woensdag 3 februari 2016

Market Research Digitization part 3: the rise of mobile

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. Today, we focus on the impact of mobile.

With smartphone and mobile internet penetration hitting 75% in Europe and the Americas (Source: ComScore), we arrived in the mobile era already some time ago. Mobile has often impact beyond obvious observations, for example on consumer shopper behavior. When shopping, consumers use their phones to compare prices, ask for advice or take pictures of products & advertisements (GfK global consumer survey, 2015).

Mobile did however not only change what the path to purchase looks like, but also what’s actually being spend: an average online shopper basket on a computer is worth about € 110, an average smartphone basket only contains a value of € 50 (GfK Belgium, BeCommerce Market Monitor, 2015). This device diversity has huge implications for the online strategy of retailers.

There are two stories to the mobile challenge for market research: on one hand, we need to face threats of research participants using their mobile for research, on the other hand we need to leverage mobile and seize the opportunities as good as possible. I will give an example of a mobile threat (survey respondent) and a mobile opportunity (location based research).

Survey research participation on mobile has impact on set-up, data collection, dropout rates, results ... An important threat is the swipe effect, which raises issues if answer options on a survey question (single or multiple choice) are not all visible on one screen ( i.e., one has to scroll or swipe down to see all the options).

Randomization of answer options might offer a solution to validate relative scores between the options (for example, Coca-cola is better known than Kellogg’s), but not for hard KPIs: Coca Cola aided awareness on computer hits 98%, while on mobile - if only visible after scrolling down, it drops to 88%. The contrary is true as well: top swipeline items tend to score better on mobile.

Source: GfK Belgium, n = 5444, 2014

Thinking mobile (first) and optimizing research for mobile should be any researcher’s concern nowadays. Survey research is only a part of it, it’s the part where we face the challenge of transforming our traditional approach to new devices used by participants. On the other hand, we can also leverage the power of mobile via "research on the go", "research in the moment", "mobile communities" or "location based research".

Researchers or clients often think about location based research in a complicated way (beacons, GPS ...), but one of the best use cases of location based research with mobile might just be TripAdvisor: from location feedback without mobile (evaluate us when you get home) to location based research leveraging the always connected consumer (a poster that says: "evaluate us now").

The mobile evolution: rate us when you get home VS rate us now

The mobile evolution triggers us into thinking mobile (first), but we should be careful to avoid thinking 'mobile only'. An omni-channel research experience, or a device-neutral set-up, should be the starting point.

In the last post of this series, I will dig deeper into the role of mobile in the device mix and the consequences of device switching behavior. For more information or an extended version, feel free to reach out!

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