Don't Underestimate what Mobile News Consumption Means to Market Research

Posted by MFour on Aug 23, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Blog mobile news 22Aiug18

Should the news that news consumption is overwhelmingly mobile matter to marketing pros and the market research industry? Should it matter to skiers whether there’s snow on the mountain?

For good reason, news organizations are scrambling to meet consumers on mobile, because that’s where news consumers have gone. Those who’ve been able to offer a great mobile product are gaining readership and revenue, while those who can’t seem to get mobile right continue to fade. Similarly, amid industry-wide malaise in market research caused by falling survey participation and crumbling data quality, it’s past time to go all-in with mobile data-collection and get it right. There’s simply no other way forward.

Pew Research Center’s most recent checkup on the state of news consumption underscores that it’s no longer news that mobile has taken over in nearly every phase of life. Skiers who are trying to stay upright during a downhill run may be among the few identifiable groups who are certain not to be using their smartphones at any moment. Or so one hopes.

As snow is to skiers, mobile is to the job of trying to understand consumers. It’s simply the medium in which information activity occurs. Without snow, there’s no skiing. Without mobile news publication, there’s no audience. Without mobile consumer data, there’s no way to understand consumers. And without a way to understand consumers, the news about market research and the businesses that depend on it for smart decision-making probably won’t be good.

Here are key data points from Pew’s study, which was conducted in 2017.

  • 58% of U.S. adults often consume news on mobile, compared to 39% on personal computers.
  • Mobile news consumption rose 176% from 2013 to 2017, compared to an 11% increase over the four years in news access via laptops and desktops.
  • Younger news audiences are even more heavily invested in mobile: 71% of 18- to 29-year-olds say they often get news on mobile, as do 67% of 30- to 49-year-olds.
  • In fact, among 17 demographic segments Pew focused on in its summary, spanning age, gender, race, income, education and political party, just one group, respondents over 65, said they most often used PCs rather than mobile to get the news.

To make a long story short, consumer insights pros and the decision-makers who depend on them for data they can trust need to focus on three key words: “GET MOBILE RIGHT.”

Start with that as your motivation, and we’ll help you get where you need to go. To set up a productive conversation about how to get mobile right as you seek solutions to your projects’ specific needs (including adding mobile to trackers), just click here.

Topics: mobile research, market research, consumer insights, data quality, surveys, consumer experience

Inconveniencing Consumers Is a Killer for  Market Research, Too

Posted by MFour on Aug 15, 2018 12:22:17 PM

Blog Consumer Inconvenience 14Aug18

Here’s a consumer insight that retailers can etch in stone: if you don't make shopping easy and convenient, consumers will abandon you, and competitors who do it better will swoop in and grab them and their wallets for themselves.

A recent RetailDive mobile commerce newsletter gives further evidence that inconvenience is a killer. It reports a recent study by Splitit, a digital payments solutions company, in which  87% of online shoppers surveyed said they would abandon their shopping carts during checkout if the process was too difficult – with 55% saying they would never return.

Inconvenience also is a killer for consumer research, because consumer research is, in fact, a B2C sell. If this assertion surprises you, it’s time to take a broader view. 

Yes, consumer research is, of course, a B2B transaction between research suppliers and their clients. But what’s being supplied and bought is consumer data. And there will be no consumer data, or at least none worth having, if you fail to sell consumers on providing it in an engaged and thoughtful way. So before it can become a B2B offering, consumer research needs to be a B2C success. 

If you make it inconvenient for consumers to access research experiences and fail to make those experiences easy and enjoyable, you’ll end up with the equivalent of those abandoned online shopping carts – too few consumers, too little reliable data, and, eventually, not enough business to sustain your research enterprise. Unrepresentative data, insufficient data and unreliable data are certainly beyond-inconvenient to the ultimate consumers of consumer research: the business decision-makers who expect reliable guidance grounded in validated consumer reality.

