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Talking About Panel Fraud Is Good. Solving It with Mobile Is Better.

 

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The thorough and unsparing conversation the insights industry needs to have about panel fraud and the decay of online sample quality continues to gain momentum.

 

Two research industry veterans, Mark Menig, the CEO of TrueSample, and Lisa Wilding-Brown of Innovate, have begun a series of podcast dialogues aimed at taking a deep look at the problem’s dimensions. They’re trying to get at what is or isn’t realistic when it comes to shoring up confidence in online panels and the data they provide – a matter of longstanding worry that’s been snowballing as sample-buyers’ doubts and misgivings go unanswered while the quality they depend on continues to corrode.

 

From MFour’s perspective, the podcasts sound like discussions of strategy and tactics for a battle that no longer needs to be fought – at least for researchers who recognize that in-app mobile research technology and methodology is changing everything.

 

We’ll soon put in our two cents (or more) in a coming blog post and newsletter about this worthwhile podcast conversation. But for now, here are links to the Data Quality Download Podcasts that have been posted to date. The first looks primarily at robot response fraud. The second focuses on the ins and outs of trying to use online IP addresses to determine whether respondents are legit. Each installment runs 19 or 20 minutes, but it’s worth spending some time to get a close perspective on the rearguard struggle for relevance that partisans of online panels are trying to wage.

 

If panel fraud is a concern for you, stay tuned. And if you can’t wait to find out more about the best way to tackle it, just get in touch at solutions@mfour.com.

 

 

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Uber Rider Survey Results: Yes, We Know Which Apps Consumers Have.

 

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A new survey of Uber riders by MFour suggests that while the rideshare giant’s  image is suffering, majorities of U.S. customers still like what they’re getting.

 

What’s more, they say they won’t abandon the service, just because Uber has begun letting its drivers accept tips.

  • A resounding 79.4% of Uber riders said allowing tips is a “great idea” or a “good idea,” while 13.1% felt negatively about it.
  • 67.5% saw the tipping option as a benefit rather than a detriment, because they value the opportunity to reward service.

Scandals surrounding the company and deposed CEO Travis Kalanick have hurt the company’s reputation among more than a quarter of Uber app users. However, Uber still enjoys favorability among solid segments – those for whom personal experience outweighs negative headlines.

  • 28.4% of riders said they perceive Uber more negatively than they had previously.
  • 33.4% said their opinion of the company has improved recently.
  • 27.4% of Uber riders said that Kalanick’s resignation is “a good thing.”
  • 10.8% saw the CEO’s exit as bad for Uber.
  • 23% said they have used Uber less over the past month.
  • 26.2% said they’ve used Uber more over that span.

Most of the respondents who now see Uber more negatively pointed to its corporate scandals.

  • 50.6% cited Uber’s company culture or leadership as the main turn-off.
  • 11.4% said their primary beef with Uber is that “they don’t treat the drivers well.”
  • 14.9% said they feel more negatively because of Uber’s service quality or pricing.
  • 7% said other ride-share or taxi options are now better than Uber.

Among other findings:

  • 56% of Uber riders said keeping basic fares unchanged and encouraging tips is the best way to help drivers.
  • 14.1% favored raising basic rates but keeping the no-tips policy.
  • 21% thought drivers don’t deserve more money and should simply be replaced if they quit.

Asked to sum up Uber, about 10% used terms reflecting recent headlines, including “turmoil,” “controversial,” “crisis” and “sexism.” More pointed to positives, including about 35% who cited convenience, reliability, or fast service.

 

Methodology:
Survey conducted Wednesday, June 21. MFour used app-targeting to identify Android-using members of Surveys on the Go® mobile panel who have downloaded the Uber app. Responses within two hours from 1,112 riders distributed across U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia. Respondents divided evenly between males and females; half ages 18 to 34, half 35 to 64.

 

Questions? Just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

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How Mobile Apps & GeoLocation Drove Insights on Car Deals and Meals

 

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A good deal of daily living in the USA revolves around meals and wheels, so countless brands and advertisers are looking for insights into how consumers shop for lunch and get where they need to go.

 

One crucial way to get your research where it needs to go is app targeting. It lets you identify and connect in a flash with mobile consumers whose smartphone apps identify them as the perfect people to ask about brands and behaviors associated with those apps.

 

Another data-rich option is the location-based mobile study, today’s technologically advanced improvement on traditional clipboard-and-pen shop-alongs and sidewalk surveys. Using GPS-based GeoLocation, you can find and query consumers while they’re in the act of shopping and buying, or wait until just after they’ve left a store or other relevant location.

