mobile qualitative research

Technology Evangelist Organizes Qual Event

Charlie Rader is a technology evangelist.  Officially, he is the “Digital Insights Tools Leader” at P&G.  I have seen a lot of evangelists, and Charlie is one.  Not only did he organize today’s “Online and Mobile Research Vendor Fair,” he spent the day running from place to place and literally shouting over the crowd to keep the event on schedule.  He is a bundle of enthusiastic energy for online qualitative and mobile research.  Thank you Charlie, for a great event and for inviting me and 20|20 to participate.

2012 is obviously the year of mobile qual as discussed in the GRIT report and a recent post on this site.  In past years, panel firms have dominated, then social media firms.  Now virtually every technology company has some sort of mobile offering.  Quant research moved into mobile but qual lagged behind for several years.  The proliferation of smart phones has eclipsed the problems qual had with the limited nature of text messaging.  Now that smart phones comprise 46% of the total US mobile phone market, qual platforms have the platform “space” to get deep insights anywhere and everywhere.  Its amazing that just a few years ago, researchers required respondents to come to facilities.  Then we figured out how to take the research into their homes via online.  Now we are with them everywhere via smart phones.  Its been a fast transition.

The P&G researchers were excited about mobile too.  Our QualBoard Mobile collateral was the first to fly off our table.  These researchers were hungry for ways to understand those moments in a user’s day when they made decisions or interacted with their product.  Mobile can provide that answer.

Thank you Charlie for all your hard work.  You pulled together a terrific set of companies who are pushing the envelope of qualitative technology.  It was a true honor to be a part of it and to enjoy your enthusiasm for online and mobile qual.

 

Mobile surveys, mobile qual look to explode in 2012: GRIT report

A sneak peek at the 2012 Greenbook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report reveals an anticipation in the rise of mobile surveys this year.

That’s one of the highlights of a fascinating examination of what research firms anticipate and what clients see as the techniques that will drive market research budgets this year. The GRIT report, which will be published in the next few weeks, supports the idea that online communities and social media analytics will become a prominent and “mainstream” research technique, and research firms and clients both concur with that forecast.

Mobile surveys look to be at a tipping point. While actual use of mobile surveys in 2011 were around 20 percent (17 percent as reported by clients, and 24 percent as reported by research firms), expectations are much higher for usage in 2012. Fifty-three percent of clients expect to use mobile survey techniques, and 64 percent of research firms expect to do so.

Mobile survey usage may actually be underreported, according to the GRIT report, with budget that is actually going toward mobile being attributed to Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).

Mobile qualitative looks to undergo a big jump, as part of the shift toward mobile. With actual use somewhere around 13 percent in 2011, that number looks to accelerate upward in 2012. According to the report, 31 percent of clients, and 46 percent of research firms, expect to use mobile qualitative in 2012. 20|20 is at the forefront of this rise in mobile qualitative with the recent introduction of its second mobile qualitative application, QualBoard Mobile. QualBoard Mobile includes both a fully featured bulletin board access capability and an innovative new journaling application.

Mobile phone use while shopping is taking off

The habit of using cell phones while shopping — calling a friend, checking product reviews and comparing prices — is on the rise. Mobile usage has become an integral part of shopping in stores (the brick and mortar ones), according to Pew Research conducted in the month leading up to and in the month following Christmas.

More than 50 percent of Americans used their cell phones for one of those three activities: calling a friend, checking reviews or comparing prices. Unsurprisingly, the habit was more prevalent in Americans under the age of 50. Only 4 percent of Americans 65 and older were likely to use their cell phone while shopping.

This news raises interesting implications for mobile qualitative research. The ability to be engaged with shoppers in a manner that is truly natural and authentic to the way they shop, while they are shopping, is surely of massive interest to marketers.

What shoppers are doing after they read reviews or checking prices online is fascinating. In the study, about one-third (35 percent) bought from the store. Another third (37 percent) decided not to buy. The study revealed that 27 percent either bought online or at another store.

Mobile qualitative research will not be about reaching people while they are watching TV on the couch, clearly. It is increasingly used by researchers to analyze experiences, from seeing concerts to analyzing retail options.

