20th May, 2014
The transition of mobile research as ‘the next big thing’ to a tool we cannot do without has passed. In fact, the limitations of traditional research through the mobile channel are being left behind as researchers optimise mobile engagement techniques. And it is a rapidly developing platform. Even from the genesis of current mobile research technologies (smartphones, consumer/researcher interaction, in the moment video qual) we see the platform merging explicit and implicit consumer insight through enhanced capturing techniques.
We often hear that great companies offer experiences, rather than just goods and a service. Capturing the realities involved with an experience can be difficult: consumer memory actively degrades as soon as the moment has ended and at time we struggle to contextualise our emotions when engaged in a given process. Engaging consumers instantaneously through mobile surveying has helped bridge that gap, allowing researchers unprecedented access into explicit opinions whilst potentially navigating any issues with consumer recall. Reducing statements of ‘can’t say/won’t say’ from market and social research interactions certainly delivers the range of required insight without impacting on the participant’s daily routine, reducing the need for follow up or extended lines of questioning.
Progressive research technology companies are further extending mobile capture modes. Without attempting to intimidate participants with potentially invasive software on their mobile devices, significant advances to implicit measurement techniques have made capturing and contextualising information through this channel viable. There is potential growth in this niche of market research. Capturing implicit signals through physiological imprints opens a potent door of opportunity – but also requires the technology and as such, the measurement tools in place to be calibrated extremely carefully to provide clear statistical feedback.
Measurement sensitivities range according to the technologies ability to capture e.g. current generation smartphones are able to monitor and provide feedback looping on facial recognition and eye movement, both of which can betray differences between thought and speech for a participant. As handheld devices evolve (and in something we are already seeing with wearable technology) is continual physical monitoring, relayed to the smartphone and uploaded to dashboard for self-analysis. Contextualising the responses of an individual with their implicit physiological reactions supports long term measurement of emotional engagement in a given subject and, over time, can be updated and contrasted with questions later in the day, month or year.
Being able to measure the implicit responses to an engagement provide researchers opportunity to discover the driving behavioural factors behind decision making. Understanding the catalogue of behaviours preceding and following an engagement event is an investment in itself, where understanding and applying behavioural and psychological models of consumer insight can only further contextualise participant feedback. Consumer patterns of interaction once processed provide data, and combining physical data with humanist information validates the importance of both methods of research. The capture of implicit consumer feedback is just this: the merging of research, data and technology. Data capitalisation arrives in many formats where innovative techniques are taking hold, and the merging of implicit and explicit data will begin to transcend traditional offerings if researchers can effectively manage the privacy of their participants.
This format of research is touted as becoming the only mode worth utilising for coherent, to the point consumer insight. However, the medium is only as good as the researcher using it. The mobile platform we practice within has become standardised as smartphone uptake continues to rise. The unrivalled reach to billions of potential participants, the underlying communications infrastructure and a social mentality of information projection has nurtured an epoch where mobile digital is king.
How long before the implicit research capturing techniques become de facto?