Mobile News Mix

Winter Is Coming for Online Market Research, Frozen Out by 5G Mobile Connectivity

Posted by MFour on Dec 21, 2018 11:50:55 AM

If you’ve been late to the party in adopting advanced mobile market research, you have perhaps two more years to get on board with today’s unique mobile data solutions – or else. The longer you remain in a state of inertia by clinging to the online studies that have been a steady standby since at least the early 2000s, the less representative your data will be. Online representation of U.S. consumers is crumbling at an accelerated pace, and in two years it will be a memory.

Call it the threat and the opportunity of a rising G-force.

In physics,  G stands for “gravitational” and represents the amount of resistance encountered by objects in motion. “Because of the stresses and strains on objects, sufficiently large g-forces… can be highly destructive,” says gforces.net.

“Stress,” “strain” and “highly destructive” are unavoidable conditions for researchers and brands that ignore the inexorable effect of a different kind of G-force in which G is for “generation” – the term communications technologists have coined to describe advances in the speed and efficiency with which successive generations of smartphones process mobile data.

This “G” spells great opportunity for market research that’s committed to meeting today’s consumers in the mobile sphere where they live. But it’s  disastrous for those who remain slow to adapt to the new reality.  Online consumers continue to morph into mobile-only consumers, and for the vast majority of U.S. residents, smartphones already are the dominant means of receiving, sharing and creating information. Now online is about to suffer a death blow from the next G-force in communications: the advent of 5G mobile access to the internet.

  • The dawn of 5G smartphones is rapidly approaching. 5G adoption is expected to take off as soon as 2020, thanks to data speeds 10 to 100 times faster than the current mobile standard, 4G.
  • “5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before,” reports techrader.com, with United States mobile providers leading the way. “Many companies are busy making sure their networks and devices are '5G ready' in time for 2020, meaning some networks may launch before then.”

A recent rundown from Business Insider summarizes what the onslaught of 5G will mean for consumers as mobile data races ahead of online data.

  • “Mobile 5G networks will be able to transfer data at speeds that are 10-100 times faster than on 4G…making mobile internet activities…more seamless and enjoyable on smartphones….
  • “Mobile 5G will provide consumers with internet speeds even faster than their current home internet speeds.”
  • “For instance, AT&T's impending mobile 5G network will have peak download speeds of 400 Mbps,” quadrupling the average speed of current home broadband connections.

In fact, the destruction of online consumer research representation already has crossed beyond the point of reversal.

  • Pew Research Center, which tracks Americans’ internet access, reported earlier in 2018 that fully 20% of U.S. adults rely solely on mobile and have abandoned traditional online broadband access to the internet. That’s up 67% from just two years earlier.
  • The number of these “smartphone dependent” adults who lack home broadband rises to 29% for 18- to 29-year-olds, and 24% for those ages 30 to 49. If you’re not reaching these key, mobile-only consumers, your research representation already stands 20% or more below the threshold of reliability. There’s no trusting data that comes from such a narrow bandwidth of the public.

The takeaway isn’t hard to see: if you’re not already studying consumers with advanced in-app mobile location-tracking and surveys, you’re digging for data in all the wrong places. 

The good news is that it’s not hard to play a rapid game of catch-up. Scores of leading brands and market research firms partner with MFour for mobile-app research technology and the fully-representative first-party, all-mobile consumer panel MFour has cultivated around its groundbreaking Surveys On The Go® mobile research app. Among MFour’s offerings are mobile brand tracking studies whose data is of-the-moment, but can be integrated with historical online tracking data to avoid a sharp break with your existing data sets.  

Those who fail to integrate mobile successfully into their trackers will have a woeful time getting quality data. It’s just one of the ways in which winter is coming for online market research.

 

 

Topics: mobile research, consumer insights, mobile solutions, market research, 5G technology

Just How Big Was Black Friday? We Followed Shoppers from Store to Store to Find Out.

