Mobile Research Conference 2011 – Day 2

Article formally published by Globalpark.

The Mobile Research Conference 2011 in London provided a wealth of information to an audience mix of agency, brand and academic researchers – and the technology providers that make it possible. To distribute the lessons learned to an broader audience, will supply a number of articles about the event – here is another account from MRC attendee Natasha Allden about Day Two)

After an information packed day yesterday, visitors were eager to see what day 2 at the Mobile Research Conference 2011 would bring. Hosted by Tim Macer of Meaning Ltd, keynote Bruce Hoang from Orange was invited up to share his knowledge of mobile media usage in Europe and set the scene for the rest of the day with an insightful examination of mobile research in UK, Spain, France and Poland.

The research was done in collaboration with TNS via face-to-face surveys followed by an online phase. Mobile as the seventh media is a complex research channel and has many applications. Being able to disseminate this and engage participants with relevant transparent surveys and information was essential. Orange saw that a degree of responsibility and accountability ought to be taken by the network provider.

Findings re-iterated the importance of context as different countries (particularly between emerging and mature markets) saw different usage, handsets and contract types. For more information see Orange Mobile Targeting Monitor.

In the next sessionGuy Rolfe from Kantar (a global research and insight consultancy), demonstrated that collaboration with experts as part of the ‘InTouch‘ program tackled the challenge of engagement and avoided research becoming part of the ‘noise’ that takes up people’s attention on mobiles.

This collaboration helped identify the rich nature of data from applications and methods to maximise mobile research with the five senses of the mobile phone being available for use. Another key point Guy raised was the far-reaching nature of mobile research and the ease that mobile datasets can be linked with other data makes this a key tool to the integrated cross-channel approach to mobile research.

Taking this discussion further, Jeron de Rooij of Valuewait gave an in-depth presentation on a case study that looked into how mobile can use consumers’ ‘lost’ moments.

As in real life interaction, mobile interaction must adhere to the rules of ‘real life’ research; easy participation, minimal effort, interaction that adds value, interaction based on reciprocity). Jeron re-iterated the importance of trust through transparency on mobile platforms that is supplemented with a reward system. One method adopted to achieve this was to provide twitter feeds to participants about research outcomes getting them involved in end-to-end process.

Peter Lynn (University of Essexre-iterated Jeron’s statements about the importance of formatting a survey for the appropriate channel, considering mobile user sessions are typically 3-4 minutes unlike desktop self-administered surveys. Coverage as an integrated approach to survey delivery minimises risk of accuracy errors, a mixed mode approach would generally minimise risk of errors in terms of sampling and non-response. Peter recognised the benefit of mobile research and / or a mixed mode approach, but to realise these benefits suitable protocols need to be implemented and recommended a better dissemination of good practice on mobile research, re-iterating how relatively young the field of mobile research still is.


Dr. Michael Bosnjak (Free University of Bozen – Bolzano) and Sven Scherrer of Globalpark shared an interesting case study conducted in collaboration with Google into the benefits and pitfalls of using voice input for open-ended questions.

The importance of formatting came to the forefront in this talk in terms of usability, results showed that participants immediate response was a preference for Android text input, however a retrospective assessment showed theiPhone’s voice input method as the most user friendly and the Android voice input method the least. Different technologies need to be considered as a proxy variable in research as results can vary greatly, further research is underway to really understand how voice input effects non-response and drop-out rates. This type of research is starting to develop the necessary understanding industry requires to deliver quality, valid and relevant mobile research results in all it’s different guises.


Justin Bailey (The Nielsen Company) demonstrated the value of mobile technology in gathering real-time, content rich data in his case study of mobile digital ethnography to measure the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Again the importance of formatting, regularity and briefing was important to control risks of drop-out and non-response. An interesting point was raised that consideration to the safety of participants was made, with ‘please be safe’ messages accompanying survey completion request.

The next step is looking at doing a similar study at the 2012 Olympics that incorporates geofencing, bread-crumbing, barcodes and video components and putting into practice lessons learned from the World Cup to develop standards.

