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Research In-Context: A Primer for
Marketers

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By Edan Portaro, EVP Global Business Development and Mobile Innovation

In-context research

With the growth of mobile technology and online research platforms, in-context research is changing. Conducting onsite research no longer requires hiring staff, training them and transporting them to a specific location to survey a store’s patrons. Instead, the latest market research technologies leverage mobile devices, smart strategies like QR codes that let participants self-select into research with a smartphone scan, and even geolocation capabilities. With the proliferation of different contextual research techniques, it can be challenging to determine which one is right for your specific needs. Here’s a closer look at the different types of in-context research and how to determine which approach is the right fit for your research goals.

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October 21st, 2014

7 Ways Geofencing is Transforming
Mobile Market Research and Marketing

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By Allen Vartazarian, Vice President of Product


Imagine using location-detection software to help locate when shoppers are leaving certain department stores during the height of Black Friday, or contacting customers as soon as they’re walking out of a movie to survey their experience. Geofencing—a virtual way of geographically setting a perimeter around a particular point—allows market researchers to follow the foot traffic anywhere from an entire city block to one retail store. By determining the longitude and latitude of a particular location and then setting a radius around—for instance, a coffee shop—geofence technology can track the date and time of when and how a person moves across a geographic location.

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September 17th, 2014

2013 Year-in-Review:
Lisa Wilding-Brown’s Reflections for Research Magazine

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In this interview with Research Magazine, Lisa Wilding-Brown shares her thoughts on the events that shaped the market research industry, marketing, and technology in 2013.

Looking Back

What has been the biggest development of 2013?

Mobile market research has profoundly impacted the industry in 2013 because it has added a contextual element that other research methodologies lack. Real-time interaction with the consumer at the point of purchase or consumption yields rich findings that might not be possible to ascertain from a consumer who is removed by time and space. What’s more, mobile is much less invasive and more time- and cost-efficient than traditional strategies.

What was 2013’s biggest buzzword?

Geofencing. Although still in its infancy, a technology like geofencing  is critical to implementing effective mobile campaigns. Using smartphone geolocation, we can identify consumers entering or exiting specific vendors and then send highly targeted studies that get us closer to that moment of truth at the shelf, aisle, or restaurant.

What was, in your opinion, the best campaign (ad/brand/political/social) of 2013, and why?

The recent media blitz for the new Anchorman 2 movie has been impressive. Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy has been showing up in all kinds of real-life situations and spawning dozens of viral videos. He even co-anchored the nightly news at a local station in North Dakota. I love to see creative media campaigns like this one; it’s fun when fiction seeps into reality and we can see our favorite characters come to life.

What has been the year’s biggest success story?

Netflix’s dive into original content was one of this year’s greatest successes, proving that listening to the consumer is one of the most effective strategies for developing an excellent product. Their ability to cull data and preferences from their large subscriber base to find a winning combination in producer David Fincher and actor Kevin Spacey is a great reminder for all of us that the consumer still knows best.

What has been the year’s biggest disappointment/anti-climax, and why?

The launch of the Healthcare.gov website was so highly anticipated but will likely be remembered as one of the most bungled product launches of the past few years. The implementation of the marketplace was executed poorly, and consumers were left out in the cold. We actually surveyed our panel to better understand the user experience and learned that 4 out of 5 people encountered technical difficulties ranging from error messages to not being able to create an account.

December 30th, 2013

Geofencing Part III: Key Considerations

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In our final installment, Allen discusses some of the implications of geofencing from battery drain to privacy concerns.

How do we address privacy concerns?

It is completely understandable that some people may have privacy concerns associated with geofencing. The way we address these concerns is by being fully transparent about exactly what information is collected. By educating users, we empower them to decide if and when they would like to participate, and are able to preserve their privacy choices. Our Mobile ArmyTM is our most valuable asset, and we take all steps possible to preserve our relationship.

Does geofencing cause significant battery drain?

Any app that uses your device’s location will cause battery drain. The more frequently that app checks your location, the more battery it will drain. After months of development and testing, however, we have established a geofencing solution that has almost no noticeable effect on battery life. To date, we have not received a single complaint regarding battery life from any one of our mobile audience members. If you are considering running a geofencing project, be sure to ask the technology provider what steps they have taken (if any) to preserve battery life, and then download their app so you can experience it yourself (more to come in a future blog by uSamp’s Co-founder & President, Gregg Lavin).