 

MFour recently put app-tracking and GeoLocation in action on behalf of valued clients who needed fast-action reads on meals and wheels. Felicia Leone Trimboli, president and founder of Leone Marketing Research, wanted to delve into meals – specifically, whether Panera Bread customers would be open to paying a $3 delivery fee per order. By targeting users of the MyPanera smartphone app, she got her answers in a hurry from 100 consumers who were exactly the right people to ask. To find out what she learned, just click here.

 

Cars.com went the GeoLocation route, and for good reason. It needed to find car shoppers at a specific time – Memorial Day weekend – and a particular kind of place, car dealerships nationwide. The object was to learn the who, what, how and why of car shopping over those three big days for all kinds of commerce. MFour has geofenced thousands of auto dealerships nationwide, making it easy to connect with just the right shoppers among the million-plus active users of its Surveys on the Go® research app as they entered or exited any of those dealerships. Researchers for Cars.com used Surveys on the Go® to connect with 600 natural car shoppers over the Memorial Day holiday while they were in the midst of shopping in a dealer’s showroom or lot. To read a blog post on what they learned, click here.

 

Think of mobile app targeting and mobile location surveys as the fastest, most reliable wheels you can ride on in your quest for insights. Then you’ll be able to give your clients or bosses a sumptuous, data-enriched meal of insights and analysis. Meals and wheels – just keep ‘em in mind as you think about how to serve your clients or your brands’ marketers. To learn more about app tracking, GeoLocation studies and other advanced mobile research capabilities, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

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Breaking Business News from Bloomberg: Mobile Apps Rule

 

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If there’s one thing you should understand about mobile research technology, it’s the difference between in-app surveys and mobile-web surveys. When you choose between them, you’re not just choosing a fielding method. You’re choosing between two types of consumer panels, each of which will have a decisively different kind of survey-taking experience.

 

In making your choice, the primary concerns should be functionality and engagement. They’re inextricably bound, because respondents’ engagement will evaporate if the technological approach you’ve picked fails to deliver the smooth, fast and uninterrupted functional performance on mobile devices that the public demands.

 

In-app mobile streamlines the process by letting the smartphone do all the work. The app instantly brings you face to face with your respondents because the entire questionnaire loads instantly into their phones. Your consumers can take the survey from start to finish without connecting to the Internet. 

 

With mobile-web surveys, your connection to respondents is like the connection between rival tennis players. Your questions are housed on a website. You send panelists emails, and those who click on your link will be connected to the survey via their mobile browser. Instead of being right there with them, you’re on opposite sides of the ‘Net – as in Internet. Each question becomes a volley – you serve it to respondents’ phones, they return it to your website – and so on until the survey is finished. That is, unless the volleying gets interrupted by a dropped web connection or slow downloads and uploads of the questions and answers. Mobile users expect perfect functionality, and if you give them anything less they’ll penalize you by dropping your survey or by rushing through it thoughtlessly to get it over with.

 

If all this sounds a bit too technical or abstract, here’s an example from the real world of business. Interviewed earlier this year by eMarketer, M. Scott Havens, global head of digital for Bloomberg News, shared key facts about how it interacts with its mobile readers.

 

Bloomberg gets six times more traffic from the mobile web as it does from its mobile app, Havens said. Score one for mobile web? Not quite.

 

Here’s what Havens said next: ”On the other hand, the mobile app user generates 25 times the page views per month than the average mobile web user. Our mobile app users end up generating more page views [overall].”

 

Consequently, Havens said, Bloomberg’s digital strategy calls for coaxing its mobile web users to give up connecting via web browsers and to download its mobile app instead.

 

“Once we form relationships with people, we encourage them to download the app. On one level, the mobile web is a conduit to the app. We use it as a way to introduce the site to people and hopefully drive them to download the app, where they can consume our content in a faster, easier, more personalized way.”

 

Faster. Easier. More personalized – not to mention 25 times the engagement. This is a prominent media executive talking about the advantages of an in-app connection with consumers over a mobile web connection with consumers.

 

So if you don’t quite grasp the difference between the two types of mobile technology and methodology, don’t worry. All you need to do is remember what’s working for Bloomberg. And for complete information to guide your choice, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

 

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Let Validated Consumers Tell You Whether Your Mobile Ads are Working

 

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Frustrated? Confused? Looking for answers?