Do you have stories about using mobile qualitative for dynamic experiences? Or do you have a client that you need to help with that type of research? In either case, we’d love to hear from you.

QualBoard Mobile…Born-On Date: February 1, 2012

Sometimes introducing a new product is a little like birthing a baby. There is a lot of excitement and expectation followed by some intense pain leading to pure joy and pride at the result.

Today, 20|20 Research has “birthed” QualBoard Mobile. It has been in development for a while, caused some pain as it came to fruition and has created tremendous pride here at 20|20 in the end product. QualBoard Mobile (QBM) is an innovation that delivers on the promise and expectations we have anticipated for mobile qualitative research.

QualBoard Mobile has two primary functions.

1. QBM allows mobile access for QualBoards. Using the QBM app, respondents participate in a QualBoard bulletin board discussion from anywhere using their mobile phone. This capability alone dramatically increases QualBoard’s research functionality. Participants can make entries from anywhere. More importantly, researchers can design projects that respondents can complete untethered from their PC.

2. QBM includes LifeNotes. LifeNotes is a true breakthrough because it enables participants to upload pictures, video and comments from their mobile device from anywhere at anytime. Because LifeNotes is outside the QualBoard Q&A, it can serve as a “streaming ethnography” recording moments and opinions throughout the day independent of the QualBoard structured discussion.

For pure “cool factor” I’m excited about the voice-to-text feature. Respondents can leave their comments using the voice-recognition feature of their mobile device and it is fully incorporated into QBM. No more hassle with those tiny keyboards! Plus, it simply makes participation easier.

Also pretty cool is the geo-tagging feature. With the respondent’s permission, the researcher can geo-tag each mobile entry that ties each entry to its location. Think of the implication for shop-alongs and other out-of-home experiences.

To round out the offering, 20|20 is also announcing its smart phone panel of 60,000+ potential respondents. 20|20 has been known for its recruiting and services for over 25 years. This is yet another example of our focus on helping our clients do better research.

Yes, its a proud day at 20|20. Thank you for being a part of it.

Learning from Social’s Influence on Mobile: Applications for Qualitative Research

As we discussed in a QualBlog post earlier this month, mobile qualitative research methods are becoming a necessary component of market research. With mobile’s ability to reach a diverse, global sample of participants in their real-time context, market researchers are avidly seeking ways to best use its capabilities to their advantage.

A recent TechJournal article, Social and Mobile Interplay a Major Consumer Trend, cites a Pivot Conference study that may provide a new way to approach mobile qualitative research efforts. According to the research, smartphone users are spending a large amount of their mobile-focused time on social media apps. Specifically, 30% of the apps accessed on an Android are social, while iPhone users devote a whopping 44% of their mobile access to social apps. Of all the apps available, Facebook Mobile dominates consumers’ time, with 83% using it. And the most commonly shared information among all social app consumers is music and video, with location check-ins as a close second.

What does this mean for market researchers? Consumers have now made it clear that they want their mobile space to revolve around engaging their social network, learning from others’ content and interacting directly with brands through a social exchange. And what’s more, they have proven that they will devote time to apps that meet this criteria.

Transferring these needs to qualitative market research could be the key to more successful mobile research. By creating an app that engages a participant’s social network, encourages the sharing of related content and gives incentives directly from the brands that the participant discusses and evaluates, market researchers may be able to position mobile users in their preferred mobile environment. The resulting app could provide a more interactive message board to keep participants actively engaged in the research studies in a way that would provide more valuable data and insights.

What else could we learn from to enhance mobile qualitative research’s capabilities?

Mobile’s Trajectory is Undeniable

Although traditional qualitative research methods remain highly useful and well received, constant technological innovations and trends are creating a new ground to adapt traditional methodologies and technology uses. In this new space, mobile trends are consistently reaching the forefront and are causing a pretty big stir within the industry.