Posted by MFour on Dec 5, 2018 12:13:32 PM

Black -1

Retailers’ and product manufacturers’ bottom lines hang in the balance on Black Friday. We followed validated, first-party consumers from store to store during their buying journeys on the big day, and here’s some of what we discovered:

  • Consumers did their part for retailers by going bargain-hunting instead of going to the gym.
  • With their refrigerators stuffed with Thanksgiving leftovers, they understandably avoided grocery aisles.
  • Faced with those leftovers at home, they were not entirely averse to eating out, especially at chains commonly located in shopping malls.
  • However, as KFC can attest, quick-serve meals featuring poultry with biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy can be a hard sell the day after Thanksgiving.

Here are some highlights that can be observed on MFour’s consumer-journey visualization tool, Path-2-Purchase® Platform. It continuously tracks the daily location visits of 2.5 million first-party U.S. consumers who have downloaded the Surveys On The Go® mobile research app. Members doubly opt in to allow location tracking via their smartphones across 12.5 million locations, enabling them to receive in-store and after-visit survey opportunities for location-based research.

The figures compare observed retail visits on Black Friday, Nov. 23, with the average number of visits to each retailer or restaurant over the five previous Fridays from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16.

  • About those absences from the gym: top fitness chains experienced drop-offs of 20% (at Anytime Fitness) to 66% (at Equinox). LA Fitness was in the middle with a 38% decrease in foot traffic.

Instead, shoppers flocked to the stores en masse, and many retailers saw foot traffic soar by factors of two, three, four and five over their recent Friday averages. However, to see those results you will have to wait for in our 2018 Black Friday Study webinar on December 12th at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern (which you can register for below). In the meantime, here are some other insights we gleaned from Black Friday:

  • It was a more normal Friday at club stores: Costco saw a 12% increase and Sam’s Club a 10% boost.
  • If working off calories in a gym wasn’t on most consumers’ agendas, they were certainly thinking about getting active in the future: Dick’s Sporting Goods boosted its foot traffic 483% above recent Friday norms, and Bass Pro Shops enjoyed a 474% upsurge.
  • It was generally a down Friday for quick-serve restaurants, with Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Subway off 13% to 19% from their recent norms.
  • But some restaurants that typically are inside or in close proximity to malls succeeded in refilling stomachs that had gotten over their Thanksgiving heroics. Johnny Rockets (278%), Cinnabon (147%), Sbarro (89%) and The Cheesecake Factory (55%) were busier than their usual Friday.
  • And chicken didn’t seem quite so alluring as usual after a day of poultry overload. KFC’s foot traffic was down 41% and Chick-fil-A was off 19% from recent Friday averages.
  • Grocery stores were down, with Albertsons, Kroger and Winn-Dixie stores averaging an aggregate slacking off of 31% from their recent Friday norms.

While it’s well worth targeting, tracking and observing demographically profiled consumers’ visitation patterns, there’s more to be done to understand their motivations and their shopping experiences. The key is being able to locate and survey them in real time, during or just after a shopping visit. That will be the subject of “Black Friday Consumer Study – the `Why’ Behind the Buy,” a webinar MFour is offering Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern. To sign up, just complete the form below.

 

Topics: black friday, geolocation, Path-2-Purchase™ Platform, mobile data, mobile research

Spending Big on Social Media Ads? Test Them First in Targeted Consumers' Actual Social Feeds

Posted by MFour on Dec 4, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog Social Ad Testing 21Nov18

The good news for advertising on social media is that a massive audience gathers there. The bad news is that any given social media ad is a small raft of messaging in a limitless ocean of content. To increase your social ads’ chances of being discovered - and lifting consumers’ brand and product awareness and intent to buy - keep reading.

But first, some recent data from Pew Research Center shows how potentially rewarding social media platforms can be for advertisers.

  • 73% of U.S. adults use YouTube.
  • Among teens, YouTube use rises to 85%.
  • 68% of U.S. adults use Facebook.
  • Facebook usage is highest among ages 18-29 (81%) and women (74%).
  • 50% of U.S. adults visit Facebook at least once a day.
  • Instagram’s share of the U.S. adult audience is 35% and Twitter’s is 24%.

