Mobile Expansion Continues

6th August, 2014

Phone exuding iconsThe mobile MR market continues to expand at an exceptional rate. Fuelled by consistently rising sales of smartphones, vastly improved global connectivity and the willingness of consumers to engage with the platform itself, mobile has completed its transition from new technology to the forefront of all things MR.

Will it continue? According to #newMR blog author, Ray Poynter, it is a resounding yes – but he does layer his agreement with caveats centred on realistic growth and the potential pitfalls awaiting the platform. The evolution of mobile has already moved our expectations of market research into new territory: consumer engagement, location aware insights and surveying and measurement of media sources are just a fraction of the mobile analytics toolkit now available, in turn providing market researchers massively enhanced opportunities to understand consumer behaviours as they happen.

We have long understood that mobile has shifted our interaction with consumers toward increasingly personalised, location aware interactions. However, we also understand that not all market research requires this level of personalisation and that in many cases the research can be completed from anywhere with a network connection. In addition to these personalised services, the emergence of direct chat applications such as SnapChat and WhatsApp provide another new mobile MR angle for researchers to utilise if consumers wish to engage.

These chat platforms can be harnessed to explore media sources in focus groups, or even as a simple method for sending survey reminders, allowing for ease of communication to larger groups with the potential for increased response rates. Mobile messaging systems such as these are still relatively new to the MR toolkit but with uptake amongst the 18-29 age bracket estimated at 26%, an engagement time higher than WhatsApp and only marginally lower than Twitter, there is clearly massive potential in what is considered a difficult market to reach.

The shift of engagement to mobile devices has certainly piqued the interest of market researchers. So it should: the promise of outstanding personalised, location aware insight continues to allure. That is not to say that now mobile is here and continuing to expand, market research is all sewn up. One only has to look at the concerted efforts throughout the last few years of the major technology players to realise their multiplatform potential, moving their applications across multiple screens to provide continual access points throughout the average consumer’s day. Bombarding the consumer with attempts to gain feedback will of course drive the participant away, but the success of the major brands in providing multiple access points holds true (consider the rise of Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn) and should yield positive engagement rates.

We will not suddenly become omniscient, or even omnipresent in our participants lives. We will gradually increase our understanding of how mobile affects our participant’s interaction with their world, with their products, in their homes – on their terms. It is important to maintain respectful security via mutual consent between all interested parties because we want insight, not surveillance.

And after all, if we are too close, valuable insight is lost anyway.