25 Ideas to Free Your Mind for Mobile Market Research

Human BrainOne of the best features of mobile surveys is that often they offer the ability to collect data in the situation being measured. It is notoriously difficult for respondents to self-report behavior post hoc. Using mobile devices to collect data in the situation being measured will in many cases yield better data.

Surely there are numerous instances where mobile surveys could improve data accuracy. However, I think we’re not nearly creative enough when it comes to imagining real-world applications for mobile surveys.

I decided to challenge myself to free my mind and to come up with a list of as many applications as possible where mobile surveys would increase accuracy.

My results are below.

Some of the items are based on real projects about which I’m aware, while others were invented from whole cloth.

Start freeing your own mind by challenging yourself to think about practical applications for mobile surveys.  Let me know how it goes, and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below.

  1. A bank collects customer satisfaction data among users at various branches using surveys triggered by geolocation.
  2. A restaurant chain collects customer feedback at the cash register via surveys delivered on tablet devices.
  3. An environmental non-profit deploys volunteers to report on conditions in a series of field locations via a mobile survey that allows geolocation input as well as video, audio and photographic input.
  4. A retail chain recruits customers in-store to a mobile panel.
  5. A coffee franchise gives free samples of a test product in-store and respondents provide feedback via mobile device.
  6. A government agency offers a mobile survey option to complement its normal paper-and-pencil surveys.
  7. A television network collects live feedback during their programming.
  8. A consumer packaged goods company collects ongoing data about product usage, including photographs, videos and audio captured on mobile devices.
  9. A company operating a fleet of vehicles has drivers report data on their experience and vehicle condition via their mobile devices.
  10. A computer equipment manufacturer recruits a panel of IT decision makers to take very brief periodic surveys via mobile device.
  11. A theme park trains its employees to collect customer satisfaction studies at various rides using tablets.
  12. A restaurant recruits customers to participate in a mobile ideation session after finishing a meal.
  13. A beverage company conducts a mall intercept study using interviewers equipped with tablet devices.
  14. A school booster club periodically solicits feedback from busy parents regarding fundraising initiatives.
  15. A conference producer incentivizes event attendees to download a conference feedback app incorporating surveys with location-based push notifications.
  16. A vacation resort collects feedback via smartphone among vacationers who visit select locations within each resort.
  17. A manufacturer of backpacks asks youth and teens to give qualitative feedback and take photographs about how they use backpacks in their daily lives.
  18. A government agency moves from laptops to tablets for all their CAPI projects.
  19. A transit agency conducts mobile ridership surveys among passengers recruited via posters throughout the route system.
  20. A politician invites participants in a town meeting to take a survey to provide feedback, including mobile surveys as a feedback option.
  21. A game developer incorporates online feedback into its mobile offerings.
  22. A managed care company collects post-appointment patient feedback for doctor’s offices within its network.
  23. A grocery chain recruits customers to opt-in to allow their mobile device to create a “snail trail” showing their movement throughout a store.
  24. A university collects feedback from students on campus special events when they happen.
  25. An automotive company recruits panelists to test drive certain models and provide mobile feedback post-drive.
And I wasn’t even done!  After conducting this exercise I have more ideas than ever.
Please share your ideas in the comments section below.


About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.


  1. Great list Dana. That is one of the most powerful aspects of mobile; it is incredibly flexible and seems to be only limited by our imaginations. I can’t think of another technology or consumer trend that creates as many possibilities for truly getting close to the consumer on a scalable level.

  2. Mark Michelson says:

    Excellent starter list Dana! In addition to these occasions for using mobile MR, there are excellent uses for using mobile to collect field data in industries such as mystery shopping and merchandising. I’ve also seen several clients deploying mobile ethnography applications among their employees.

  3. Thanks, Mark!


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