4 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Mobile Research

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1. Collect video narratives about consumer experiences.

Most people like telling stories, but hate to write open-ended responses. Many can’t be bothered to put forth the time and energy that writing requires. This is part of the reason open-ended questions can yield lackluster answers. People are naturally oral storytellers, and mobile video or audio diaries give people them the chance to do just that. Plus, in-the-moment storytelling encourages honest, authentic feedback.

2. Identify patterns in product usage among customers.

Consumers have all types of different needs and reasons for purchasing products. Consider a recent study of electric vehicle owners in which a client learned how and why their users chose different battery recharging models for their homes. Cost, automobile use, and home electrical setup were just some of the factors that impacted their decisions. But each consumer’s story was unique. See for yourself in the Morpace video.

3. Reach consumers at the moment they are interfacing with a product.

PCs don’t travel well. But mobile is a different story. According to Nielsen, smartphones now make up 64 percent of mobile usage in the U.S., which means it’s easier than ever to reach consumers wherever they are located. By setting up a virtual parameter around a specific location—a technique known as geofencing—we can now send surveys to consumers when they are shopping, waiting in line for coffee, or right after grabbing lunch. This helps researchers learn what consumers are thinking, when they are thinking it. In other words, with mobile, consumer feedback is not filtered or obscured by the passage of time and limitations of memory. You get pure, uninhibited first impressions.

4. Learn where your product’s weak points are and why.

You threw hours of research, testing, and dollars at a new enclosure system on your shredded cheese packaging. Well, guess what? Consumers are taking the scissors to it. You could poll consumers to find out why, but the reasoning might be difficult to articulate. Mobile research could allow you to collect hundreds of videos of people opening the product, so you get down to the small nuances in product interface that could be contributing to the problem. That kind of intimate knowledge could take months upon months to gather in person. With mobile, only a few weeks.

Jared Smith is the content marketing manager for uSamp. He has worked as an editor and content strategist in both the publishing and marketing industries for nearly a decade. His writing has appeared in Rangefinder, AfterCapture, and Orbit. Follow him on Twitter @jared_usamp.

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