That’s a lot of consumers who can potentially be reached by a given ad. The challenge is to turn the potential of social media advertising into a real return on investment. Measuring the effectiveness of social media advertising has been controversial, with concerns about transparency over impressions and other key metrics. But setting aside that debate, there can be no question that brands and agencies control the creative content of their social media ads, and need to know as much as possible as soon as possible about how the ads they’re creating are likely to be viewed and acted upon by their intended social audiences.

MFour offers an advertising research product called Social Ad Testing that raises the chances of success for any social ad campaign. It’s a test that doesn’t seem like a test to the recipients you’re targeting. Instead, Social Ad Testing presents the ad as natural content in target consumers’ actual social news feeds. The test ad is consistent with all the other posts and advertisements the recipients are scrolling through in their feeds. You’re testing in the wild, so to speak - in the natural environment where your ad must flourish or fail once the campaign actually begins.

Social Ad Testing is the only method that takes your ad right into the wilds of social media. All the others do the testing in a simulated social environment. First, you’ll just observe how your test audience responds to the ad. How long was it in view? Did they click on it to activate audio? Did they share it or “like” it?

Next, you’ll step out from behind the curtain and show them the ad, so you can survey them using key qualitative questions about which creative elements work, which don’t, and how favorable they are toward the product and brand. If all signals read “go,” you launch the campaign with confidence. If the ad isn’t ready for prime time, the test will tell you not only that it needs work, but point you to the creative elements you need to improve. With that guidance, you’ll revise and retest until you know the ad is ready to give you your best shot at capturing attention and motivating consumers in the social space.

You can test an ad across different social platforms to see where you should direct your budget. Or you can test different versions, compare, and decide which is the one to use. 

The social ad space is too big and untamed to venture forth unprepared. With Social Ad Testing, you give your campaigns the best chance of breaking through.

Topics: Social Ad Testing, social media, mobile market research, mobile research, advertising research, consumer insights

Is Market Research Fated To Go the Way of Video Stores?

Posted by MFour on Nov 29, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog Video Stores 20Nov18

How important is it to collect fast, accurate data about customer experiences? In one history-making case, a single bad customer experience may have destroyed an industry. 

According to Netflix’s origin myth, company founder Reed Hastings first conceived the idea of a mail-order subscription video service after being slammed with a large late fee because he was tardy in returning a videocassette of the movie, “Apollo 13” to the store he’d rented it from.

You can read this Quartz.com report about how Netflix came to be. While it’s possible that the late-fee incident has been embellished somewhat in its frequent retelling, there’s no question that Hastings wasn’t satisfied with his own video rental experiences and took them as a cue for groundbreaking entrepreneurship. The result has had immense consequences for the distribution and consumption (and more recently, the creation) of video entertainment.

According to estimates from the Digital Entertainment Group, brick-and-mortar video rental stores grossed $393 million in 2017, compared to $11.5 billion for streaming services and video on demand. Meanwhile, the number of video stores fell from nearly 30,000 in 2000 to just over 2,000 in 2017, according to a USA Today feature on America’s fastest-dying industries.

While industries typically can’t trace their collapse to a single failure to provide a satisfying customer experience, poor encounters with brands and retailers inevitably erode their earnings and chase consumers to their competitors. Negative sentiment takes wing in an instant on the internet, and if those perceptions take hold they will threaten revenues and profits.

So staying continually on top of what consumers think and feel about a brand should be a day-by-day priority, verging on an obsession, for market research. Now, thanks to GPS location studies conducted through a mobile research app, it’s an obsession that’s easy to satisfy.

The best time to assess the quality of consumers’ shopping experiences is while the experiences are actually happening, or just after. In-store and after-visit mobile geolocation studies get that job done. Store atmosphere, service quality, pricing, the ease or difficulty shoppers have in navigating the aisles to find the products they want – all can be best assessed at the Point-of-Emotion®. It’s the spot on the place/time continuum where responses from consumers are most vivid and come closest to the whole truth about what they are experiencing, how they feel about it, and how those experiences influence their buying decisions and overall satisfaction.

