Archive for the ‘Mobile Research’ Category
Following the launch of Google Consumer Surveys, Simi Dhawan offers her thoughts on this new way of gauging consumer opinion
Every month, here at B2B International, we hold a working Lunch & Learn meeting for all executives. This serves as a sort of groupthink discussion into ways of advancing the business, whilst raising collective awareness of hot topics (think ‘Big Data’ or ‘Mobile Research’).
Last month, having just launched our B2C arm ‘Deep See’, it was not surprising that the recent commence of Google’s Consumer Surveys tool cropped up. Similar to ads, a business pays Google in order to construct a self-designed short survey that reaches consumer audiences by being embedded within publisher sites (e.g. Adweek) with access to select consumers/readers, who can be targeted accordingly. Whilst readers browse articles, a short survey question will pop up and readers are then introduced with the trade-off between answering the question (taking a few seconds of their time) in return for gaining access to the premium content they are seeking. Publishers then receive a percentage of what Google charges the business who is commissioning the research – a ‘win-win’ money-making model.
Figure 1: Google Consumer Surveys Homepage – www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys
Whilst one reader, in response to James Verrinder’s article about the tool within Research Live magazine, exclaimed:
‘I think everyone in the industry just peed their pants,’
this is not entirely true. Whilst any new (and mass) means of data collection does of course stir up a gossip frenzy, it does not mean that we are cashing in our chips or drawing up a panic-ridden contingency career plan just yet.
In truth, I admire Google for recognising this opportunity, which looks as though it could potentially provide a more cost-efficient alternative for smaller businesses with limited resources from which to commission what might otherwise be a full-scale and detailed research programme. However, whilst it is well suited to short, quantitative surveys (more comparable to a ‘dip your toe in the water’ polling survey), this type of research is not without limitations…..and more specifically, it is of little current value for the B2B researcher (as its name implies).
Whilst Consumer Surveys is able to target respondents based on basic demographics i.e. age, gender and census region, it can go no further than this. Moreover, if the total survey length is 3 short questions, then another limitation of the tool is that each question is actually answered by a different person, rather than allowing a single individual to complete all of the questions (which places the validity of any cross-analysis into question). More than this, there are time restrictions. Should you need the survey completing within a certain timeframe then this option may need careful consideration as it is directly related to many factors and, as such, difficult to predict (e.g. from the sensitivity of questions and the screening criteria to publisher site content and competing surveys in existence at the time).
However, whilst understanding these limitations might push our noses back into joint and release us from any emotional whiplash incurred from the initial revelation of Google’s move into the market research industry, one point worth noting is that this will not be the only application Google launches in this space – and the likelihood is that this will cause a ripple in terms of sparking others to think of new, innovative measures to harness insight from ‘Big Data’.
Emma Flood’s latest Business Surgery assesses the potential of ‘m-research’
As a regular visitor to the MRS’s news website, research-live.com, I was interested to read further about some of the prominent developments in technology, and how this is evolving aspects of market research, such as methods of data collection. One area which struck me as having future potential in both B2C and B2B markets was that of mobile research.
For those not privy to mobile research, or m-research as I’ll abbreviate, this is most easily explained as a (dare I say it) “traditional” online survey, but using the respondents’ mobile phone as the medium rather than their laptop or desktop. Respondents can be asked to participate either through their smartphone (for web-based surveys for mobile browsers) or standard mobile phone (using SMS/WAP surveys); accessing surveys through SMS invitations, email invitations, QR codes and social media promotions.
Indeed, we at B2B International have already conducted a proportion of our online surveys via respondents’ mobile phones, where the respondent has chosen to do it via their smartphone. However, m-research potentially offers much more than just a different modality for collecting online research data, which is worth exploration and evaluation.
Many argue that it offers a richer experience, and adds extra layers. In addition to surveys, respondents can share creative feedback via photos, videos, texts and more. It also allows real-time connection with respondents, whereby the researcher can “watch” respondents interact with products in their home and gain insights where and when purchase decisions are made.
These benefits appear more akin to B2C research, in evaluating shopper experience and ethnographic research such as shopper diaries. However as m-research evolves, it is likely that these applications will begin to also bring benefit to B2B market research.
Still in its infancy, m-research take-up has so far been limited with just 2% of market research data collected via the mobile phone (1% through telephone interviewing via respondents’ mobile phone, and 1% via data collection inputted into respondents’ mobile phone). However, given that current mobile phone penetration is estimated at more than 80% globally, compared to 25% for internet access, I would certainly expect this to be a growth area over the next few years and something not to be ignored by the market researcher. Indeed, upon reading Reineke Reitsma’s 2011 closing article for research-live.com, she describes how m-research gained traction in 2011…
Given that m-research is still in its infancy and we are yet to see its full application for market research, we still have questions over how this can best be implemented for B2B and B2C research – but watch this space…
*To read the full article click here.