2 Simple Steps To Understand Complex Consumers: Observe Closely, Then Survey Effectively

Posted by MFour on Apr 30, 2019 11:49:36 AM


The constant proliferation of new research products, technologies and methodologies for market research is making life increasingly complex for research-users.

But it doesn't have to be. To remove clutter and gain clarity on the available data-collection options, the simple rule to remember is “observe, then survey.” 

MFour handles data-collection simplification like this:

Observe who? Members of the large, representative first-party consumer panel that’s gathered around Surveys On The Go® (SOTG), the original, most-advanced mobile market research app.

Observe when? Observe endlessly. Always-on GPS location tracking of consenting SOTG users makes it possible. They allow the app to access their phones' location features so they can receive location-triggered surveys.

Observe where? Across all locations of the top 1,000 U.S. retailers, and millions of other places of commercial interest.

Survey who? Whichever segment you need, based on observed location visits combined with detailed demographic pre-profiling. See who's making the observed visits without having to ask.  

Survey when? At the Point Of Emotion®, the window in which the consumer experiences and attitudes you need to understand remain vivid and recall is at its highest.

Survey where?

  • Inside a store if you want to understand what the consumer is thinking and experiencing right now (example: which package stands out on a shelf full of similar products?).
  • Or just after observed visitors have left the store, so you can ask about the entire experience, including what they purchased, and why.  

Consumer journeys are more complex than ever, but that doesn't mean the tools for understanding them have to be burdened with complex moving parts such as multi-sourced consumer panels, third-party data and algorithmic analysis that makes inferences instead of seeking out actual consumer feedback.

If you observe closely, then survey intelligently, you can trust that your data captures reality. You'll play a key role in guiding your business to the right decisions, and you'll be able to explain clearly to yourself and understandably to anybody else in your organization how you collected your data and interpreted it to confront the business problems you all need to address.


Topics: point of emotion, surveys on the go, consumer panel, mobile geolocation, mobile market research panel, location-triggered surveys, event-triggered surveys

5 Key Questions To Ask Consumer Panel Vendors

Posted by MFour on Feb 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM

Here are five intensely important questions to ask when you’re deciding how to do consumer market research in today’s always-on data environment.

  • How can I get data I can trust, from a consumer panel that’s worth trusting?
  • Given the drastic changes in consumers’ purchase paths, how can I identify all the key touchpoints to collect market research data when and where it truly matters?
  • When confronted with Big Data and its sources, how can I tell what’s gold from what’s fool’s gold?
  • How can I get research projects done fast enough to satisfy my clients or stakeholders?
  • With so many providers launching so many products, how can I tell which ones really work?

Now here are five simple responses that will point you toward the answers. 

Related: Market Research for Consumer Products

Trusting the consumer panel/trusting the data:

  • Just ask specific questions about where your data is coming from. If the answer is not clear and simple, look elsewhere. Recruiting a quality, representative market research panel is widely seen as a Herculean task. MFour’s solution is simple: people love their phones. They especially love using apps on their phones. Partner with a mobile market research provider who has a great market research app that attracts a quality, reliable engaged first-party all-mobile consumer panel.  MFour’s app, Surveys On The Go® (SOTG) has been proving its mettle since 2011 and has attracted more than 2.5 million U.S. users. They’ve validated their engagement by giving SOTG a 4.5-star rating on both the Apple and Google app-download sites.

Staying in touch with changing consumer purchase paths:

  • It’s a long and winding road that leads consumers to your door, and today that door is often a retail website or a brand’s app instead of, or in addition to, the door to a physical store. The common denominator is the smartphone, which consumers use to go online and keep in their hands, pockets or handbags when they’re offline.

The online/offline distinction is becoming less clear because there’s so much toggling back and forth, as in checking prices on the web while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store. You need to find research tools and products that can take you everywhere there’s relevant, insights-rich data. It may be online or offline, it may be observational or survey-based, it may be event-triggered or not specific to a moment or a place. But it has to be always on, and it has to take you everywhere your consumers are going along the new purchase paths their smartphones are carving for them.