Of course, GPS location studies will only be as good as who you’re locating and how engaged they are with your research. Unless you want heaps of well-documented trouble associated with the quality of online consumer surveys, the crucial “who” has to be a first-party, single-source consumer panel of validated actual shoppers. MFour’s consumers are gathered around Surveys On The Go®, the most highly-developed, highest-rated mobile research app.

The satisfaction of 2.5 million U.S. consumers who have downloaded SOTG is the big difference maker. They’re engaged, carefully profiled mobile research participants who doubly opt in to have their location journeys tracked, in exchange for increased opportunities to receive surveys they complete quickly on their smartphones. That’s how you’ll identify them in-store and survey them when it matters most.

Expect 25% response rates within an hour, and 50% within 24 hours. And if you want to follow them beyond the moments of shopping and purchasing, and understand their satisfaction at the moment they’re actually using or consuming a product, that’s also an easy “get” for in-app mobile. Expect response rates of 85% for In-Home User Tests conducted up to two weeks after a purchase.

Reed Hastings realized he could transform the movie-rental experience (and the future of rental revenues) by using technology to make it easy on the consumer. You can do the same for yourself. Market research conducted with the state-of-the-art GPS location and consumer-panel quality unique to in-app mobile research will be more satisfying to you as a consumer of market research tools. If the online consumer data you’ve been collecting isn’t giving you what you need, maybe it’s time for some innovative thinking and action of your own.  

 

Topics: mobile tracking, mobile research, market research, geolocation, consumer survey

Let Gaming Apps Unlock Fast, 100% Efficient Consumer Insights

Posted by MFour on Nov 13, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog gaming apps 12Nov18

Benjamin Franklin said that “games lubricate the body and the mind,” and you could probably generate a lively debate as to whether the founding father’s wisdom applies to video games.

There’s no debating the importance of video games to a huge audience of players. Which means that there’s no debating the need for market research professionals to turn their gaze and consumer insights expertise toward understanding gamers– not just as game-players, but as fully-contextualized consumers.

As we’ll point out, mobile game apps aren’t just a gateway to fun for their users and a river of potential profits for their creators, but also a pipeline for all kinds of consumer insights into how gamers fit into a larger universe of shopping and buying.

Newzoo, a marketing and analytics consultant that tracks the gaming and esports industries, estimates the North American video games market at more than $34 billion in 2018, up 14% from 2017. It recently reported that there are 2.3 billion gamers worldwide, who it estimates will spend $138 billion this year, including $70 billion spent by mobile gamers. It’s the first time mobile will have accounted for more than half of annual worldwide gaming revenues.

Market researchers who want to get to know those many mobile gamers are in luck. Thanks to mobile-app targeting, they can be reached with 100% accuracy. You can design a survey that blankets users of the top five gaming apps, or just a single app.  You can ask about their gaming preferences – or their snack and beverage preferences. Mobile app-targeting from MFour gives you a 100% Incidence Rate for connecting with consumers by the apps they use. We simply match the apps you want to target against the apps used by the validated, first-party mobile consumers who’ve downloaded our Surveys On The Go® research app. 

For example, back when the Pokémon Go craze broke out, mobile app targeting enabled us to be the first organization to conduct a systematic survey of Pokémon Go players. Within a single day, we got 1,000 completed responses from 100% validated players. It wasn’t just proof of Pokémon Go’s popularity, but of Surveys On The Go®'s effectiveness, thanks to its own popularity among 2.5 million U.S. consumers who have downloaded it and are beyond-willing to participate in your research.   

If you’re looking for insights into what players think of various video games, app-targeting obviously gives you a fast, direct connection. But it will be just as useful for understanding consumers ages 13 and over for whom playing video games is just part of who they are.  They’ll readily engage with you about products and services across any consumer sectors. Remember, your IR is 100% – a big first step toward getting insights on a fast-turn deadline.