The concept of geo-location capabilities in mobile was expanded on by Thaddeus Fulford-Jones (CEO and Founder of Locately). Locately uses GPS to analyse semi-continuous location data, this provides insight not only into what they do online or what they think from surveys but where and when they go into certain locations. This can give marketers tools to better engage shoppers and even understand how cities work. The participants opt-in to an incentive based scheme and there day-to-day movements are tracked. The greatest value of this data is when it is linked to other consumer data like what people buy, giving a full contextualised holistic view of customer data that provides real value and insight. This helps organisations make strategic marketing decisions on segmentation (tribes is the term used by Locately to identify groups of individuals who show similar behaviours and patterns), new store locations etc.

A change in the schedule was filled by (MRC Award Honorable Mention) Hannu Verkasalo from Zokem, who expanded on the benefit of mobile research and shared how this could be enhanced with on-device metering. However, as discussed by Thaddeus, the importance of providing a holistic view so putting data in context, integrating with other information and possibly using mixed-mode methods to ensure 360 degree insights can be identified.


One could question whether there are any myths in such a young research area, but our panel raised some fascinating debates and got the audience thinking. (MRC Award Winner) AJ Johnson (Ipsos), Tacis Gavoyannis (Radius), Sean Conry (Techneos), Karin Rothstock (Tomorrow Focus) and Vincent Blaney (Millward Brown) were the panellists, who took on the first question of whether mobile research is representative. General consensus was that this is not the case and will continue to reach the unreachable – the challenge is encouraging people to partake by innovatively engaging and feeding back to participants.

 Mobile appears to be facing the same challenges as online research did at initiation, with increased familiarity and continued ROI being demonstrated and by maintaining transparency and providing accountability these challenges are unlikely to continue. The consideration is not mobile vs. other methods but integrating datasets across channels, and using different channels for different purposes i.e. mobile to capture pictures, online to complete in-depth surveys and a telephone call to gather rich opinion data.

Something that isn’t a myth are clients’ concerns over cost and privacy, there is 80% awareness of the risks of hackers and concern over third party usage, this area is huge and there are still some grey patches, however best practice is being adopted and will continue to be refined including the use of safety warnings on surveys, transparency and communication and the importance of relevance to the participant ensuring that the researcher doesn’t become a spammer. There is a misnomer about mobile research costs as it is more expensive to text than email, this is likely to lead to regular participant refinement with non-responders soon being left alone due to the cost of pursuing.

The audience then posed a number of questions and some of the key points that arose was the importance of managing, analysing and acting on the data as there is such a quantity of information out there (‘data smog’) it is not about new ways of capturing the data it is about optimising data collected. A re-iteration of mobile research complementing other methods was made and the liklihood that mobile research will dictate a much closer relationship with panel members.

Our final presentation of the conference was an exciting look at mobile research from the perspective of mobile marketing. Closing Keynote Paul Berney (Mobile Marketing Association), recognised the indispensable nature of mobile as part of the marketing mix which extends and enhances other channels. Mobile has change the expectation of the consumer (everything at the touch of a button) and the behavioural change has ramifications to marketing as a whole, it is changing the engagement models and the language. Consumers are always connected and mobile, it is important to leverage this new behavioural knowledge for marketing and therefore brand success.

Mobile gives us something different, contextualisation and relevance (who, where, when, what), consumers choose when to share, and the whole research process, like marketing, becomes more of a two way process.

IN SUMMARY, Day Two was another whirlwind of a day packed with fascinating information and entertaining out-takes. There was a stronger focus on research design, new technologies and the importance of a holistic approach to mobile marketing. Through the day five key themes kept emerging and was what I took home with me at the end of the day:

  • Contextualisation – the holistic view
  • Multi-mode, research across different channels to minimise risk of inaccurate data
  • Engaging, enriched experiences with participants provide value and have a dialogue
  • More than just surveys, emergence of geo-location, voice, photo, video capture provide a wealth of rich data
  • Transparency and best practice improvement should be at the forefront of all mobile research design

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: