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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Choosing a Sample Partner: Three Tips
for Vetting Your Vendors

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By Joe Jordan, Vice President of Panel Operations

In my many years of managing custom market research projects in all study type varieties, one issue constantly lurked in the underground of all sample providers: Where is this sample being sourced?

Many times I discovered that the sample vendor I chose for my high-priority, top secret, critical study was just a mere middle man to other various sample vendors I specifically did not choose because they had wronged me in the past. Much like elephants and the IRS, researchers never forget vendors who have failed them at the final hour. They have nightmares of that 4 a.m. email the day a study should close, saying “We are reaching out to other partners” on a “best efforts basis.” It makes finding a sample provider for your next project all the more daunting.

As you send out your RFPs to preferred sample vendors with your exact demographic profiles and 18 nested quotas of left-handed grape soda drinkers who bought a laptop and puppy in the past 30 days, think through the reality of how likely that vendor can deliver your exact needs. Is it really possible they have this group of consumers anxiously waiting in front of their computers for the riveting subject line “A New Survey Just for You” to come flashing across the screen so they can sit for 45 minutes and give their entire purchase decision criteria in glorious detail?

So how can researchers separate those who only talk from those who also walk? Do your own research! Here are three suggestions for how to find the best sample provider for your next study.

  1. Ask what percentage of their projects requires partners. All sample companies use partners to assist in some percentage of their projects — the real question is what percentage. While the complexity of the audiences is always the driving factor in these studies, it is important to understand how often they outsource. Doing so usually limits a provider’s control of timing and feasibility and causes you anxiety about making the deadline. Part of why we brand uSamp as a technology company first is because it is technology that allows us to grow and manage our own, diverse panel. When I joined uSamp, I was impressed to learn that 95 percent of the projects completed in 2013 were sourced exclusively from our own suite of proprietary panels. This includes a wide variety of consumer segments and business-decision makers that are part of a network of websites and publisher partners. This vast network ensures the uSamp panel has the breadth to provide unique individuals from all customer segments willing to give their feedback on products and brands.
  2. Take the registration survey. As you evaluate your sample vendor, take a look through their registration page and review the type and number of questions required to sign up. Go through the double opt-in process to find out what the second wave of criteria is asking. Ideally, you should time this process and think through how long it takes to sign up and become an active member. Will a new panelist be willing to take this much time before even knowing if they can participate in the studies? Many of these registration forms are longer than mortgage applications and are about as exciting.To improve panelist engagement and reduce tedium and burnout, uSamp has launched Adaptive Profiling™, a profiling system that asks respondents targeted questions in short bursts and then utilizes predictive analytics and complex statistical analysis to identify other tendencies about panelists and connect them to the appropriate studies. This also allows uSamp to quickly assemble an audience that is custom-suited to clients’ specific needs while offering panelists more opportunities to qualify for studies without the cumbersome registration form.
  3. Ask how many unique panelists register daily. You’ve heard it before: “bigger is better.” At least, that’s what every sample vendor says when they proudly promote their panel as the largest on the market. But as a researcher, you care most about how they can target your specific audience quickly and accurately with unique and meaningful data.A raw count of millions of panelists does not mean they are engaged, active or applicable to your needs. You need respondents who are making decisions now, using smartphones, and interested in offering their opinions in the moment, rather than the heritage panelists who have been taking surveys for income for six years and registered their profile details on an eight-pound laptop. uSamp consistently signs up 18,000 new panelists a day who are fresh, engaged in the moment and ready offer insights on your products and brands.

Before you dive into your next relationship with a dubious sample vendor, remember to ask about other partners, play the role of the panelist, and find out about their new daily signups.

I hope you find a deep and reliable partner, at least until the next complex project comes along.

Joe Jordan is a senior market research executive with 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies. With a background in international panel development and management, Joe is tasked with expanding and maintaining the health of uSamp’s online panel, as well as scaling the mobile panel to increase the lifetime value of iPoll. His most recent position was as the strategic account director for Networked Insights, and he also previously served as director of client services and research operations at Troy Research. Joe graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a B.S. in marketing.

