Market research exists to dispel myths and misconceptions about consumer behavior and replace them with validated facts. So it’s not only important, but extremely appropriate, to dispel the myth that “mobile optimized” research represents a step forward for researchers who need to respond effectively to the smartphone revolution.
The “mobile optimized” myth is based on the notion that mobile research is merely a one-size-fits-all commodity, rather than a highly-specialized process that requires advanced technology engineered specifically for surveys fielded to phones and tablets. Here’s the distinction that busts the myth: commodity-grade “mobile optimized” surveys shoehorn the same old online methodology into a mobile interface. True advanced-mobile research, however, takes place in a mobile app. “Mobile optimized” offers nothing technologically intrinsic to smartphones – it just uses them as generic devices to connect users to online surveys.
The term you need to understand for using mobile technology to collect consumer data is “native app” – an app that turns a survey into an intrinsic feature of the smartphone, harnessing the vast capabilities that have made smartphones today’s definitive information and communications technology. Let’s consider the factual basis for evaluating the myth of “mobile optimization.”
- 78% of American adults own smartphones, including 92% of Millennials (Pew Research Center).
- Millennials average 3.5 to 4 hours per day using mobile apps. The average for all U.S. adults is nearly 2.5 hours a day. (comScore)
- The comScore study concludes that “smartphone apps…already account for the vast majority of total mobile…time spent and are gaining share among every segment of the market.”
How does this impact mobile research? Because they require an Internet connection, “mobile optimized” online surveys take time to load in – and smartphone users won’t tolerate waits of more than two seconds. Native in-app surveys load instantly and don’t require a connection to the Internet. There’s no risk of a dropped Internet connection that’s likely to frustrate and disengage panelists, reducing your chances for fast, high-quality completes.
So don’t be tempted to mistake “mobile optimized” for true, technologically advanced mobile. And don’t fall for the myth that all mobile research is created equal. There are other myths about mobile to explode. So please check out this week’s MFour blog for more about the myths you’ve probably heard, weighed against what you really need to know. And for full details about mobile research opportunities and solutions, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.