 

Marketers and advertising professionals are nodding their heads, because these are natural responses to the dizzying changes sweeping the landscape of digital advertising. The absence of clear rules, definitions, metrics and best practices for gauging the success of digital ad campaigns – especially crucial mobile ads – is nothing if not anxiety-provoking.

 

Turn, a marketing platform provider, recently surveyed advertising agency executives, and some of the findings were revealing: 83% of the respondents rated video ads as the “most effective means” for reaching and influencing consumers. But just how effective was another matter. 76% expressed concerns about “viewability” – a standard measure based on how long and how fully a video ad is displayed on a mobile recipient’s device. A video ad is commonly considered “viewable” – and therefore billable – if half the screen comes in view for two seconds.

Is “viewability” an adequate measure? It’s a high stakes question; Facebook, for example, gets 85% of its ad revenues from mobile.

 

So here’s a suggestion: instead of using a stopwatch and a ruler, how about talking to real consumers to see how they react to mobile advertising – both during the testing stage and after a campaign has launched?

 

In the concept- and content-testing stage, you can inject a test ad into the news feeds of consumers on a mobile research panel, knowing they fit the audience profile your campaign is targeting. The test content is indistinguishable from the “live” ads the same panelists customarily receive. This gives you the most natural and realistic preview of how consumers will respond to the test ad. If they respond well, you’ll know you’re primed for mobile success and can plan other marketing approaches accordingly. If not, you’ll have bought yourself a quick heads-up in time to make the necessary fixes. This capability, called Emotional Brand Connections Social Media Ad Testing, is a new offering from MFour, in partnership with Kantar Added Value.

 

To measure effectiveness of mobile campaigns once they’ve been launched, the crucial factor is the unique Ad ID that’s attached to every individual smartphone. Advertisers can obtain the IDs of the devices their ads have reached, and match them against the Ad IDs represented on an all-mobile panel whose members have all provided detailed demographics profiles. You’ll learn whether these validated recipients fit the consumer profiles you really want to reach – and get a fast read on whether you’re getting proper targeting. For deeper measurement insights, you can survey the validated recipients and learn whether they’re noticing the ads, gaining awareness of your brand and product, and being influenced to shop and buy. This technique for measuring advertising targeting and effectiveness is called Mobile Ad Metrics OnDemand.

 

To explore mobile ad testing and measurement further, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

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Facebook Study Takeaway: Time To Get Smart About Mobile Advertising

 

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Video killed the radio star, and smartphones are wounding, if not killing, TV commercials. At least that’s the thrust of a recent study Facebook did of its own users as they engaged with their television screens, but with their mobile devices where they usually rest – in their hands or within reach.

 

Facebook focused on 547 of its users who stated they had watched the season premiere of what it describes as “a popular TV show.” Then it matched their Facebook use against the time slots of commercials that aired during the show. While the show itself was on, no more than 10% of the viewers were on Facebook. But during commercial breaks, more than 15% of viewers typically turned to Facebook as an alternative to focusing on the commercials. At certain moments, more than 20% were using Facebook instead of focusing on the TV. At best, sponsors who spent big bucks on the commercials could hope that these Facebookers had one eye on the TV and another on their smartphones. But that might be wishful thinking.

 

As a control, the study examined Facebook usage during the same time period among a group of users who stated they did not watch the show. It found “no discernible difference in [Facebook] activity” among these non-viewers — about 8% to 10% of this group were on Facebook at any given time during that hour.

 

Facebook offered some interesting takeaways for marketers who are seeking mobile alternatives now that they can’t count on TV commercials to deliver the audiences they commanded before smartphones started to elbow in the audience. The message to advertisers boils down to “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – on their phones.”

  • “Mobile has trained people…to consume what matters and move on…they’re only going to watch ads that grab their attention, reward their time, and are immediately relevant”
  • “Build brand new, short form, mobile creative”
  • “Test and measure ads every week, not every six months”
  • “An advertiser’s ability to measure the right things properly will be the biggest predictor of …mobile advertising success”
  • “The best marketers…are working with the diverse consumer behaviors in the new mobile medium, not against them”
  • “When it comes to mobile, the people and the platforms are so new, fluid, and non-uniform that success is being driven by rapid adaptation and novel methods”

These suggestions make a lot of sense, especially the idea that meeting the challenges of mobile advertising requires “novel methods.” And we have a couple of suggestions of our own about how  you can act effectively on the new realities that Facebook’s study aimed to document.