Of course, the same kind of targeting can be done with consumers who use banking apps, news apps, or streaming apps for sports and entertainment. You can focus on their satisfaction with the apps themselves, or just use the connection to get feedback on the snacks these app-users buy, the other forms of entertainment they consume, which electronics stores they frequent, and any other subject that may or may not have to do with their gaming.

You can even ask them if they agree with Ben Franklin that games are good for the mind and body. 

As promised, here’s a look at our study of 1,000 Pokémon Go players, completed in a singled  day just after the game’s July, 2016 debut in the U.S. Just click here.

 

Topics: market research, mobile research, mobile surveys, mobile app targeting, gamers, consumer insights

MFour Hires Team Members in Product Development and Mobile Survey Project Execution

Posted by MFour on Nov 12, 2018 2:44:08 PM

New hires Newsletter 

(Left to right) Renee Curtis, Tatiana Santos and Monica Lee

MFour announces the hiring of three team members who will play major roles in developing new mobile market research products and executing clients’ survey-based projects.

Tatiana Santos joins the staff as a Senior Project Manager who will shepherd clients’ projects from conception through data reporting. She previously was a Senior Project Manager for Ipsos. She worked in banking and investment management before branching into market research. Tatiana earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. Outside of work she enjoys yoga, reading, biking and listening to podcasts.

Monica Lee has been hired as Lead of the Fielding and Panel team, responsible for driving quality and consistency in core functions of the survey process. She arrives from comScore, where she was an Insights Analyst. Monica also previously has worked at Kantar Millward Brown, and she was one of the key research leads for the 2016 edition of the American Marketing Association’s annual Gold Report on the market research industry. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master's in Marketing Research, both from Michigan State University.

Renee Curtis, Senior Product Manager, will help develop innovative new mobile research products and enhance existing ones. She arrives from Broadbean Technology, where she was a team leader and oversaw the launch of a successful job distribution and record keeping software product used by government contractors. She is working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Technological Entrepreneurship and Management at Orange Coast College. Outside of work, Renee likes hiking and is a fine-dining enthusiast; she’s also serious about improving her German and then visiting Berlin.

Welcome aboard, Tatiana, Monica and Renee!

Topics: market research, consumer insights, mobile research, mobile market research

Why Is `Why?' the Market Research Question Your Geolocation Provider Can't Answer?

Posted by MFour on Nov 6, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Blog Toddler Why 2Nov18

Toddlers do it incessantly. So why can’t virtually all of the location-research providers who’ve been trying to sell the market research industry on their ability to track consumers’ store visits?

We’re talking about being able to ask the fundamental question, “why?” As anyone who’s spent much time with little kids can attest, it’s never far from their tongues.

Why?

Because “for children, `why’ questions help them make sense of the world around them….These `why’ questions also help spur and accelerate learning,” says Rebecca Palacios, one of America’s most respected experts on early childhood education, in a Huffington Post article titled “Why Do Children Ask Why?”

So here’s our own “why” question of the day:

Why can’t those location-research tech and analytics providers let you do as a consumer insights pro what you did almost nonstop when you were knee high to a Great Dane?

Why won’t they let you ask the “why” behind the buy?

Here’s why: technology and data analytics providers don’t really know market research.

They know how to find undifferentiated people, and tell you how many of them have gone to a given location. They’re able to collect footprints, but they can’t help you connect with the actual human beings who are leaving them. They can’t help you ask “why,” the most important question when it comes to understanding and influencing consumer behavior.

Yes, footprint data can be illuminating to an extent as a standalone, but its most advanced use is to point you in the right direction in your quest to truly connect with consumers and understand the many whys behind where they go – and what they think, feel, see and do while they’re there.

MFour creates location technology, but we do it in the specific context of perfecting it for the sake of market research. We pioneered building location capabilities for market research, and we’re the only company to have simultaneously built an all-mobile, validated first-party panel for that technology to track.  (with their double opt-in informed consent).

