more common. In 2005 we saw the rise in popularity of BlackBerrys and PDAs. Around this time we started to see people take surveys on PDAs and BlackBerry browsers that were intended to be taken on a computer. In 2007, the iPhone arrived. Soon after the Android phone followed which drastically increased the availability and mass-marketability of smartphones. By 2010 the iPad was released and marked the start of interest in tablets.

The rise in tablets led into a term that Sue called "platform agnostic". Being "platform agnostic" means that as a surveyor,  you cannot force one platform on your respondents. They should be able to choose that platform that suits them, whether that be iPhone, iPad or laptop. As a result, you must make sure that your survey will work across a wide variety of platforms.

She also discussed what is meant by "unintentional / accidental mobile". Some surveys, regardless of how they were designed to be taken, will still be taken on a mobile device. In fact, 20-30% of surveys will be completed on a mobile device. Be mindful of who your respondents are, as well as how you think they will complete your survey. Ask yourself, do you want people to take it on a computer or on a mobile device?

When looking to the future, Sue offered these four points for the future of mobile MR that we would like to leave you with:

1. Have more sample options
2. Wearables
3. Passive Data and Survey Data come together
4. Enforcing seamless platform agnosticism