In a recent Research Access article that transcribed a Market Research Trends 2012 webinar, panelists Leonard Murphy of the Greenbook Blog and Romi Mahajan of Metavana agreed that mobile will be a necessary market research component in the future. “Within the next two to three years, a device similar to– probably somewhat bigger than a iPhone, smaller than an iPad, will be the primary means of communication for our entire species, globally, period… So the impact of global cannot be underestimated, in particular in the emerging markets, because they will leapfrog the PC experience in almost it’s entirety. The growth of broadband and PC penetration in Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific is effectively already stopped. So there’s whole generations that will grow up that will look at a PC like we would look at a typewriter and just think it’s just an antiquated piece of technology. So their experience with communicating with each other and the world around them will be via this mobile device,” Murphy said.

Murphy believes that mobile’s true benefit lies in its ability to reach a large sample of research participants all around the world and at any time of the day or week. He anticipates that the future of participant sampling lies in a mobile app that allows users to opt into a virtual research panel and give their permission to send and receive certain amount of information. “That opens the door for an amazing opportunity to be able to engage with consumers 24/7/365, in most any situation that you can imagine, and to gain real feedback at the point of experience, whether that be at an event or while shopping or making purchases in a retail environment, whatever the case may be,” Murphy said. “We have the opportunity to engage them, if we make it a fun and rewarding and meaningful experience for them.”

Although the sampling capabilities are impressive, Mahajan, on the other hand, focuses on mobile’s ability to capture a participant within his or her context. He believes mobile’s best feature is its attachment to the consumer during the entire consumer experience. “For instance, if I leave a movie and I get on a mobile app to say if I like it or not, I’m right in the midst of that experience,” he said. “I’m in situ, as it were. And so when I think about mobile, I think about the fact that people are interacting on their mobile devices in a time and space in which their context is more profound, which is actually itself the benefit here.”

At 20/20, we agree wholeheartedly. If the goal of qualitative research is to gain access to the human emotional profile and how it affects our choices and behaviors, then this trend is an undeniable step in the right direction. And with our mobile research platform QualAnywhere, researchers can embrace consumers within their individual contexts to gain insights from real-time data.

How have you effectively used mobile in your qualitative research methods?

In 2012, All Signs Point to Qualitative Research

In a recent Greenbook Blog post entitled “Will 2012 Be the End of the (MR) World as We Know It?”, Greenbook Editor-in-Chief and CEO of RockHopper Research Leonard Murphy gave his predictions for market research trends and changes in 2012. Lenny’s prediction that qualitative will become even more important dovetails nicely with our view. As access to data grows, understanding the meaning behind the data becomes ever more important. Here is Lenny’s eloquent delivery: “Qualies rejoice; your time to shine is nigh! The skill sets of storytelling, connecting disparate data points to form recommendations, and applying the social sciences to understand human behavior will grow in importance. Driven by the demand from brands to truly understand consumers and enabled by the growth of communities, virtual ethnography, ‘Big Data’ analytics, etc… some one will have to step up to make sense of the implications, and researchers grounded in qualitative techniques are well positioned to fill this need.”

At 20/20, we’re doing just that: rejoicing. With many of our online research technology products, we are already prepared to offer easy online qualitative solutions for many of Murphy’s predictions. Of the ten trends he identifies, we are very much on top of at least 3 of them.

1. Surveys get smart: Murphy predicts that surveys will move away from the traditional format of discrete ad hoc surveys that pose 30 questions or more in one sitting. He foresees surveys changing into “broad tracking systems that dynamically create targeted questions based on the synthesis of consumer data from social media, panelist profiles, CRM, POS, and any other data source we can get our hands on.” Already, 20/20’s technology product QualLink offers seamless integration of traditional quantitative surveys with a qualitative online bulletin board discussion. With this product, simple quantitative survey results are used to create hybrid quant-to-qual research, transforming a traditional survey’s capabilities and insights.

2. Once more, with feeling: “As technologies that help us understand emotional decision making mature and new approaches come to market, the merger with behavioral economics models will become the norm. Whether biometric/neuro/facial or cognitive modelling based, brands will be investing heavily in the quest for the Holy Grail: understanding the levers of choice and learning to optimize their offerings based on those drivers,” Murphy said. While stated opinions and preferences will still play a role in market research, technology like our QualBoard 3.0 that accommodates nonverbal, physical cues through webcam videos will help researchers gather all the richness of a participant’s response – body language, tone of voice and emotion.

