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Your Mobile Approach Is All Screwed Up. Small Screens Drive Bigger Results




If your mobile research strategy is really screwed up, it might stem from believing the myth of the small screen. It was once thought that smartphone screens were ill-suited to consumer research because they’re too small to engage mobile survey respondents and elicit accurate reliable data. These smartphone denialists say it’s better to stick to online studies geared to desktops and laptops – sizeable screens that supposedly provide a better user experience.


There’s plenty of real-world data that busts this particular hot air balloon – with one caveat: like TV’s Mythbusters, contradicting a myth takes lots of experimental ingenuity to properly put it to the test.


Recent earnings reports suggest that Google, no stranger to technical ingenuity, is also busy exploding the small-screen myth. Which is only natural, given that Google’s phenomenal success stems in large part from satisfying the public’s enthusiasm for – make that the public’s insistence on – accessing all kinds of content on smartphones.

  • Forbes predicts that Google’s advertising revenue from mobile searches will reach $29 billion in 2017 – 26.6% higher than the $22.9 billion expected from Googling on personal computers.
  • The New York Times reports that Google commands more than 90% of search revenue from mobile devices.
  • And here’s a big reason why: “On smaller mobile displays, Google’s ads occupy a large portion of the screen – making it more likely a user will click on them.”

That last item says it all: the right kind of display on a smartphone screen doesn’t alienate. It engages. And it motivates interaction.


Smartphone surveys are a sequence of mobile interactions. As respondents move through shifting screen displays to receive and answer questions, smooth function is essential; so is an elegant display that’s clear and simple enough to command full engagement. And this leads us to another mobile myth that needs busting: the notion that all mobile is created equal.


Mobile research technology is not a commodity. It is not a generic, undifferentiated, one-size-fits-all utility. Rather than give you a step-by-step explanation, here are the two essential questions you should ask of any supplier of mobile survey technology and mobile panel:

  • “Will my survey be fielded with a native app that makes it truly mobile, or is the process you’re selling only adapting online methodology to a smaller screen?”
  • “Do your mobile surveys require a connection between the phone and the web?”

If the answer to both is that you’re getting an in-app process that loads the entire survey into a phone and requires no further web connection – then you’re buying glitch-free, true-mobile research and a fully-engaged panel.


But if the answer is a product tied to the mobile web, you’re buying all the hazards that go with smartphone web connections, including respondents losing connections in dead zones, and watching question downloads slow to a crawl. You’ll be buying a real risk that survey-takers will tune out at the first sign of a delay. Now your more mobile-savvy competitors will be laughing as they outflank you.


Google makes no such mistake. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, told the New York Times that beautifully functioning content such as its YouTube, Maps, and Google Play assets constitute “prime time in the mobile era.”


If you want prime time mobile research, the best way to get started is with MFourDIY™ – the only in-app, true-mobile do-it-yourself survey-building tool. You’ll see for yourself how mobile myths get busted – and you’ll stop screwing up your research and deliver more vivid results. For full details, just click here.

News | Blog | Events
News | Blog | Events

We’re Rolling out the Welcome Mat (and the Cash Machine) for the Quirks Event West


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Here’s a message for all who’ll attend The Quirk’s Event West next week in Irvine, CA: Welcome to the neighborhood!


MFour’s headquarters is just two miles from the Hotel Irvine, the event site where we’ll all be getting reacquainted. Be sure to stop by booth #715 to talk about your survey technology and panel needs – but especially to play! That’s right. You get to step into our “Surveys on the Blow” Cash-Grab Wind Booth and snag all the greenbacks you can as they swirl about you. Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson – and you. Grabbers keepers!


The fun doesn’t stop there. You also get to play around with programming a demo survey with MFourDIY™ – the nation’s only all-mobile, do-it-yourself survey-building platform. See your design come together on our big screen. You’ll also hear the latest about MFour’s ad-measurement capabilities across all channels, including the just-introduced Mobile Ad Metrics OnDemand solution. So come visit us and enjoy some hometown hospitality. If you need more details, feel free to contact us at See you soon!



News | Blog | Events

MFour Names Darren Clark as Chief Operating Officer to Support Dramatic Growth


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MFour is pleased to announce Darren Clark as its Chief Operating Officer. Bringing more than 15 years of executive experience, Darren will play a leading role in guiding MFour as it expands its staff, introduces new products, and sets increasingly higher standards for mobile market research technology. Darren’s key task is ensuring that clients continue to receive the highest level of technology and service during this time of accelerating growth.


To see the full announcement, click here. 