  • Learn about Emotional Brand Connections Social Media Ad Testing. This new research method and technology enables advertisers to inject their not-yet-launched mobile ads into targeted audiences’ news feeds on Facebook and other social sites. It’s the way to understand how well your concepts and content will flourish in the exact mobile media space where you’re counting on them to work once the campaign begins.
  • Find out how Mobile Advertising Metrics OnDemand leverages the unique Ad IDs assigned to each smartphone, allowing you to see whether you’re reaching your intended audiences. You also can survey validated ad recipients to measure whether they’re noticing your ads, and responding to them in ways that raise awareness of your brand and product and push consumers along the path to purchase.

For more details on these new research products and other advanced mobile solutions, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.

 

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News | Blog | Events

MFour Expands Technical Staff as Growth Surge Continues

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With its client base expanding rapidly, MFour continues to add expertise to ensure that growth won’t compromise quality and consistency. The latest new arrivals on the technical side are Quality Assurance Analyst Thomas Lowerre and Software Engineer Brian Lee.

 

Brian will develop new features and work on automated survey fielding processes, along with fulfilling specific solutions that clients request. He was a senior IT technician at Abraham Lincoln University, an online learning institution where he developed new website features and provided training and supervision for members of its IT staff. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Brian recently started globalwarming.center, an organization that fights global warming. He’s also a sports fan and basketball player, and enjoys listening to EDM.

 

Thomas will ride shotgun for software developers, ensuring that innovations, improvements and processes are defect-free and documented for quick reference when needed. He comes to MFour from Ambry Genetics, where he was a Senior Quality Assurance Analyst. Thomas is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. When he’s not contributing to cutting-edge technology, Thomas hits the high notes singing tenor with the Westminster Chorus, an award-winning, all-male singing group that performs old-fashioned barbershop harmonies.

 

Welcome aboard, Thomas and Brian!

 

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43,158,110 Reasons Why You Need a Representative Survey Panel

 

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One of the most talked-about commercials from this year’s Super Bowl telecast was Budweiser’s mini-documentary celebrating the brand’s immigrant roots. Tracing the struggles and triumphs of 19th century German immigrant brewer Adolphus Busch, the message was geared to resonate with multitudes of Americans who identify with the notion that we’re “a nation of immigrants.”

 

Now the stakes of gaining consumer insights into specific immigrant communities have been documented by Pew Research Center, which regularly tracks how immigration impacts U.S. demographics. Using 2015 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a newly-published Pew report analyzes characteristics of 43,158,110 foreign-born residents who accounted for 13.4% of the total U.S. population.

  • Their median age was 43 and 24.9% were Millennials
  • Their median household income was $51,000 and 50.9% were homeowners
  • 48.4% had attended college, and 29.7% had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 55.4% were concentrated in four states — California, Texas, New York and Florida
  • 44.1% were U.S. citizens, 26.6% were permanent legal residents and 24.5% were “unauthorized” immigrants
  • Nonwhites made up 38.5% of the U.S. population; nonwhite immigrants, 11%
  • Of 197.6 million white Americans, 4% were foreign-born
  • Of 56.5 million Hispanic Americans, 34.4% were foreign-born
  • Of 39.7 million African Americans, 9% were foreign-born
  • Of 17.1 million Asian Americans, 67.2% were foreign-born.
  • Of 10.6 million Americans who identify with another ethnicity, 8.2% were foreign-born

These broad dimensions point toward significant business stakes. Is your brand or company leaving revenue on the table by not obtaining consumer insights on specific communities? Is there a shared “immigrant experience” that might allow a single message to work across multiple immigrant demographics, or is it necessary to target each group separately? What concepts, messages and imagery should brands be using to appeal to immigrants and their second-generation children?

 

The only way to find out is to ask. And to get reliably accurate answers, you’ll need a representative research panel that’s capable of capturing American consumers in all their dimensions. More than one million active U.S. panelists who use Surveys on the Go® — the only all-mobile research app, and they’re incredibly diverse (Click here  for a demographic panel profile).

 

These mobile consumers may be diverse, but they’re united by a shared enthusiasm for taking in-app surveys. They get a smooth, easy and engaging smartphone experience that gratifies American consumers’ common desire for technological experiences that are relevant, rewarding and technically seamless. Pew and the Census Bureau are telling us just who Americans are. Surveys on the Go® is how you meet them. For more information, just contact us at solutions@mfour.com.