3. Mobile, mobile, mobile: From Murphy’s viewpoint, mobile will be the defining technology of the next five years, which will greatly affect all market research. At 20/20, we’ve anticipated this trend by offering QualAnywhere, a mobile platform that allows researchers to collect real-time data through texting and picture messaging.

Surprise! Technology Considered Driver of Change in Market Research Industry

To celebrate its 25-year anniversary, Quirk’s posed a series of questions about how far market research has come—and where it’s headed— to a handful of industry veterans. The answers are published in the current issue. The consensus? Technology, technology, technology—and did we mention technology?

The experts agreed that technology has had the greatest influence (some negative, but mostly positive) on the industry, citing things like the Internet (hard to believe we ever lived without it, right?) and mobile phones.

But just as research companies are getting used to using the PC to conduct online qualitative research projects, participants are starting to prefer tools like smartphones and tablets. As Jay Mace of
Charleston, W.Va,-based McMillion Research puts it, “We must be prepared for the change or we will lose touch with the staple of our existence as researchers – the consumer opinion. We must meet consumers where they are.”

But that doesn’t mean embracing technology and all of the new tools available in the qualitative researcher’s toolbox just for the sake of using them. As Ron Sellers of Phoenix-based Grey Matter Research and Consulting explains, “We have so many more creative options for qualitative – video diaries, online picture sorts, mobile MR, etc. The challenge, as with any new tools, is learning to use them in a way that actually makes a difference, rather than just using them ‘cause they’re cool.’”

If you have the time, you should definitely read the whole article, which also covers the topic of “Where did we blow it?”

Finally, congratulations to Quirk’s on 25 years. We’re impressed…maybe because we turned 25 this year, too!

Mobile Qualitative Research Growth Strong, Say GreenBook Survey Respondents

The results of of the latest GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) survey are out, and the news is good for mobile qualitative research. Ten percent of respondents — including both research buyers and providers — reported using mobile qualitative research techniques this year, while another 10 percent used mobile ethnographies.

Perhaps more impressive, respondents say these areas will more than double in growth in 2012:

• Twenty-two percent of research buyers or clients say they’ll use mobile qualitative next year, while 28 percent of research providers expect to use it.

• Twenty percent of research buyers or clients say they’ll use mobile ethnographies in 2012, while 24 percent of research providers expect to use it.

Note that client-side researchers are leading with utilizing these techniques. “This indicates that possibly buyers will be centering their relationships around vendors who can offer these methods, and it is likely that in many cases that means they will be working with non-traditional suppliers, many of which may not even consider themselves within the market research space,” suggests report author Leonard Murphy. “This is certainly in line with current thinking of many industry leaders about the emergence of new competitive forces that are encroaching upon the traditional ‘insights’ field.”

Need a primer on mobile qualitative research? Check out our free eBook, The Essential Guide to Mobile Qualitative Research: Tips & techniques for using mobile devices for on-the-go qualitative research.

What We Learned at ESOMAR Congress

The following is a guest post from Steve Henke, 20|20 president, who was in Amsterdam earlier this week for the ESOMAR Congress. Here are his thoughts from the last two days of the conference:

Days 2 and 3 at the ESOMAR stayed busy… though everyone seemed to get a later start on these days. Clearly, many of the delegates were taking advantage of the evening social activities and just Amsterdam itself (which, by the way, is an incredible city!).

What we heard in the booth stayed consistent with the the first two days… “We’re interested in online qual and know that it’s time to get involved.” In fact, when I got back to my office this morning, there were already several messages from attendees at the Congress – anxious to get started with us!

Interestingly, the content of the Congress didn’t really reflect this sentiment. There were only a couple sessions covering either online qualitative research or mobile qualitative research. I thought that was odd. The hot topic was gamification – using game-playing to engage participants at a higher level. Seems to me a little like putting the cart before the horse.

But all in all, it was a good and valuable 4 days. Next year’s Congress will be held in Atlanta. We’ll see you there.

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