Tips for getting ‘natural’ insights from ‘the real world’ with mobile qual
Dianne Gardiner shares learning and tips from two recent research projects where consumers used their smartphones to share slices of their lives. One involved using smartphone-generated videos and online discussion boards to observe the evolution of painting projects in the home. The other used smartphones to share two weeks of snack-related experiences with moms and their kids.
At the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research held April 26-27 2012 in Rome, Dianne Gardiner of Australia-based Latitude Insights shared her agency’s experience-based learning and tips from two recent research projects where consumers used their smartphones to share slices of their lives. One involved using smartphone-generated videos and online discussion boards to observe the evolution of painting projects in the home. The other used smartphones to share two weeks of snack-related experiences with moms and their kids.
Gardiner and her clients found two clear benefits to mobile-enabled qual:
- The ability to get insights from the ‘real world’ since mobile takes research to all points of interaction with brands and products, in true competitive context.
- The ability to conduct in-home ‘ethnography’ with minimal time and financial investment.
The clients felt they really “got to know” their target participants — especially from the ultimate deliverable: a 5-minute summary video drawn from extensive clips. Gardiner was favorably impressed by the overall naturalness of responses, noting that “Kids felt at ease because they were in their own home, and it was mum who was asking the questions.” However, she cautions that, “Mum isn’t always the best interviewer for kids…. She’s not unbiased, doesn’t know our objectives, isn’t a trained researcher, and can ask leading questions.”
Nevertheless, Gardiner encourages researchers to “use mobile to go where ‘traditional’ qual can’t” including:
- To take you to multiple points of interaction with brand and products.
- To capture behavior as it occurs.
- To contrast what participants say with what they actually do.
Gardiner also shared a short list of lessons learned about how to avoid information overload and potential tech-related issues:
- Trial your platform and all potential response types (photo, SMS and video) with multiple respondents
- Get a clear understanding upfront about how the platform will function (any limitations / file size issues / memory limits, etc.)
- Keep respondent numbers low (over 20 is a lot!)
- Set tasks realistically (video recording one family shopping trip or similar activity per day was overwhelming for both the research team and respondents)
- Fully brief all respondents on practical elements (angle of filming, how to save files and upload them)
- Check and chase up for outputs daily
- Allow lots of time for editing and analysis of photos and videos at the back-end
Dianne Gardiner is Managing Director of Latitude Insights, a specialist market research company based in Darling South, Australia that uses online research to develop rich and deep customer insights for its clients. www.latitudeinsights.com/au