Nowadays it’s getting harder to trust information, and that puts all the more pressure on verification for anyone who needs to deal in facts – not least brand executives whose decisions are directly reflected in bottom lines. The fundamentals that shape consumers’ responses to their worlds have shifted radically over the past ten years. Every hand that isn’t holding a smartphone has one in reach, and that creates a new, high-risk, high-reward landscape for consumer research. In other words, there’s a new application for the old-fashioned advice popularized by Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify.”
Here’s a ledger of some of the most important risks to valid, trustworthy data, followed by brief statements of corrective actions made possible by mobile-app research technology that attracts today’s smartphone-centric consumers.
Risk: Not meeting consumers where they want to be met. Research that doesn’t reach out via smartphones disregards the fact that about 80% of U.S. adults have them, and that consumers in the prime 18- to 54-year-old range use their phones two to three hours a day, on average (per eMarketer). Data derived from a narrowing segment of desktop users will be too thinly-based to trust. Panel erosion is the fundamental first failure that sets research off on the wrong track, compounding errors beyond any hope of correction and trustworthiness.
Corrective: Mobile-app research tools not only let researchers connect with the mobile public, but remove performance roadblocks such as slow downloads and dropped signals that frustrated users will encounter when a survey is housed online instead of embedding instantly into panelists’ phones. Happy survey-takers are more engaged, a requisite for accurate, trustworthy data.
Risk: Poor survey functionality that compromises data. Instead of capturing emotions provoked by products and experiences, a badly functioning survey on mobile will capture respondents’ frustration with the process itself. The responses aren’t valid reflections of their reality.
Corrective: Technology that meets consumers’ expectations of speed and smoothness when using their phones. Their emotions toward the process itself won’t color the data with frustration or alienation. A reliable research process leads to trustworthy outcomes.
Risk: Outright fraud and response duplication. Conducting research online puts you in a danger zone where fraud schemes are an acknowledged, but often hard-to-detect problem. There’s real anxiety in the industry over how sophisticated survey-robots increasingly can mimic human survey responses.
Corrective: Mobile devices have built-in advantages, starting with unique device IDs that prevent duplication (a device with a given ID is limited to taking a survey once). They also reveal the phone’s location, for further validation. Obtaining photos or videos from respondents also validates that they’ve actually had an experience – for example, images of store aisles, products, and receipts that are specific to the study.
Risk: Race-to-the-bottom, price-cutting panel providers who give you what you pay for. At a basement price, the research provider won’t take pains to consistently implement effective measures to monitor studies, detect anomalies, and reject poor-quality responses.
Corrective: A conscientious commitment to service and quality. It takes effort and will, and it makes all the difference when it comes to obtaining data you can trust because you know it’s been systematically and painstakingly scrutinized and validated.
For a productive conversation about how to obtain verified mobile data you can trust to power the insights you need, just get in touch by clicking here.