In 1960, a revolutionary consumer technology reached a milestone, and now history is repeating.
1960 was the year that marked television ownership’s growth to to the point the of saturation, with just short of 90% of American households equipped with at least one television set. TV ownership had leaped tenfold from 1950, when just 9% of U.S. households could tune in. In little more than a generation, we’d gone from a chicken in every pot (the slogan Herbert Hoover used to win the presidency in 1928), to a couch potato in every living room.
Now the Smartphone Era is completing its first decade – and the boom in adaptation has been even more explosive than it was in TV’s early years. The first Apple iPhone, introduced in 2007, established pocket-sized, multi-application computers as mass consumer products. By 2011, 35% of U.S. adults owned a phone, according to the Pew Research Center, and in the ensuing five years the total more than doubled, to 77%. For Americans under 30, smartphone saturation already exceeds 90%.
Mobile consumer surveys designed strictly for smartphones and tablets debuted in 2011 with the introduction of the Surveys on the Go® research app. In 2010, MFour’s founders had recognized that mobile devices were well on their way to defining how consumers would access and transmit information in all its dimensions – sound and text, still pictures and video. Mobile was consumers’ new comfort zone, and they saw that market research’s new challenge was to reach survey respondents in the information zone that was most convenient, and where they felt most at home.
Mobile surveys of varying quality, consistency and technical capacity are now in relatively common use: 65% of research clients and 77% of suppliers surveyed for the most recent GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report said they’d tried some form of mobile. But most of them still have no idea what real mobile research is, because they’ve only had exposure to “mobile optimized” approaches that merely switch the same old online research methodology to a smaller screen. Because there’s still a lot of haze and misunderstanding surrounding mobile research, we’ll periodically share some granular tidbits of information to help you better understand the technology, methodology, uses and best practices of real mobile research – in short, what you need to understand to take full advantage of the most all-encompassing consumer technology since the television set.
Think of it as Mobile 101. We’ll start at the beginning with an upcoming post that will tell you what a “native” mobile app is, and why that matters to making data fraud-proof. So stay tuned! For more information right now, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.