Smartphone Surveys Prove Their Validity in Marketing Research

Gongos Research Study Points to New Degrees of Freedom for Mobile Research

AUBURN HILLS, MI – June 14, 2011 – Challenging the general conception that surrounds conducting quantitative mobile surveys in consumer research, a new study proves that smartphone-based survey data is statistically comparable to online survey data. In a four-phase research-on-research initiative in partnership with Best Buy, conclusions from the study not only point to consistent insights, but reveal that smartphone-based surveys offer degrees of freedom beyond today’s commonly accepted mobile research practices.

Specifically, Gongos Research tested a variety of research objectives on the smartphone platform, including concept evaluation, segmentation confirmation and respondent engagement. In conjunction with this, critical quantitative elements were evaluated, including scale design, survey length, open-end response feasibility, image-based stimuli, incentive levels, and complex analytical techniques, e.g. MaxDiff trade-off analysis.

Of the multiple findings, one validates the use of five-point, end-anchored scales when conducting product pricing, purchase consideration and product comparison exercises. Another shows that MaxDiff trade-off exercises can be done on the smartphone platform, allowing companies such as Best Buy to gain reliable consumer feedback in a more true-to-life environment. Finally, open-ended questions on smartphones yielded equally rich qualitative content (with smartphone responses averaging 65 characters vs. 59 characters for online).

“These insights not only challenge commonly accepted intelligence regarding mobile research,” says Michael Alioto, Ph.D., Vice President, Marketing Sciences for Gongos Research, “they suggest that smartphone-based surveys create new standards that redefine how mobile research can be used, and that really excites us.”

“It is important for us to meet consumers on their terms to continually gain meaningful insights about their shopping experiences,” adds Julie Beth McFall Vipperman, Ph.D., Senior Director, Consumer Brand Research for Best Buy. “For many of our customers, smartphones are the medium of choice, and we want to find new ways to engage with them through those devices.”

Beyond expanding where and how we can interact with consumers, particularly with early adopters, smartphone-based surveys also offer the potential for researchers to reach segments of the population not as inclined to complete online surveys, such as non-acculturated Hispanics and “digital natives,” consumers that have interacted with digital technology from an early age.

Alioto will join Vice President of Research Innovation, Greg Heist, and industry peers to report out the results of this study at the Merlien Institute’s “Market Research in the Mobile World” Conference July 19-20 in Atlanta. And, McFall Vipperman will join Heist to share implications of the findings and how to best identify situations to use mobile research at IIR’s “The Market Research Event” November 7-9 in Florida.