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Mobile Methods

The trend to abandon fixed-line phone lines in favor of mobile phones is ongoing. Only about 50% of households in Austria are equipped with fixed-line phones. In so called “mobile-only” household’s do live especially younger people with low income (source: RTR). In order to reach these potential targets by market research, mobile communication channels offer a valuable approach. Especially the strong growth of mobile Internet use of younger consumers is helpful to get in touch with them by mobile research methods. People who are often abroad for private or business reasons abroad can be easily surveyed with the use of mobile devices, e.g. iPhones, Android-smartphones etc.

Mobile methods make new ways of data collection possible. Mobile Market- and Social Research in its narrower sense is a term for research methods using non-voice functions of smartphones without support of the interviewer i.e. self-completed approach. Mobile Market Research uses the advantages of mobile communication channels to and from people for research purposes.

A crucial quality of mobile methods is its context-sensitive character i.e. the possibility to capture the context and the therefore reaching people in real time situations. Mobile methods perform as instruments for a better understanding of living environment of people.

High speed responses in mobile surveys can be confirmed through several scientific studies. Within the first hour of fieldwork about 50% of total response is likely to be measured. This is due to location- and time-independent answering possibilities of questionnaires on mobile devices. Mobile web-surveys are flexibly filled in with appropriate devices in principle at any location with mobile network coverage or Wi-Fi.

Web-based surveys to be completed on smartphones are accepted as research method already. The invitation to mobile surveys can be done by SMS, E-Mail or passively by QR-Code which scanned by respondent lead to the mobile questionnaire. Links embedded into banner can be integrated into mobile applications to evaluate e.g. usability and acceptance of the application. Scientific results show, that more and more respondents in classical online surveys take part via mobile devices. Therefore it is important when setting up an online project to consider the mobile world as well.

Another benefit of mobile methods is measuring additional information like location where the mobile survey is filled in and upload of photos and videos giving lively and immediate impression of experiences in the environment. Multimedia test-material e.g. TV-spots, logos and advertising sujets can be included into mobile questionnaires as well.

Application fields of mobile surveys:

  • Evaluation of Mobile Marketing campaigns & mobile applications
  • Innovation- & trend-research
  • Customersatisfaction-studies
  • Advertising-tests

Mobile methods have some disadvantages which have to be taken into account. Even though mobile Internet usage is growing, representative surveys for the general population are not possible yet. Limitations result from mobile devices themselves and mobile communication technology, clumsy usability of particular mobile phones, small size of displays, different mobile platforms as well as low battery capacities. However, we are convinced that majority of these technical limitations will be solved in future.

We use professional survey software, which is capable  of displaying mobile questionnaires on several mobile platforms like iOS and Android in a user-friendly, comprehensible and comparable way.

In qualitative mobile-Blogging studies participants give better insights in their everyday life. In a kind of diary-method digital advantages are used: behavior, comments, personal pictures and videos can be captured for ethnographical research. Accordingly with the use of smartphones and its camera snapshots from people with whom respondents are together, streets, buildings and homes they live in are possible. An outstanding benefit in comparison to pure digital cameras is the transmission of photos and videos through wireless technology. This allows just-in time availability of data for researcher and client. Here you can download the doctorial dissertation of Emanuel Maxl about Mobile Market Research at the TU Ilmenau.

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