Big Data Tsunami

  • Just stick to the fundamentals: who are the actual consumers who are providing the data, when did they provide it, and where were they in online or offline space when they generated it? Big Data will confuse you if you don’t have a clear and simple understanding of its sources. It becomes an extremely useful tool for consumer segmentation and other research purposes if you do have the clear and simple understanding of your data sources. Who, exactly , is generating the data you’re observing or actively eliciting, and how have they been recruited?

Fast and faster research

  • It comes down to whether you can connect quickly with known consumers, and how quickly they respond. Waiting for panel aggregators to fill your quotas is slow and leaves a lot to chance. Gathering a first-party consumer panel around a market research app gives you a unified, consistent, always-on data source that’s both validated and fast. You can expect MFour’s SOTG app-users to give you response rates of 25% within one hour and 50% within 24 hours.

Wading through the research product glut

  • Keep it simple. If the consumer panel is reliably representative and quick to respond, the under-the-hood technology and methodology that wins their participation and obtains their data is by definition working smoothly and effectively. If you can get everything you need from a single source – the consumers, the technology, versatile use cases and in-house project support steeped in market research know-how from survey design, programming and fielding through analysis and data reporting, then so much the better.

If one-stop shopping sounds appealing, just scroll to the menu at the top of this page and dive in for details on how mobile app research will drive success with your current projects.




Topics: mobile market research, surveys on the go, in-app Mobile surveys, mobile app research, consumer data

Hispanic Consumers Get the Word About MFour's Surveys On The Go® Research App on Univision's `Despierta America' Morning Show

Posted by MFour on Feb 6, 2019 10:18:46 AM

Stranded at Home by the Polar Vortex? Univision's TV morning show, "¡Despierta America!," and lifestyle reporter Erick Cuesta recently advised their Spanish-speaking audience to download MFour's Surveys On The Go® market research app to spend that time profitably by earning cash taking consumer surveys.

Brands are keen to understand the preferences and opinions of Hispanic consumers, who are a continually growing force in the marketplace. And, as the recognition by "¡Despierta America!" attests, SOTG is an ideal conduit for connecting with them.

"No dejes que tu dinero se congele: apps para hacer un dinerito extra si estás atrapado en casa por la nieve,” was the Jan. 31 segment’s caption – “Don’t let your money freeze: apps to make a little extra money if you’re stuck at home by the snow.”

“We’re thrilled to be showcased on the popular award-winning morning show ‘¡Despierta América!’” said Chris St. Hilaire, MFour's CEO and co-founder.  “With 2.5 million users of Surveys On The Go® we can connect leading brands with America’s Spanish-speaking population, which other research companies consider ‘hard to reach.’”

MFour is a go-to choice for brands and advertisers who need insights into the preferences, opinions and online and offline buying journeys of all segments of the American population, including crucial Hispanic consumers.

While the market research industry has tagged Hispanics as “hard to reach” when it comes to participating in consumer surveys, MFour provides full representation of the U.S. Hispanic population. They constitute 20% of the validated, first-party consumer panel whose members use Surveys On The Go®, closely matching the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate that Hispanics make up 18% of the population. MFour also captures the diversity within the Hispanic consumer demographic by segmenting them into three sub-categories: Acculturated (65%), Bicultural (33%) and Unacculturated (5%).

Watch the “¡Despierta América!” feature at https://bit.ly/2SarMxT

For more on Surveys On The Go®, click here.


Topics: mobile research, surveys on the go, hispanic consumers, mobile consumer panel, mobile consumers, survey data, demographic representation

Surveys On The Go® Awarded CNET's "Best Apps to Earn Cash in 2019"

Posted by MFour on Jan 8, 2019 9:43:25 AM

Surveys On The Go®, MFour’s trail-blazing mobile research app, continues to ride high with consumers and tech tastemakers alike, eight years after its launch. SOTG’s latest distinction is making CNET Magazine/Download.com's list of the “8 best moneymaking apps to earn cash in 2019.”

Tech writer Joshua Rotter made the picks, so kudos to him for recognizing excellence. We also appreciate his emphasis on data privacy. Rotter noted that in addition to providing an engaging way to earn money while being heard by Fortune 1000 companies as they hone the creation, refinement and marketing of products and services, SOTG users enjoy a guarantee to protect and never sell their Personal Identifying Information (PII).