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March 12th, 2013

Posted in Mobile

Geofencing Part II: Delivering
Real-Time Insights

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In Part I of our Mobile Research Trends series, Don’t Mess with the Geofence, our Director of Mobile Products for uSamp, Allen Vartazarian lays the groundwork for geofencing. Here, he explores some of the various applications, and we begin to see how geofencing might be the best way to capture in-the-moment insights.

One of advertising’s greatest pain points is measuring ad effectiveness from the point of impact to the point of purchase. What if we said that geofencing could link an ad’s influence to purchase behavior? Geofencing is a powerful tool that can provide this feedback while adding a whole new dimension to mobile research. Here are some ways that we are using geofencing to provide valuable insights today:

  • Out-Of-Home Ad Effectiveness: By setting geofences around out-of-home advertisements, we know when someone in our Mobile Army™ (our robust mobile audience), is nearby and “exposed” to the ad. By setting geofences around specific businesses, agencies can better gauge ad effectiveness by comparing store visitation of exposed consumers to those who were not exposed.
  • Real-time Feedback: Whether it be a trip to the grocery store, or a movie that just came out, its imperative to gather feedback as close to the time of the experience as possible. With geofencing, we can trigger an alert as someone enters or exits a location with an invitation to answer a few questions while the experience is still fresh in one’s mind.
  • User Behavior Monitoring: We can track store visits, time on site and other key metrics vital to retailers and advertisers. Combining this with other collected data, i.e. web-browsing and purchase activity, helps identify the true impact of the OOH ad exposure.

These are just a few examples of geofencing applications. Imagine how geofencing can apply to competitive analysis, field research and in-store missions. The opportunities will continue to grow with the technology and methodology. Geofencing is truly an innovative method for gaining insight into customer behavior because researchers no longer have to rely on a user’s activation since surveys can now be automatically triggered.

Our final post will explore some of the challenges seen with geofencing, what can be done to address them, and why 2013 is the year of mobile maturity.

March 5th, 2013

Posted in Mobile

Geofencing Part I: Don’t Mess
With The Fence

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What will be the next smartphone feature that will be differentiating and cool?  Seeking Alpha Blog

At the intersection of the physical and virtual world lies a mobile capability called geofencing. A context aware app that reminds you to pick up your laundry as soon as you approach the drycleaners on the way home from work? Brilliant? Scary? We asked Director of Product for uSamp Mobile, Allen Vartazarian to explain the basics of the phenomenon, address privacy concerns, the trouble with battery drain, key applications and why geofencing has finally arrived in 2013.

Q: Can you explain geofencing to the layman?

A: Geofencing is a technology that provides the ability to create a virtual fence around a geographic location in the real world. Smartphones that are location-enabled can detect when someone enters or exits these fences, which can be as large as a city block or as small as a retail store.

Q: How exactly does geofencing work?

A: In order to create a geofence, we first determine the latitude and longitude of a particular location, or set of locations. We then assign the radius of the geofences depending on the type of location. If we were to geofence a supermarket chain, for example, we might set a radius of 200 meters, but for coffee shops we would only set a radius of about 30 meters.

Once set, the location and radii of these geofences is communicated to the smartphone of those who have our mobile app installed. When and if the person then crosses into one of the fences, we record the date, time, and latitude/longitude of the event. In addition to logging this information, we can also choose to trigger a notification to the person, linking them to a survey within our app.

Q: How accurate is geofencing?

A: Geofencing is relatively (but not 100%) accurate. Though we can be very specific about defining the criteria for each geofence, there are certain technical limitations in the way that a smartphone determines your location, especially when the device is not actively being used (like when its in your purse or your pocket). Nonetheless, we are able to get a general understanding of someone’s location and can set an acceptable location accuracy threshold when attempting to understand when someone is within a geofence or not.

In a recent project, we setup geofences around a national fast food restaurant chain which triggered an alert asking if the person was dining there: over 80% of respondents said that they were at the location, with the remainder likely being at a store next door.

Stay tuned for Part II where Allen will address the applications of geofencing.

February 23rd, 2013

Posted in Mobile