You’re in the business of obtaining a 360-degree view of consumer behavior, and so are we. Not just the “where,” but the “why.”

  • Why did a consumer we located as he passed in view of a billboard for Target visit a Target store three days later? 
  • Was it attributable to the ad exposure, or just a coincidence?
  • Why do some consumers alternate frequently between Target and Walmart – as reflected in their location footprints?
  • Why are some big box shoppers loyal to one while completely rejecting the other?

The moral of this post is that you should never let any market research provider sell you short by not permitting you to unleash your inner three-year-old. Don’t settle for footprints and algorithmic models that can’t begin to give you the “why” to questions like the ones above.

Always insist on the “the why” behind the buy.

Why?  Because you can’t afford not to.

To learn more about how to target, track and survey mobile consumers by using MFour's Path-2-Purchase® Platform, just click here

 

Topics: mobile app research, Path-2-Purchase™ Platform, geolocation, market research, mobile research, surveys, in-store surveys, consumer survey, consumer panel, mobile consumer panel

5 Tips: Using Mobile Market Research To Maximize App-Generated Revenue

Posted by MFour on Nov 1, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog Money Making App 30ct18

Is it time to conduct market research into your brand’s app?

Does it matter how it stacks up against your competitors’ apps?

Of course it matters. Apps are by far consumers’ technology of choice for accessing digital content. Getting them to download your app is like discovering a silver mine. And getting them to use your app regularly is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A successful app can turn the purchase funnel into a water slide: consumers ride down the digital chute to swim in your revenue stream.

Advanced mobile market research tools for evaluating consumers’ opinions about any app are now readily available. Significantly, they are housed inside an advanced mobile research app that meets validated, first-party consumers in the mobile-app space where they’re most comfortable and most easily engaged. The app is Surveys On The Go® (SOTG) from MFour, which puts consumer insights professionals in touch with a mobile research audience of 2.5 million U.S. consumers who consistently give it the highest satisfaction ratings of any market research app - 4.5 stars out of 5 across more than 100,000 ratings posted at Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Here are some tips on how you can leverage mobile-app research capabilities. 

  • Fast-turnarounds are no problem when you’re surveying users of any brand’s app. They’re identifiable by the apps they use, so you can target known app users of any app you want to study.
  • Get a thorough audit on your own brand’s app. Are load times fast enough? Does the display and ease of navigation meet consumers’ expectations? Remember, your app’s users are always judging it against their best app experiences.
  • Now that you’ve gained intimate knowledge about your own app’s performance, the next step is to replicate the same research to get competitive intelligence on your competitors’ apps.
  • Is there dissatisfaction in the ranks of a competitor’s app users? That’s an opportunity, and you can get all the details on what’s making your rival vulnerable on the mobile-app front.
  • Does a competitor’s app get higher scores with its users than your app gets with your users? Now you know how much higher you have to set the bar. 

Here’s an example of what a brand can accomplish by upgrading its app. This recent article from Mobile Marketer details how the USA Today Network, a news group of more than 100 local outlets nationwide, achieved significant gains in reader engagement by improving the performance of its mobile website and mobile app.

Identifying and reaching out to first-party consumers by the apps they use opens many other doors to relevant, highly-specific data. And that 100% incidence rate always guarantees you a perfectly streamlined process for the utmost in speed and accuracy. Apps are a great tool for segmenting consumers to gain targeted feedback on any topic that’s relevant to your market research. But more on that later.

 

 

Topics: smartphone apps, mobile research, market research, mobile market research, mobile app targeting, app tracking, competitive intelligence

It's No Fantasy: Online Research Is Like a Player Who Has Hung on Too Long

Posted by MFour on Sep 19, 2018 6:00:00 AM

Blog Football Player 13Sept18

If you're a Fantasy Football player, you probably have been researching yards gained, touchdowns scored and interceptions thrown in your breaks from your main research agenda as a consumer insights pro. Assuming that your Fantasy League hasn't taken over as your main research agenda.

