The digitization of market research (and the society) has been a hot topic for a couple of years now: the year of mobile, the year of big data, the year of social ... we have had them all. Most organizations (and research agencies) have a digital department in some way.
All (digital) evolutions of marketing and market research are however triggered by a consumer trend. In this series of 4 posts, I will share my thoughts on the evolutions of the past years and the impact on market research. This last post will provide insights on the impact of device switching behavior of consumers.
It didn’t take consumers too long to use digital and mobile devices to their advantage. Today, many families or persons have access to more than one device, but it would be too easy to assume all devices are used for the same purposes. Research found that consumers feel a different connection to each device, and each device plays a distinct role.
Generally, there are 3 categories (but keep in mind that a lot of devices are seeking out gray areas: phablets, netbooks, hybrid tablets ...).
- Smartphone, the on-the-go traffic generator: used for communication and social media, it’s the device that keeps us in touch. More than any device, the smartphone is often the first touch point in a consumer journey.
- Tablet, the shared entertainment center: mostly used at home by multiple people. Half of the tablets sold are used as a shared device.
- Computer, the workhorse: when people need to be productive, need to get things done or need to be efficient, they turn to their computer.
A common way to measure campaign impact is analyzing click through behavior. Measuring clicks is however not the same as measuring sales or a change in mindset. Therefor we evolved towards cookie measurement in the past years, to measure actual ad exposure and impact (see also part 2, the shift to observed behavior).
Source: GfK and Facebook (two major challenges for digital campaign measurement)
This cookie approach suits a world where an individual person uses a single device to access the internet and all digital ad contacts can be observed upon that device. We know by now that this is not the reality: consumers use and switch between different devices multiple times a day. Next to this issue, cookies fall short when measuring advertisement in mobile applications such as Facebook or Instagram.
Marketing shifted towards a people-based approach, so should researchIn order to deliver personal, relevant content and advertising, marketing shifted to people-based marketing. Research should embrace this consumer-based approach and look for real identities as well, instead of limiting ourselves to campaign based research with cookie tagging or click measurement.
image: people based measurement
By combining data (integration is key!) and insights from a consumer point of view and implementing cross-media research, we can measure impact more precisely and advice manufacturers, retailers, media agencies ... on optimal resource allocation, depending on their soft & hard KPIs.
In June 2015, GfK and Facebook won the IAB Europe research award with a breakthrough pilot, researching the impact of a more engaging, creative TV format versus digital ad exposure. Today we should be ready to make this innovation a standard practice.