March 22, 2019

4 Reasons why the future of research is mobile

Written by Zinklar in #Research

When we first started thinking about Zinklars’ platform, we wanted to support agile companies by reaching an ambitious standard: to get market research results in 3 hours. When we managed to do so, we realised that what helped us achieve that goal was our commitment to mobile panels. We had opted to go fully mobile for a few reasons, and haven’t looked back on our decision since.

It’s now been years that our research is exclusively mobile panel based, and it’s given us an insight into why they’ll be defining the future of market research.

Instant access and real-time responses

In the UK, we spend between 2h to 4h per day on our phones (Ofcom). That means that we’re much more available on mobile. If you think about it, that’s their ‘raison d’être’. Mobiles allow us to be accessible at any time and in any place, which becomes a massive perk for market research. Think of push notifications, addictive apps and the tendency to be caught up in our phones 24/7. For market studies, it means that mobile panel members are available throughout the day and will answer surveys more quickly than those that depend on desktop or other.

To get the full advantage of this availability, we’ve also put in a lot of time into creating a better, non intrusive survey experience, that’s enjoyable for the consumer and good for your data. It means that panels are responsive, and their members associate our surveys with positive survey experiences. This system is the key behind getting your data visualised in real-time. At Zinklar, it also dawned on us that mobile panels help us to find the right sample, access more diverse profiles, and launch research that will see higher completion rates, at any point of the day. This combination of things means each study is completed faster, is more affordable, and will give you more accurate insights.

Better data from more people, at a lesser cost

Struggling to fill up surveys with enough answers has become a frequent issue for traditional research companies. People aren’t as willing to participate in market research surveys, and it’s becoming harder to find participants. Adding to this issue, the industry has a habit of applying too many quotas (i.e. too many conditions to the type of person that should answer the survey within the sample), slowing down research and increasing costs. We end up exhausting research panels, sending dozens of survey invites to respondents that don’t answer, spending money and getting a low return, and so on. All these factors not only drive research costs up, but also lower the quality of results. Mobile, on the other hand, gives you direct access to the niche you need, from ‘gin consumers’ to ‘car purchase intenders’, all while limiting costs and collecting data faster. We’ve also noticed that it’s a better way to overcome the digital divide, which leads us to our next point.

Actually representative panels

The purpose of quantitative market research is to give you insights you can trust and act on. To do that, they have to be statistically significant and collected from national representative samples. This means that the data doesn’t distort reality and isn’t accidental or limited to that sample. That’s why representative samples and statistically significant insights are an essential part of market research.

In the past, online research had been viewed with some scepticism in the industry, because researchers couldn’t be confident that the data they collected was coming from the right person, or if the person lied to access the reward associated with taking a survey. Nowadays, panel companies take a lot of measures to make sure survey participants are honest: they look at their behaviour through a survey, the consistency of their answers, and strike them after too many flags have been raised about their sincerity. But mobile panels are more confidently representative than any other, because there are more members in the panel, more diverse profiles, and we can collect more data. They’re easier to curate mobile panels, and have therefore started setting the bar for panel quality.

Discovering consumer habits – as they happen

We’re not exaggerating when we say real-time. Precisely because we spend so much time on our phones, you’ll be able to talk to consumers as they’re carrying out an activity. Mobile research fundamentally changes diary studies, how we study consumption moments or any studies that need to connect with consumers as the action is happening. For example, we can now send out surveys on Sunday afternoons and ask consumers about what they’re doing, with who, where and why. It’s revolutionary in designing new methodologies and collecting more and better data for our studies. We’re not the first ones to note this, Niall Smith notes that to do mobile research right, researchers now talk to consumers in the present tense rather than the past tense, finding out about context and opinions in real-time (Insight Platforms). Another promise for research quality, as respondents don’t depend on memory, which research shows is often flawed, exaggerated or outright false.

In conclusion

Market Research is changing, and the role of mobile is an important driving factor of this change. In the future, we wouldn’t be surprised if the sensors in mobile technology allowed us to explore insights as they’ve never been explored before, which won’t depend on self-reporting or can complement your surveys. Right now, these were the main reasons we chose to go fully mobile. Will you? Let us know!

 

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