MFour’s value proposition is quality mobile data made possible by an engaging, pain-free, and seamlessly convenient survey experience for the consumers who download our standard-setting mobile research app. More than 100,000 of our Surveys On The Go® (SOTG) app users have spoken for themselves about their experiences by posting comments and ratings in the Apple and Google Play app stores. SOTG perpetually enjoys an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

Here are other metrics that reflect what our survey-app users' convenience and satisfaction have meant for MFour's clients:

  • 25% response rates within an hour, and 50% within one day.
  • 95% completion rates for surveys with LOI of 20+ minutes.
  • 85% participation in follow-up surveys for consumer diaries and other multi-phase studies.

The takeaway is that the people on our panel are not checked out from consumer research. To learn what that can mean for your specific research projects, just click here.



Topics: mobile research, consumer insights, data quality, retail, consumer experience

It's Fundamental: Know Exactly Where Your Data Comes From - or Else.

Posted by MFour on Aug 7, 2018 9:31:59 AM

First-party Source blog 7Aug18 

The fundamentals of any important subject are always worth revisiting, and they should always be restated with the utmost clarity – especially when the subject is as complex as market research and consumer insights.

With that in mind, here’s Roger D. Peng, Professor of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, stating a fundamental principle of data sourcing with perfect clarity. It’s part of an online course, “Managing Data Statistics,” offered by

“You need to be able to tell a story about how the data came from the population and ended up in your lap. If you can’t describe that process, then it’s going to be very hard to understand how valid your inferences are from the data. The better and more clearly you can describe how the data came to you, the stronger your results will be.”

In light of this simple truth, you can see the shortcomings of using foggy data sourcing methods such as river sampling for online surveys. The same goes for inferring who consumers are from massive sets of third-party data collected from myriad sources, without actually studying the real source of consumer data, which is, after all, real consumers.

It’s worth repeating: “The better and more clearly you can describe how the data came to you, the stronger your results will be.”

That truth from Prof. Peng applies not only to the accuracy and relevance of your analysis of the data, but to the story you need to be able to communicate intelligibly to the business decision-makers who are looking to consumer insights pros for guidance. How did the data “end up in your lap?” How are you going to “describe that process?” And what are the chances your data and recommendations will be respected and applied to the decision at hand if you can’t make it perfectly clear what the data is and where it came from?

Does a complex, roundabout approach to data collection help your cause? Are you yourself a bit uncertain about where the survey respondents came from and who they really are? Does the third-party data and the way it’s processed to create inferences about consumer identities and behaviors make total sense to you?  

The best way to meet the fundamental need for clarity and intelligibility is to observe and question validated, real consumers. There’s nothing hidden or complicated about a first-party consumer panel of willing research participants who want to take surveys, and who come from just one, easily identifiable and easily described source. There's no substitute for a research population of validated U.S. consumers who willingly have downloaded a mobile research app and shared various kinds of profiling information about themselves in order to participate. A large majority of app users also consent to a transparent request to enable their phones’ location services, which makes them available for powerful, in-the-moment in-store and after-visit surveys, and allows their movements to be observed and tracked for a powerful understanding of their buying journeys.

As Sherlock Holmes was fond of telling Dr. Watson, “it’s elementary.” Yes, the fundamentals are elementary, but they’re not easy. Clarity is a rare commodity. To learn more about how to achieve the clarity you need about your data’s sourcing, validity, and usefulness in constructing an actionable consumer narrative, just get in touch by clicking here.



Topics: data quality, data integrity

Women of Insight: Meet MFour's Senior Research Consultants

Posted by MFour on Aug 2, 2018 9:20:14 AM

Quirks photo Wehn Martinez Han Aug 2018 issue

L-R: Allyson Wehn, Joan Martinez, Andrea Han

Successful market research delivers accurate, actionable numbers that reliably depict consumer reality, but success really depends on the human factor. At one end are the people who provide a window on reality by participating in research as respondents. At the other are the consumer insights professionals who have the expertise and passion to succeed at the meticulous, exacting work of creating studies that will obtain data that's pertinent and reliable, then interpret what it all means to give clients analysis and recommendations that will help them reach  smart business decisions.

It's only fitting, then, that three key members of MFour's insights team, Senior Research Consultants Andrea Han, Joan Martinez and Allyson Wehn, have a spotlight moment in the August issue of Quirk's, as part of its "Faces of Market Research" feature. You can check out their profile in the magazine itself by