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MFour Hires Three Employees Who’ll Drive Tech Quality and Survey Performance


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Mitchell Jacobs, Chris Nguyen, Adam Barnhart (L-R)


MFour has hired three new employees whose expertise will help drive the ongoing advancement of research technology and survey programming quality that make the company the leading innovator in mobile market research.


Adam Barnhart joins as Survey Programming and Data Processing Manager, a supervisorial position in which he’ll oversee the Operations Department’s workflow, which involves everything from programming to data processing, driving on-time, error-free results for MFour clients. Adam arrives with extensive technical and managerial experience in market research, including more than 20 years with the market research firm Survox/CfMC. He earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History and Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also served as a teaching fellow. Adam is also a bass player, an avid sports fan (Lakers, Angels, Liverpool Football Club), and a family man with two children, two dogs, and a wife who’s a veterinarian.


Chris Nguyen joins as a Quality Assurance Engineer who’ll focus on processes that safeguard the security and integrity of mobile data, ensuring smooth performance and software updates for MFour’s Surveys On The Go® research app. He arrives from Ticketmaster, where he played a comparable role in assuring data security. Chris earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from California State University, Fullerton.  


Mitchell Jacobs comes aboard as a Quality Assurance Specialist whose duties focus on perfecting internal processes to deliver the highest quality data for MFour clients. Mitchell previously worked in quality assurance at Numecent, Inc., and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. In his spare time, Mitchell likes to turn his technical know-how to music production and sound design.


Welcome Aboard!


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Forbes Knows How Much a Great Mobile Research App Matters. Why Don’t You?




We’re honored that Forbes Magazine highlighted MFour’s signature Surveys On The Go® research app in a recent article under the headline “How To Make Extra Money Using Mobile Apps.” We’re especially pleased that writer Maya Kachroo-Levine captured the essence of the app’s significance when she wrote that, in addition to giving users a source of extra earnings, our survey experience “can be really interesting.”


Important business decisions ride on what consumers say — including getting maximum impact from an advertising campaign by pre-testing, then measuring how consumers respond to messaging. It’s therefore imperative to make sure that respondents are fully engaged when taking surveys. Amazingly, this point apparently has been lost on many market research professionals and their clients – to the vocal dismay of the authors of the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report.


According to the GRIT report, quality data and insights depend on having a quality panel that’s deeply engaged in answering questions thoughtfully. But only 50% of GRIT respondents said that a quality sample source is important. Even more disconcerting to the authors was this remarkable statistic: only 4% of clients and 7% of research providers agree it’s important “that your participants speak highly of their market research experience [and] convince people they know to participate in research.”


In today’s mobile-centric world, survey respondents demand rewarding experiences. That’s one of the reasons why Surveys On The Go® is the highest-rated and most downloaded survey app. The Surveys On The Go® app – and the one million-plus panelists who use it – are delivering rich insights that arise from gratifying experiences with their smartphone features. Every other panel provider will paint you a rosy picture of its panel’s engagement, and you’ll have to take their word for it. MFour’s panelists, on the other hand, speak for themselves – literally – by posting unsolicited comments and ratings about their experiences at the App Store and on Google Play.


But don’t listen to us. Listen to the experts from GreenBook. And listen to our panelists. If Forbes knows what to look for in a mobile research app, so should you. A good point of entry is MFourDIY™ – the industry’s only true-mobile DIY survey-building platform. To learn more, contact

News | Blog | Events
News | Blog | Events

Tale of the Tape: How MFour Stacks Up against the Competition


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Comparison shopping is fun, and it’s always smart. In that spirit, you’re getting a chart to give you a quick start on choosing your mobile research provider. The checklist has mobile musts and one must-avoid – always beware of “mobile optimized” surveys that try to substitute mere appearances for technological substance. Instead, look closely at how the different mobile providers stack up in the categories that reflect real commitment to true-mobile research.


A note on terminology: GeoIntercepts are a generic GPS-enabled technology that can locate consumers in a certain vicinity when their phones’ “location” function is turned on. MFour’s GeoValidation® process, on the other hand, makes sure they’ve been exactly where you need them to be. Cached surveys, another feature from MFour, are questionnaires that load instantly into panelists’ phones. There’s no need for an often-unreliable connection to a web-based online questionnaire, because cached surveys are embedded in a mobile app. In-app surveys are natural and reliably easy for respondents, which leads to another indispensable mobile “must” – a large, demographically representative, highly-engaged all-mobile active panel.


The simple chart below can be summarized in a simple equation: only advanced, true-mobile technology plus an engaged, true-mobile panel will ever add up to successful mobile research. Understanding this, you’ll shop successfully for mobile solutions and never have to settle for wrong answers again. Let your comparison shopping begin.





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Speed Is a Must, But Quality Mustn’t Suffer. Here’s What to Do.