Chances are that one of the research questions you faced was how to evaluate aging stars against emerging young guns. Are Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning still Fantasy-worthy, their advancing age?

Or would you be better off suiting up one of the new guys -- Sam Darnold, Deshaun Watson or Josh Allen, for example?

Believe it or not, you face similar choice when you're wearing your market research hat instead of your Fantasy Football GM's cap. Can you eke out another project with legacy data from online surveys? Or is it time to recognize that your longtime warhorse has worn out, and its time to jump to the speed, range and versatility of mobile data? If you make the wrong decision, you won't just lose a Fantasy League membership fee. You'll bring in suspect data that could undermine multi-million dollar business decisions.

Our advice as you decide whether to stick to comfortably familiar online studies is to consider Bret Favre, who was one of the greatest -- until he hung on just a bit too long to get the job done. There's no sentimentality in business, so you need to be sure about the data quality you're getting.

Favre had an epic career that lasted 20 seasons – including more than 17 straight seasons in which he set an all-time NFL record by playing in 321 consecutive games (playoffs included). No quarterback in pro football history threw the ball more (10,960 attempts) or completed more passes (6,781). Along the way, Favre won three straight Most Valuable Player awards in the 1990s, and quarterbacked his Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowls, winning one.

Online research also has had its time of glory. For about two decades it was the most prolific survey mode in the consumer data game, and it provided many most-valuable insights. But as was the case with Brett Favre -- and just about every other great athlete -- time and change take their toll. Online research is in its twilight now, its performance and capabilities greatly diminished from its prime.

The statistics show that Favre hung on one year too many: in 2010, his last season, he threw nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, had the worst quarterback rating of his career (69.9, down from peak years when he was always above 90), and suffered a sprained shoulder and a concussion that kept him out of three games, ending that mighty streak of consecutive games played. Meanwhile, the Packers had moved on, trading Favre to clear the way for Aaron Rodgers, who quickly established himself as a great, Super Bowl-winning quarterback for a new generation.

And so it is with online research as it stands today. Quality completes are harder to come by, projects are being routinely intercepted by fraudulent survey bots, and doubts have set in about online’s ability to deliver a demographically representative consumer panel. Increasingly, we see online providers resorting to Hail Mary tactics such as routing, river sample, and multi-source panel-blending -- and sometimes even claiming that approach is a virtue. But the result is compromised data and widespread discontent with project results. 

Meanwhile, the game has moved on to its next dominant player, in-app mobile research conducted with a validated, first-party consumer panel. Brands and major market research firms are becoming increasingly aware of what it can accomplish. To have a productive conversation about how in-app mobile can help you effectively tackle your projects' specific needs, just click here.

Topics: pro football, consumer insights, mobile research, market research

11 Tips for Uninterrupted Connections with Mobile Black Friday Shoppers

Posted by MFour on Sep 18, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Black Friday 12Sept18

Steely Dan has spun many a memorable tune in a pop music career that earned it a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and one of them is right on target for every marketing and consumer insights pro who's gearing up for the big Thanksgiving shopping weekend: “When Black Friday comes, I’m gonna stake my claim.”

Steely Dan released its song, “Black Friday,” in 1975, when the title evoked disaster, not the biggest shopping day of the year. When Black Friday comes, brands and retailers need to claim as much market share as they can, and that means high stakes for the researchers whose data and analysis feeds product and marketing strategies.

A new report from Salesforce underscores why it’s especially important to make your research fast and flexible to obtain data day-by day-during the holiday shopping season. The key takeaway is that consumers will be using their smartphones moment-by-moment to shop and buy, just as they use them moment-by-moment for nearly everything else related to accessing, creating, and exchanging the information that drives most aspects of most mobile citizens’ economic and personal lives. Among the findings:

  • 71% of consumers will use mobile devices while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store this holiday season, according to Salesforce.
  • That’s a significant increase over the 62% who used phones in-store in 2017.
  • In-store smartphone use will rise to 83% for consumers in the key 18- to 44-year-old age demographic.