Leveraging Mobile and Online
Communities to Gauge Customer Context

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By The Editors

How do your customers view your products and services? In a marketplace where constant change is the new normal, being able to see the world through your customers’ eyes is essential to growing your business and finding new and retaining existing customers. In the video below, “Mobile Research Communities: An Agile Approach to Customer Context,” Allen Vartazarian, VP of product at uSamp, and Julie Vogel, VP of Communities at Morpace, discuss the following:

  • How new mobile research capabilities let you interact with your customers in-the-moment
  • How online research communities can help you build customer partnerships that strengthen and deepen your understanding of customer context
  • Why one Fortune 500 company changed its approach to a target audience based on a combination of these research approaches

Mobile Research Communities Webinar: An Agile Approach to Customer Context from uSamp on Vimeo.

Written by adrien

June 13th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

5 Things Every Survey Programmer
Wishes You Knew About Mobile Research

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By Joe DiGregorio, Senior Director, Global Programming

As is the case with any trend in market research, large or small, the rapid growth of data collection on mobile devices has brought with it countless new tools and methodologies.

Having started my career at the dawn of the transition from computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) to online as a method for data collection, I’ve lived through many of the challenges associated with this type of transition before. There’s a game-changing medium in town, and (almost) everyone wants a part of it. Clients are told they need it but not all of them know why or how to use it. Research methodologists brainstorm how to transition the old methods to the new without impacting historical data, and they invent brand new methods never before feasible with the old research methods. Developers race to create every new application they can think of, hoping enough people can be convinced they are useful. Some of them stick and become part of new way of doing research.  Some of them gather dust as they are replaced or fail to prove their worth.

While all this goes on, your operations team is acting and reacting, drawing, erasing and redrawing the line between what is possible and what is not possible. It often falls to them to be the bearer of bad news when a request is made for something that isn’t quite feasible, regardless of any upstream promises. This unfortunate position, however, could have been avoided.

With that in mind, and without further ado, here are five tips about mobile programming to help you develop a better mobile study:

  1. Keep in mind that mobile devices have small screens.
    I know what you’re saying: “I already know that mobile devices have small screens!” However, this influences survey design in many ways. Having programmed some detail-rich conjoint designs in my time, I’ve witnessed firsthand how much content we all try to cram onto one screen. Screen real estate is at an even bigger premium on hand-held devices. Keep your questions short and sweet and avoid horizontal scrolling.
  2. Test all questions on all devices – and then test again.
    It goes without saying that some question types will render differently on mobile devices vs. desktop/laptop devices. If the survey platform being used for your project is worth its salt, it will have optimized rendering for mobile devices. For some question types – grids in particular – the layout of the question will be significantly different. Many platforms will display grid questions as a vertically scrolling series of single or multi-select questions on a mobile device instead of the default matrix style display. This goes back to the size of the typical mobile screen that will not allow the horizontal space necessary for more than a few columns without horizontal scrolling. Be sure to test your surveys on both types of devices so you know exactly what your respondents will be seeing.
  3. Specify on which devices you want your survey to be available.
    Related to the above point, you may want to control what types of devices can be used to take the survey. Many survey platforms will detect the device type at a general level. This detected information could then be used to alert respondents to use a different device and/or screen them before continuing the survey. At a minimum, you should track the device type in case there are significant differences in responses between the two groups.
  4. Keep it short.
    Yeah, you’ve heard this one before. Still, on mobile devices it is even more crucial that you limit your survey length. Your survey faces much more competition for the respondent’s attention on a mobile device than it would on a desktop or laptop. Mobile surveys work best when they are quick transactions.
  5. Take advantage of the unique capabilities of the mobile platform, but
    be prepared for the results.
    Some of the most commonly used features unique to mobile surveys are the multi-media uploads. Being able to ask respondents to take a picture of what they are seeing or doing, record a video of the same or provide an audio response instead of typing an open-ended answer in a text box can provide rich results. They also can provide some unexpected and surprising results. If you have any of these question types, make sure you and your project manager accommodate time for at least one preliminary review of the uploads before the end of data collection. You may need to recoup some respondents you remove from the data based on this review and possibly reconsider or reword your question(s).

While this is by no means an exhaustive list (and some of these items may even sound familiar to those who lived through the transition to online research), keeping these in mind the next time you design your mobile study will go a long way towards efficient, high-quality project execution.

Joe DiGregorio is responsible for all operational aspects of uSamp’s programming and hosting team. He helps define and implement efficient, quality processes for the team, identifies opportunities for enhancing uSamp’s programming offering and works with other internal teams to devise creative solutions for meeting our clients’ needs. He joined uSamp in November 2012, with 14 years of market research operations experience. Joe holds a BA in Mathematics from Nazareth College in Rochester and resides in Rochester, NY.