In fact, a key distinction of SOTG versus many other sources of consumer data is an assurance that app-users’ identities and demographic information will be protected and used only in aggregated form, combined with survey answers from all other participants in a given survey.

We should note that while individual experts’ opinions of Surveys On The Go® carry weight, the aggregated opinions of multitudes of app users count the most. On that score, SOTG has long been the top mobile survey app, with average all-time ratings of 4.6 stars out of 5 on Google Play and 4.5 at the Apple iOS App Store. 

Why does it matter? The quality of the data depends on the quality of the survey experience and the size of the consumer panel available to take surveys. We always work hard to give the 2.5 million U.S. consumers who have downloaded SOTG the best experience, and we’re always grateful for their participation and support. The best in market research depends on them.

Topics: mobile surveys, mobile app, mobile market research, surveys on the go, market research, mobile consumers, CNET

Pro Football Survey: 80% of Fans Are Watching Regularly, but the Youngest Adults Are the Least Committed

Posted by MFour on Sep 11, 2018 6:04:37 PM


2018 Football Survey

The good news for professional football and the networks and advertisers who invest heavily in the games is that its viewing audience is extremely loyal. A survey of 600 fans who watched at least once during last weekend’s season-opening round of games found that 80% plan to follow pro football regularly, compared to 20% who said they’ll only watch occasionally.

A less reassuring data point for the pro football industry is that the younger the fan, the less likely they are to be a regular viewer. The 21- to 24-year-old bracket expressed the least loyalty, with 72% saying they’d watch regularly, compared to 82% among 25- to 34-year-olds and 85% for ages 35 to 44.

Still, among fans who watched during the opening weekend, 41% of all respondents said they expect to watch more pro football this season than they did in 2017, and only 4% said they’ll watch less often – with younger viewers matching the overall averages.

Amid widespread speculation that pro football’s command on American sports fans is slipping a bit, as reflected in TV ratings, MFour fielded a survey the morning after the season’s first long weekend had ended. The respondents were the sport's core demographic - males nationwide, ages 21 to 44.

One major change affecting sports viewership is the advent of streaming services that are seizing a share of the audience from cable, satellite and terrestrial carriers.

  • 15% of the fans surveyed said they were streaming NFL games instead of using a legacy viewing platform.
  • The average football streamer reported using two different services; the favorites were YouTube (41%), the NFL App (37%), Amazon Prime (30%), and Hulu with Live TV (21%).

The television set hasn’t lost its hold on viewers, with 90% reporting that they watched a game on a TV. But survey results underscored how we’re living in an age of multiple devices for individual consumers – and that the younger they are, the more device-diversified they are likely to be.

Here’s a comparison of 21- to 24-year-olds vs. the primarily Gen X audience in the 35 to 44 age bracket. Figures for the younger adults, including 21-year-olds who the U.S. Census Bureau categorizes as the leading edge of Gen Z, are stated first:

  • TV screens: 89% vs. 93%
  • Mobile phones: 36% vs. 23%
  • PCs: 32% vs.12%
  • Game consoles: 22% vs. 8%.

The older the respondent, the more likely he’d be watching at home: 87% of the Gen Xers, 76% of Millennials ages 25 to 34, and 69% in the younger-adult group. The inverse was true of watching games in a bar or restaurant, frequented by 13% of fans under 35, and 7% among those 35 to 44.

Watching football was a solitary pursuit for 21% of respondents; at the other end of the spectrum, 13% said they’d watched with 7 or more other people; 38% watched in groups of two or three.

Also of interest:

  • Nearly half the fans (46%) said they had fantasy football wagers riding on players’ performances. 
  • 61% of the fantasy players said they were enrolled in two or more leagues.
  • 12% are playing in at least four leagues.

Pro football Sundays (and Thursdays and Mondays) provide excitement for providers of food and drinks as well as the fans who consume them.

