Mobile Research Survey Apps: Qualitative as well as Quantitative

Mobile research is already well acknowledged for its unique advantages as a survey gathering modality for quantitative studies – given all the advantages that mobile phones present, not the least of which being its ability to capture in-the-moment feedback. However, now we are beginning to see mobile phone survey software capable of providing rich qualitative insights to market researches.

When using a mobile survey app, opposed to an online, mobile web or sms solution – researches have access to a wider range of rich features for capturing qualitative feedback. The reason mobile survey apps can provide such rich features are that the app is native to the device and capable of accessing the many API’s provided by the operating system. For example, these API’s allow a mobile research app to access the camera (capturing real-time photos and video of a customer experience, or mystery shoppers, etc.), microphone (capturing verbatim comments from respondents), GPS (now researchers can track where a respondent was located when they answered the survey) and accelerometer (detecting the speed at which the customer is moving –Perhaps events are trigged based on speed? are they on an airplane or vehicle when taking the survey? Some interesting applications come to mind!).

Think of a scenario where a shopper is making a purchase decision on a detergent at their local supermarket. Using their smart phone survey app, they can scan a barcode (either on the shelf, price tag or product itself), which launches the survey app and instantly downloads the survey about that product at that location. After completing a few questions relating to their purchase decision, they have the option of taking a photo, video or record in their own words their comments about their product-experience. The qualitative data, along with the quantitative data is then appended to the survey and uploaded in real-time. In addition, if there is an incentive associated with the product survey, the consumer would then download the digital coupon immediately at the conclusion of the survey which then can be redeemed at the cashier by swiping the coupon’s barcode directly from the mobile phone. Instant in-store feedback with qualitative insights and instant rewards!

There are 6 billion mobile phones now on the planet – granted the majority are still feature-phones. However, within the next 2-3 years most all the feature phone users will have converted to smart phones. There is clearly a huge opportunity for market researches to begin taking advantage of smart survey software that is capable of capturing qualitative insights from mobile phone users.

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