Removing Respondent Bias from
the Research Equation:
Why Mobile Makes Us More “Honest”

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By The Editors

At MRMW this year, Justin Wheeler shared fascinating research in a presentation that probed one seemingly simple question: Are mobile respondents more honest? Wheeler’s research is trying to get at the twin problems of social desirability bias and consumer satisificing. The former describes the phenomenon of respondents providing answers that they think researchers will want to hear or that they think will make them appear in a more positive light in researchers’ eyes. The latter describes the mental shortcuts or paths of least resistance consumers will unconsciously take when asked to recall specifics of advertisements or products in an online survey. Wheeler’s research indicates that mobile could be an antidote to both of these problems. How? In-context mobile surveys remove interviewers from the equation, mitigating the influence of social desirability, and also eliminate the need for consumer recall.

See below for a video of Wheeler’s entire presentation at MRMW:

uSamp’s Justin Wheeler discusses why mobile research is better from uSamp on Vimeo.

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June 2nd, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Satisficing and Social Desirability Bias:
Is Mobile Poised to Solve These Problems?

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By The Editors

Are mobile respondents more honest? We know that mobile lends itself to in-context surveying, but mobile devices themselves may have an enormous impact on how honestly consumers answer questions. Why? Research shows that respondents will often take the path of least resistance when answering difficult survey questions, a phenomenon called satisficing. Additionally, traditional in-store market research requires positioning researchers on-location to ask consumers questions, and that face-to-face interaction causes consumers to want to give the answers they expect researchers want to hear – versus what they really think, a problem known as social desirability bias.

The good news? Mobile helps us get answers while consumers remain in the store, in front of the products, but adds a level of privacy that at-home research provides. Additionally, with the ways that smart phones have become a natural part of our everyday lives – studies show that we look at our smart phone once every three minutes – consumers don’t find mobile surveys to be disruptive. Therefore, mobile may just provide the key to unlocking two of market researchers’ thorniest data quality problems.

In this video, Justin Wheeler explains more about how mobile may be poised to solve these problems.

To learn more about this study, visit uSamp at the Mobile Research in the Mobile World event May 27-30th in Chicago, or stay tuned for a post-event recap.

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May 12th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

The Power of Convenience:
Mobile Market Research in an On-the-Go World

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By The Editors


It’s no secret that we at uSamp are excited about mobile technology. Smartphones and tablets open up a whole new realm of market research – often resulting in richer, more interesting data. Mobile enhances in-context product testing by introducing convenience. Consumers can provide feedback and record smartphone video responses while still in the store aisle, and they can continue while in home and testing out the products. uSamp VP of product innovation Justin Wheeler recently sat down with Bob Lederer of the famous Research Business Daily Report to talk about what exactly mobile technology can do for market research and the benefits of having another platform to get insights. Watch the entire video interview below.

Written by adrien

April 23rd, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Predictive Mobile Marketing:
Creepy or Cool?

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By The Editors


“What makes sharing personal information worth it?” uSamp’s Vice President of Karyn Hall ponders in her new article for The Economist Group’s Lean Back, a blog for top thinkers in marketing. As we move into an increasingly mobile-driven world, Karyn asks how comfortable consumers are with receiving real-time coupon alerts in exchange for giving up personal information. Will they allow their purchases to be tracked and geolocated if it means time and/or money saved? She shares results from a recent uSamp study that polled consumers on whether they were interested in receiving some real-time mobile coupon alerts or were comfortable with the idea of their purchases being tracked. And the results are surprising, especially for those of us intimate with the world of mobile marketing.

Bottom line, Karyn emphasizes quality over quantity: As long as companies use mobile marketing to improve consumer shopping experiences, she reasons that people will be open to sharing their personal information.

Click here to read Karyn’s article and add your own thoughts on the issue.

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April 8th, 2014 at 12:23 am

Hazelnut Wars:
Hershey’s and Jif Joust with Nutella

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Until recently, Nutella held a monopoly over the hazelnut-spread market. There really wasn’t anything remotely comparable to the distinctly Italian substance that people enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or with a spoon straight from the jar. Now, nearly 70 years after Mr. Ferrero introduced hazelnuts to the world (in order to make the most of the chocolate shortage during WWII), America’s favorite chocolate factory, Hershey’s, has entered the market with a remake of the classic. Not to be left out, peanut sweetheart Jif threw their hats in the ring. The result: a lot of chatter over whether these American copycats could eat into the territory long occupied by Italy.