  • 72% of respondents said they had snack foods such as chips and dips during a game, 62% ate hot food, and 53% imbibed alcoholic drinks.
  • Beer and football go together like touchdowns and points after: 87% of those who drank said they’d had a beer.
  • 45% downed liquor or mixed drinks, 16% went for flavored malt beverages, 10% sipped wine, and 9% had hard cider. So there was a whole lotta mixin’ going on. The survey did not query respondents about post-game stomach distress. 
  • The most-favored beer brands were Bud Light (consumed by 35% of the survey's beer-drinkers), Corona (28%), Coors Light (21%), Budweiser (21%), Miler Lite (19%), Blue Moon (19%) and Heineken (17%).

As for the Super Bowl, the biggest event of the season for watching and consuming, 31 of the 32 NFL teams got votes when asked who would win. 

  • The Tennessee Titans (no votes), Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were voted the least likely to succeed, each picked by fewer than 1% of respondents.
  • If you believe in the wisdom of crowds (which, after all, is the fundamental tenet of consumer research), the smart money, as usual, is on the Patriots (17%), followed by the Rams (11%), Packers (9%) and Eagles (8%).

Methodology: The 24-question survey was fielded Tuesday, Sept. 11 to U.S. males ages 21 to 44 who use MFour's proprietary mobile research app, Surveys On The Go®. 600 completes were collected within 3 hours. Qualifying respondents stated they are interested in the NFL and had watched at least one televised or streamed game during its opening weekend. 

Interested in on how you can achieve fast, accurate and representative quick-turnaround research data of your own? Just get in touch by clicking here.

Topics: mobile surveys, surveys on the go, market research, consumer insights, surveys, pro football

Case Study: Troubleshooting a Sports Drink's In-Store Displays

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

Sports Drink blog 30July18

The Challenge:

Marketers of a sports drink brand were curious whether their beverage was being properly placed and displayed at a specific major retail chain's stores. Additionally, the beverage maker wanted to know if shoppers who bought its brand were satisfied with the selection of flavors and sizes?

The Solution:

MFour conducted a GPS geolocation study of the retail chain’s shoppers, intercepting them naturally as they entered a store and surveying them immediately on their smartphones via the mobile app Surveys on the Go®. Shoppers who said they had bought the client's sports drink from the retailer within the past 90 days qualified for the survey and were directed to find it. All 250 respondents also answered a photo question in the survey with their smartphone camera, showing the shelf display of the product and its competitors.

Key findings:

1. Confusion over where to look:

  • 34% of shoppers said they had a hard time finding the drink.
  • Shoppers named four different aisles where they had expected to find the drink.
  • Most looked first among bottled waters (39%) or sports drinks (48%).
  • Others initially checked in the juice or soda aisles.
  • 98% eventually did find the drink.

2. Dissatisfaction with display and product availability

  • 34% said they were dissatisfied with the display.
  • 36% said the product was not neatly arranged on the shelf.
  • 51% said they couldn’t find the flavor they wanted.
  • 53% couldn’t find the quantity-per-package they wanted.
  • 16% said the sports drink was not in stock.

3. Threat to in-store sales

  • 57% of respondents said they would be willing to buy the drink online.

Insights and recommendations:

  • Establish a single, consistent aisle location.
  • Display it with bottled waters or sports drinks, but not either-or.
  • Offer a single-bottle option, in addition to multi-bottle packages.
  • Provide more flavor variety and keep shelves well-stocked.
  • Improve visibility of the drink, which was often on the bottom shelf.

To learn how to build your own market research solutions like this and get results in hours, days, or just a few weeks, get in touch with us by clicking here.

Topics: location based survey, mobile surveys, surveys on the go, gps, case study

GDPR Is Good for Market Research Because it’s Good for Consumers

Posted by Vardan Kirakosyan on May 24, 2018 4:07:20 PM

GDPR Blog 10May18


May 25, the day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect in the European Union, is the day the consumer insights industry finally is being forced to become absolutely serious about data sourcing and data quality. At last, consumers who provide the data are being accorded the respect and fair and honest treatment they’ve always deserved. And that's good news for all consumer insights professionals who care about quality, and not just about filling quotas. 