Like it or not, we’re living in the Post-Quality Era.


Convenience and speed are now foremost in consumers’ expectations; the notion that some things are worth waiting for seems increasingly quaint. Intrinsic, commonly-accepted measures of “quality” that prevailed not long ago are still precious to some, but not the main consideration for most. And yet, along with being fast and convenient, the actual consumer experience must meet an acceptable standard of quality.


The need for utmost speed and convenience puts brands in a perpetual earthquake zone, with fault lines threatening to disrupt every familiar process they’ve had for creating and selling their products. What do consumers want? Will maximizing convenience and speed undermine quality to the point where satisfaction sinks and sales collapse? With everything on shaky ground, good research data is more essential than ever.


You know the stories about the sweeping changes that have transformed music, media, technology and other industries. Seemingly ironclad brands failed to anticipate or respond effectively to change as each assumed that its reputation for quality would matter more than newer, faster, more convenient ways to access information and entertainment. Their bottom lines over the past decade or more say it wasn’t so.


A new report from Boston Consulting Group entitled “How Digital Delivery Puts the Restaurant Value Chain Up for Grabs” forecasts similar disruption in the restaurant business. Increasingly, it says, food alone won’t win diners’ hearts. Getting it delivered fast and on demand, either by the restaurant itself or by a third-party who takes orders and handle deliveries for multiple restaurants, may be the new prime directive. Diners, like music and news consumers, will value effortless eating over investing the time it takes to eat out.


Meanwhile, as with news and music, there will still be a substantial market for the legacy experience of dining out. Will restaurants be able to satisfy both kinds of consumer preferences? How should they price dine-in and delivery options? Will convenience alone instill customer loyalty? Does excellent quality generate profits?  Should restaurants try to reward the dine-in experience over the deliver-out option?         


Answering these questions and many more will be imperative not just for restaurants, but for all kinds of products and services that must negotiate balances and tradeoffs between demands for convenience and speed on one hand, and quality on the other. Market research is no exception. Suppliers must provide tools that are fast and convenient, yet capable of satisfying clients’ demand for quality data and productive insights.  


It’s with that in mind that MFourDIY™ was created. The first true-mobile, do-it-yourself survey-building tool gives you the speed and convenience of intuitive, easy-to-used DIY technology. Quality data springs from a panel of more than a million smartphone respondents who are engaged by survey experiences that are fun and easy. For more on getting speed and convenience without sacrificing quality, just click here.




News | Blog | Events

Valentine’s Day Study: Cupid Hits His Targets with Mobile GeoLocation



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We’d never had a client fly in naked and carrying a bow before, but this was the one and only Cupid, and he needed our help.


After all these years of winging it, Cupid realized that he needs some mobile targeting to optimize his aim when he lets his arrows fly. The divorce rate told him that too many of his shots were missing the mark. With Valentine’s Day approaching, he needed to put some fresh insights in his quiver. Could we help?


We said we’d try, but how do you measure romance?


Well, like everything else, love has a consumer dimension. So we GeoFenced every major national outlet for flowers, candy and jewelry. Then we waited for natural shoppers among our million-plus active mobile panelists to show up and go about purchasing those all-important tokens of affection. We delivered exit surveys directly on their smartphones as they left the stores with gift purchases in hand – and quickly landed 1,000 demographically representative, GeoValidated® responses that gave vivid insights into what these romantic consumers had bought, and why.


Because the data displayed in real time as it came in, Cupid was able to fly out instantly to strike the biggest spenders with his arrows, tracking them down by their smartphones’ GPS location. Cupid said he’s hoping for insights into whether extravagant gift-giving correlates with lasting love.


There’s more research to come tonight – Valentine’s Day night. Again we’ll use GeoLocation to push surveys to panelists as they leave prominent restaurants, nightclubs, and other landmarks that couples frequent on their special occasions. Attitudes, behaviors, intention to buy (into a relationship, that is) – we’ll be asking about all of it, down to whether certain respondents remained calm when their dates ordered the lobster AND the filet mignon AND a $100 bottle of wine.


Of course, love doesn’t always happen in one night, so MFour is partnering with Cupid on an ongoing tracking study. At regular intervals we’ll be pushing surveys to members of our all-mobile panel at weddings, romantic hotels, on cruise ships, and, yes, in divorce courts – the whole works, to get their thoughts on falling in or out of love. We’re also discussing whether to do a recruit and kiss. Cupid is depending on us, because he wants to make those arrows count.


The research is gratis, of course, because what the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. And we want to do our part to help.


Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! May Cupid’s arrows hit their mark and send you into whatever embrace is just right for you.


And here’s a musical tribute to our newest client from one of the greatest singers ever. Sing it again, Sam!