This was fodder enough to inspire the uSamp Mobile team to test out the emerging product concepts. Anything for an excuse to run an In Home Usage Test (IHUT). So we nerded out.

Over the weekend, we sent our Mobile Army out to the grocery store to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the three products in this market. Over 175 people actively participated in just under 48 hours, resulting in a rich compendium of consumer testimonials rich with flavor that rivaled the nutty spread.

Overall findings suggest that the brand’s equity had influence over taste. Some findings:

  • We also learned that new entrants had succeeded in creating quite the buzz. More than half of the consumers were more excited to try the Jif or Hershey’s brands over Nutella.
  • Overall, we found the hazelnut-spread bar is low: 56% reported that the spreads exceeded their expectations, Jif being a particular standout.
  • 66% don’t like the price/value of these spreads, even when it came to their favorite.
  • Several testimonials suggested that the hazelnut spread might even cannibalize the Herhsey’s and Jif brands’ core products (chocolate and peanut butter).

This video testimonial captures the essence of our findings:

What can the brand guys can take away?

This is not just a study of taste buds. This study showcases the key benefits of mobile market research story-telling. It reveals brand equity, provides competitive analysis, evaluates new concepts, and reexamines the old.

Written by lsozio

February 24th, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Morpace Case Study:
Mobile Gives Electric Vehicle Owners a Voice

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We love pushing the boundaries of mobile market research innovation. More importantly, we love providing our clients with the platform and the freedom to take mobile in directions that we never considered. Our latest collaboration with Morpace and their panel of electric car enthusiasts (see video below) highlights a creative execution of mobile research. Not only was the vertical intriguing, but the consumer feedback proved product altering for Morpace’s auto clients.

This also got us thinking about how we can best communicate the value of mobile research to those not yet invested in this space. Interested in expanding your mobile repertoire? Check out four more ways to make mobile research work for you.

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February 24th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

4 Things You Didn’t Know You
Could Do With Mobile

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By Jared Smith, Content Marketing Manager

1. Collect video narratives about consumer experiences.

Most people like telling stories, but hate to write open-ended responses. Many can’t be bothered to put forth the time and energy that writing requires. This is part of the reason open-ended questions can yield lackluster answers. People are naturally oral storytellers, and mobile video or audio diaries give people them the chance to do just that. Plus, in-the-moment storytelling encourages honest, authentic feedback.

2. Identify patterns in product usage among customers.

Consumers have all types of different needs and reasons for purchasing products. Consider a recent study of electric vehicle owners in which a client learned how and why their users chose different battery recharging models for their homes. Cost, automobile use, and home electrical setup were just some of the factors that impacted their decisions. But each consumer’s story was unique. See for yourself in the Morpace video.

3. Reach consumers at the moment they are interfacing with a product.

PCs don’t travel well. But mobile is a different story. According to Nielsen, smartphones now make up 64 percent of mobile usage in the U.S., which means it’s easier than ever to reach consumers wherever they are located. By setting up a virtual parameter around a specific location—a technique known as geofencing—we can now send surveys to consumers when they are shopping, waiting in line for coffee, or right after grabbing lunch. This helps researchers learn what consumers are thinking, when they are thinking it. In other words, with mobile, consumer feedback is not filtered or obscured by the passage of time and limitations of memory. You get pure, uninhibited first impressions.

4. Learn where your product’s weak points are and why.

You threw hours of research, testing, and dollars at a new enclosure system on your shredded cheese packaging. Well, guess what? Consumers are taking the scissors to it. You could poll consumers to find out why, but the reasoning might be difficult to articulate. Mobile research could allow you to collect hundreds of videos of people opening the product, so you get down to the small nuances in product interface that could be contributing to the problem. That kind of intimate knowledge could take months upon months to gather in person. With mobile, only a few weeks.

Jared Smith has worked as an editor and content strategist in both the publishing and marketing industries for nearly a decade. His writing has appeared in Rangefinder, AfterCapture, and Orbit. Follow him on Twitter @jared_usamp.

Written by lsozio

February 24th, 2014 at 4:12 pm