GDPR’s impact on market research providers and buyers will be felt beyond the EU, because companies that collect data from consumers in EU countries must comply, regardless where they are based. Apple isn’t waiting: 9to5Mac reports that it's banning apps from its App Store if they don’t comply with a policy prohibiting publishers of iOS apps from providing consumers’ location data to third parties “without explicit consent from the user."

(For the detailed rundown you need on GDPR’s significant implications for the market research industry, attend the upcoming webinar, "The GDPR Survival Checklist for Market Researchers." It's happening May 31 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern; to sign up, just click here.)

Meanwhile, U.S.-specific regulations similar to GDPR are in the pipeline, notably the California Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018, which will be put to a vote on the November ballot. The new law requires any company that collects data from consumers in California to disclose what’s being collected or sold, while giving each individual the right to opt out.

These new consumer rights are not a burden, but an opportunity for market research – and here’s why:

  • It has long been obvious that data quality can't be achieved unless researchers are truthful and transparent with the consumers they rely on to provide the data.
  • Treat consumers well, which most definitely means obtaining their informed consent to be surveyed or have their physical and digital journeys passively tracked, and they will reward you by upholding their end of the bargain with willing engagement and thoughtful survey responses.

Market research should have happily embraced this fundamental principle long ago, as soon as research methodology began its migration to digital space after having previously engaged consumers primarily by telephone call and face-to-face interview.

Instead, it has become commonplace for data providers and buyers alike to sacrifice quality for quantity in the race to keep completes coming from a public that’s increasingly reluctant to participate knowingly in online consumer research. Third-party, questionably sourced data can be a tempting short-cut for researchers who are desperate to make their projects feasible. But the industry has to do better than that, not just to respect the consumer, but to know precisely where the data is coming from. If you aren't in command of your data's sourcing, you're less likely to command respect as a fully credible and authoritative contributor to the process of making informed business decisions.

The beauty of GDPR for consumer insights is that it signals the end of cutting corners on data validation and data quality. GDPR means having to engage honestly and directly with first-party consumers, who now will have the explicit right to be treated as they’ve always deserved: as informed and willing research partners instead of mere “targets” for data extraction. 

What does this mean to the actual task of performing consumer research, and serving the clients who rely on it?

  • First, the flow of passively-tracked data is likely to be severely constricted for many suppliers and their customers. Consumers are becoming more aware that their locations and behaviors are being observed, and that they have a right to opt out.
  • Second, companies that purchase third-party  data will need to pay closer attention to how it’s being sourced. They’ll need assurances that the consumers providing it have received disclosures and have given consent, as required by the privacy laws. And if those assurances and verifications are lacking, the responsible, GDPR-compliant approach will be to shun data from those sources.
  • Third, brands and companies that need consumer data will now have to focus on the quality of research participants’ survey experiences. Industry resource GreenBook has repeatedly documented, and with rising concern, how panelists’ experience has been a secondary consideration, at best, for many consumer insights professionals. Now, in keeping with the consumer-first spirit of GDPR,  it’s time for the industry to truly earn consumers’ cooperation and consent by guaranteeing the good experiences and fair rewards that will make them want to opt in instead of tuning out. 

MFour welcomes the new privacy and consent laws because they’re the same rules under which we’ve always operated. We’ve recognized from the start that in research, as in retail, the consumer must come first. A quality experience for our research participants translates into quality data for our clients.

Transparency is built into our dealings with the more than 2 million U.S. consumers who have downloaded Surveys On The Go®, the pioneering mobile app MFour launched in 2011 to bring consumer research into the Smartphone Era.

  • For example, rather than track consumers' movements surreptitiously, or obtain merely technical, legalistic consent via fine print in the app’s terms of use, our policy is to give our app-users regular reminders that we would like them to turn on their devices’ location features. 
  • We make sure they understand that, in return for letting us keep track of their whereabouts, they are more likely to qualify for location-based surveys whose cash rewards are especially attractive.
  • The proposition is clearly stated, and the decision is theirs to make. It's what fair-dealing with consumers in the research realm demands: always making it clear that they have agency over their data and participation.
  • If a consumer who uses Surveys On The Go® would rather not be tracked by location, that’s fine; that person remains an app-user in good standing, and is still eligible for studies that are not location-sensitive. Personally identifiable information is always kept confidential and not shared with clients or anybody else.

