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Study Compares Recall Versus In-the-Moment Surveys

Posted by admin on Mar 7, 2017 9:29:28 AM




If you want to know what consumers buy, you’d better not hesitate to ask. Because if you don’t ask fast enough, your data will fall into a recall gap – the chasm that opens when you rely on days-old (or weeks-old) memories instead of capturing consumer sentiment when the experience is fresh in mind.


That’s the takeaway from a comparative study MFour conducted to explore how memory decay impacts data reliability. The results underscore how using GPS-enabled technology lets you reach the right consumers in the right place at the right time for insights that can truly drive the right business decisions.


The study involved fielding essentially the same mobile survey to two demographically similar groups of 200 consumers. GeoLocation told us that our first group had been shopping that very day in at least one of the five retailer categories in the study – grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores, membership club stores, and mass merchants.


These panelists were identified inside specific stores and received in-app push notifications just as they walked out the door to learn about their shopping experiences. The non-GeoLocated control group was asked about most recent shopping experiences in the same store types – which may have occurred days, weeks, or even months earlier.


Key Findings

  • When asked to state whether they had purchased products in any of eight general categories (beverages, personal care, etc.) during their most recent store visit, all 200 GeoLocated respondents named one or more categories. Not one of them selected the “Don’t know/Can’t remember” option.
  • That contrasts with 28% of the non-GeoLocated control group who said they could not remember which product categories they’d purchased during their most recent store visit.
  • There were also significant gaps when it came to recalling the brands our respondents had bought. The GeoLocated group had a brand recall advantage for 13 of 16 specific product types.
  • Notable brand recall gaps include differences of 23.8% for facial cleansers, 14.1% for juices, 13.4% for feminine hygiene products, 12.3% for shampoos/conditioners, and 10.1% for snack chips.



Talking to consumers when an experience is fresh in mind is crucial for obtaining accurate data about any kind of experience. Exploiting GeoLocation and other key smartphone features takes you as close to the moment of purchasing truth as you can get without tagging along in person. This is why a Point of Emotion® response, capturing data the moment when information is at its most memorable, is the most reliable way to understand what consumers really think.


To learn more about how to keep your research from falling into the recall gap, just reach out by clicking And be sure to check the MFour blog throughout the week for more insights from this study.

Topics: MFour Blog

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