Those uses will vary – from buying on mobile for future delivery, rather than plucking a product from a shelf or rack and taking it to the checkout stand, to researching products, to calling mom for advice on whether striped or solid is the way to go for dad’s new shirt.

To keep up with today’s fast and flexible mobile consumers, consumer insights pros need to be fast and flexible themselves.

Think of shopping as a process that used to run on a monorail from physical store to physical store, but now runs on two train tracks, mobile shopping and brick-and-mortar stores, that continually overlap. To maximize success on Black Friday through Christmas Eve, retailers and brands need to keep close watch on consumers’ movements along both tracks. And to fill that need, MFour created Path-2-Purchase® Platform.

For the first time, clients are observing mobile consumers’ physical journeys through 12.5 million U.S. locations, including all stores of the top 1,000 retailers and restaurant chains. At the same time, they’re aligning seamlessly with the new reality of smartphones as consumers’ most important shopping tool at every step along the path to purchase, whether in-store or lying on the living room couch.

  • With Path-2-Purchase® you’ll target the consumers you need to understand, you’ll track their movements from store to store, and you’ll survey them at critical moments during or after a shopping visit. You also can reconnect with validated natural purchasers for in-home product use-tests. 
  • You’ll also gain unique context by appending extensive historical data that reveals your targeted consumers’ location journeys stretching back in time.
  • Besides knowing exactly where they’ve gone, you’ll get a head start on knowing who they are, thanks to extensive profiling surveys that the 2 million-plus consumers who have downloaded the Surveys On The Go® mobile consumer research app have answered. You’ll see who fits the consumer profiles you need to understand, and target your research accordingly.
  • For example, to prepare for Black Friday, you could start by identifying validated, first-party consumers who are observed regular visitors to your stores. No need to ask them whether and when they have visited relevant locations, because with Path-2-Purchase® you’ll have seen where they’ve been and know who they are.
  • When consumers in your chosen audience enter or exit any of your relevant research locations, they’ll be identified through mobile GeoValidation® and you’ll push them a survey notification on the spot.
  • If you need speedy data, you can expect a 25% response rate in one hour and 50% within 24 hours. Or you can stagger fielding if that’s the way to go, assured that the completes will arrive on schedule.
  • Ask about the shopping experience your consumers are having right now, or just had. Ask about their plans for Black Friday shopping. Ask whether they plan to shop for a shirt for dad, or any other product or category that’s relevant to your research.
  • Are your respondents already making a list and devising a strategy for holiday gift shopping? Who’s discount-oriented and planning to batter down doors or tap and scroll starting at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday? Who hates fighting crowds and would rather shop when it’s less hectic, even if it costs more? If price isn’t their foremost motivator, then what is?
  • Now field a location-based survey asking the same kinds of questions – except this time targeting your competitors’ observed shoppers. Knowing them gives you your best chance of prying them away from the competition.
  • Once the holiday shopping season begins, you can keep a finger on consumers’ pulses by using quick-turnaround research options that will help you spot trends or address shopper-satisfaction issues in time for your stakeholders and decision-makers to press an advantage or correct a problem on the fly.
  • You can visualize and identify audiences for your study with Path-2-Purchase®, then execute a quick-turnaround project with MFourDIY®, the only all-mobile do-it-yourself research platform (and the only one where “DIY” is a bit of a misnomer, because you can count on prompt, live support when you need it, from an MFour staff specialist).

For more ideas on fast-turnaround research that connects you to validated, first-party mobile consumers in the mobile and physical spaces they inhabit, and in time to make a real difference in sales, you can take a look at a holiday-specific case study by clicking here.

And for a productive talk about how Path-2-Purchase® Platform and other mobile-app research tools can power your specific projects, just click here.

When Black Friday comes, you’ll stake your claim to the advanced, fast-reflex mobile research approaches you need to understand consumers whose mobile and physical worlds haven’t just collided, but melded into one.

Topics: holiday retail, black friday, mobile research, path-2-purchase, Path-2-Purchase™ Platform, consumer insights

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