market research mobile-apps


With 81% of the U.S. owning a smartphone market research must find a way to take advantage of this rich data source. Why? The most common methods used to collect insights aren’t working and market research mobile-apps have significant research advantages.

Research Crisis

An article in on “How Mobile Research Gets You Closer to Consumers” detailed the reasons a research crisis was declared in 2017. The most common methods used by market researchers weren’t working. Door-to-door surveys were considered expensive and intrusive, paper-and-pen surveys were slow and hard to review and online surveys were only getting a 49% satisfaction rate.

Telephone surveys aren’t the answer either. In 1997 the response rate for phone surveys was 36%. By 2012 that response rate had dropped to 9% where it stayed until 2016 and then dropped to 7% in 2017 and 6% in 2018. Why this precipitous decline? said most people believe that the increase in robo-calls and other solicitation calls keeps people from answering their phone for any unknown caller, which would include pollsters.

Why Use Market Research Mobile-Apps? published an ebook extolling the market research advantages to using mobile-apps. They talked about data tracking not just by location but segmenting by app usage, mobile carrier, type of phone and their operating system. Market research mobile-apps allow validation because respondents capture pictures of places or receipts showing their presence in a location providing more information about the purchase they made. Market research mobile-apps can also provide emotion-rich insights. Selfies, either in video, photo or audio, made during or just after a purchase provide an intense, in-their-own-words emotional reaction that can drive the research story more clearly for decision makers.

Three Strategies for Effectively Utilizing Mobile-Apps

The Quirks article previously mentioned posited three steps for effectively utilizing mobile-apps. First, as with any research project, identify the need. Defining the goal of the study is essential no matter what method you use to collect your data. Second, pick your audience. This is an exciting plus to using mobile-apps in market research. All of the data points about your audience are stored in their app. It is just a simple data analysis to profile your ideal target audience and find the specific ones you want on your panel. Finally, add behavioral data. This is the real difference in utilizing mobile-apps. Quirk’s said, “Behavior-driven research is the ability to see what consumers do rather than rely on stated data alone. The reason it’s so important is that it eliminates fraud and recall bias in one step.”

Talking to real people in real time is what utilizing market research mobile-apps allows. It’s an exciting time to be a market researcher. Interested in talking further? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Market Research Executive Recruiter, Daniel Wilberschied at

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