To see what it takes to win consumers' trust in the research experience and gain their informed consent, you can visit the iOS App Store and Google Play, then search for Surveys On The Go®. Many consumers have left comments about their experiences with the app, and more than 70,000 have quantified their opinions by giving SOTG a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.

So the days of dubiously sourced, catch-as-catch-can data acquisition are dwindling. Now the Digital Era is edging closer to maturity, and the Wild West mentality that has allowed some data collectors to play fast and loose with transparency and consent has nearly run its course.

Like it or not, market research, too, will be forced to focus on how data is sourced, while emphasizing the consumers' right to transparency about how and why their data is being collected. The realization will spread industry-wide that data quality comes first, that it doesn’t come dirt cheap, and that it doesn’t come from just anywhere, but from reliable, validated, first-party consumers who are being treated fairly and transparently, and having quality research experiences.  

Vardan Kirakosyan is MFour's Vice President of Research Solutions.

To go deeper into GDPR and its implications for the insights industry, remember to sign up for our webinar, "The GDPR Survival Checklist for Market Researchers," presented by Vardan Kirakosyan of MFour. It's happening May 31 at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern. To register, just click here. 

Topics: mobile research, surveys on the go, market research, consumer insights, GDPR, data quality

A Video Love Letter to MFour

Posted by admin on May 10, 2016 4:56:27 PM

Aw, shucks. We’re absolutely touched by this loving endorsement sent in today by one of the million Americans who make up our superb Surveys on the Go® panel. You made our day!

Check it out below:

[video width="144" height="192" mp4="http://mfour.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Panelist-video.mp4"][/video]

Topics: MFour Mobile Research, News, MFour Blog, panelists, reviews, surveys on the go

Introducing MFourDIY, A Mobile Research Revolution for the Masses

Posted by admin on Apr 19, 2016 2:24:19 PM


NextGen DIY mobile design means no more Monkeying around with antiquated panels and platforms

Dive in at mfourdiy.com

MFour Mobile Research launched MFourDIY, the next breakthrough in fast, accurate, reliable, easily accessible consumer survey data. It’s a new, cost-efficient way to field all-mobile, do-it-yourself surveys by exploiting the vast capabilities of the phones hard-wired to consumers’ hands. MFourDIY extends the unrivaled clout of Surveys on the Go® to anyone who needs excellent market research that can fully include hard-to-reach demographics such as Millennials, Hispanics and African Americans.

Clients can create a free account, design sophisticated surveys and access more than a million consumers via the Surveys on the Go®, mobile smart phone app. Check out the platform by visiting mfourdiy.com

MFour DIY arrives already vetted by forward-looking brands and researchers who’ve stepped up to field mobile surveys during the platform’s Beta-testing. Their experiences speak for themselves.

  • “Easy to program and field.” Derek Turk, Vice President of Ratings & Research, Lionsgate Entertainment Inc.
  • "The best DIY research.” Micah Mack, Shopper Insights Marketing Manager, PepsiCo

“We’re democratizing all-mobile research. We’ve got the only all-mobile platform and it’s getting rave reviews,” St. Hilaire said.

Topics: MFour Mobile Research, News, pepsico, smartphone, lionsgate, MFour Blog, mfourdiy, mobile, surveys on the go, chris st. hilaire

MFour App, “Survey’s on the Go” Among Top in App Store

Posted by admin on Jan 29, 2016 8:22:58 AM

“Surveys on the Go® ranked top 80 in app store busiest app section, lifestyle”

National mobile market research firm MFour Mobile Research’s Surveys on the Go® application is among Apple’s top apps, ranking 80 in the lifestyle section of the app store, among more than 2 million applications. Its ease of use, stellar customer service, and panelist incentive all push this application above of the rest, and contribute to its 4.5 star rating with more than 28,000 reviews.
“It’s simple. We treat our panelists well so they recommend our app to their friends,” said MFour CEO Chris. St. Hilaire. MFour also reported that more than 2,000 new panelists are signing up to participate daily.

Topics: MFour Mobile Research, lifestyle app, News, apple app store, MFour Blog, mobile apps, surveys on the go

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