by Jacob Tucker, Research Analyst with Robert Clancy, Vice President of Insights & Strategy
It is an understatement to say that mobile has had a profound impact on human behavior. We, as researchers, cannot help but imagine the impact it will have on the market research industry as a whole. Mobile has irrevocably changed the mode, the means and the methods. The way we’ve been conditioned to capture, code and interpret data has been altered.
Have you ever interviewed someone, and while trying to transcribe what was being said, you missed how it was said? How about trying to interpret an open-ended response that could go one of two ways (Is “bad” colloquialism for “rad”?)? There is no doubt that it can be difficult to accurately record and make sense of the noise around qualitative data. Enter audio, photo and video capture.
There are many innovative mobile research tools available, but these rich-media response options take insights to the next level. These question types give us a sneak peek into the window of consumers, which is all sorts of wonderful, but begs the question: How can we effectively use that data?
At the most basic level, we can look at these photos, watch the videos, listen to the audio and find themes that emerge. We can then code these themes into nice, neat categories so that they can be quantified and analyzed just like any other data set. This many not sound novel; however, it is the in-the-moment context unique to mobile that enhances these particular data. The importance of in-context cannot be ignored, as it is more reflective of actual consumer experiences.
But we can’t stop there.
The real beauty that smartphone technology brings to surveys is consumer intimacy. We need to go a step further than just quantifying rich media responses and truly unveil the consumer experience. If all we do is code and quantify, we will miss out on the subtleties and nuances that provide deeper insights. In photos, there are surrounding objects. In video, there is background setting and movement. In audio, there is voice inflection and intonation. At times, you can literally see and hear the thought process that leads to a decision. This gives us so much more color than just knowing the actual decision itself. Mobile data helps us empathize with the consumer like never before.
So how can we, as researchers successfully report on this new-found consumer intimacy?
While it’s not feasible to show every rich media response in a study report, it’s important to represent the sample as a whole. Selecting a few testimonials that capture consumer sentiments really helps bring the complete story to life.
When insights emerge from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives, we get one step closer to the consumer. If what we’re really after is consumer intimacy, mobile is uniquely qualified to get us there. Taking insights to the next level? We’re on our way.
By Tina Day, Director of Organizational Development & Quality
As the Director of Organizational Development & Quality at uSamp, I keep my finger on the pulse of the many conversations that occur during the data collection process. We may all share the same research objectives, but we speak different research dialects based on our industry, our roles within our company, market-specific jargon, and many other factors that build our personal frames of reference. Because of these varying influences, there is room for interpretation with our use of research-specific terminology and therefore, there is also room for misinterpretation.
This guide is intended to help those who aren’t methodologists navigate semantics. We recognize that we haven’t fully detailed all aspects of the given term, but my goal is to cut through the terminology so that the research objective can be seen more clearly and executed successfully.
The first topic I want to tackle is a term that is widely used, and yet often the cause of much confusion: Census Representativeness.
Why does my client need their completes to be “Census Rep”?
The truth is that they often don’t. Sampling terminology is sometimes used interchangeably and sometimes even misused. The original definitions can morph over time and alternative meanings begin to seep into common vernacular. Thus, we end up using the same vocabulary, but our definitions have diverged.
Some common industry terms that have fallen prey to this disconnect include: Read the rest of this entry »
By Carl Nielson, Director Research Solutions
As we approach 7 billion subscribers worldwide, the momentum is unstoppable. Our affinity for smartphones and tablets has led to millions of mobile apps. Customers can simply download your mobile application and use it however they wish. How many of us have purchased a mobile app because we thought it was cool at the time, but have never used it since? Compare that with truly indispensable mobile apps you can’t get through the day without: Banking apps, social network apps, sports apps, game apps, weather apps, etc.
The challenge now is to effectively leverage these emergent technologies to learn more about your mobile customers. Google and Apple have made it virtually impossible to know who is using your app. You may know how many people have downloaded it, but nothing about who, what, when, where and how they are using it—or even whether they like it. Users can write reviews, but who takes time to write a mobile app review? People just stop using the app or simply delete it from their phones.
I believe this challenge creates a unique opportunity for companies to leverage their existing investments in mobile to learn more about their mobile app users, and to make it worthwhile for them to want to give their feedback. That’s why it’s so important to keep them interested and engaged. If we don’t like something (or somebody) these days, we just click delete or un-friend and move on.
Businesses with mobile apps are now able to capture insights about mobile behavior with a degree of accuracy and flexibility that was previously unheard of. One way to do this is by just asking users by layering mobile surveying software into your app’s native environment.
Here are top reasons to get moving on mobile SDK:
- Gain in-the-moment insights. Connect with consumers anywhere they go. Reach people anytime, anywhere and collect actionable insights in real time – all within your own app.
- Control how you survey users and what you ask of them. SDK makes it possible to seamless integrate survey questions into the same interface that your users are familiar with, which makes for a more organic, feedback process. Make mobile users your eyes and ears and collect info from them using rich media features like photos, video, audio—anything a smartphone is capable of.
- Collect feedback faster than email alone.
Forget about waiting for survey results. We’re talking real time feedback here with built-in geotargeting capabilities. Harness the power of smartphones and tablets and interact with users while they are experiencing a product or service.
- Get help with best practices and put your focus where it matters.
Find out how easy it is to integrate your app with SaaS platforms and solutions. Focus your energies on building great apps, keep it creative, and maximize their potential.
Sounds good, right? I think we’re entering a whole new era in mobile survey experiences that will change the way everyone does business. Share your thoughts.
Carl Nielson is uSamp’s Director of Research Solutions. His role is to guide and support uSamp’s market research agencies and end clients in developing their long term mobile research strategies. Carl has ten years of experience working with top level executives across a wide range of start-ups and Fortune 500 organizations. He has previously managed national and international client support and sales executive teams within the mobile market research technology industry.
“Data quality is an evolving and dynamic topic. We can never be complacent. We can never say that we have solved the issue. Our work is never done!” – Lisa Wilding-Brown, uSamp
Last week, uSamp’s VP of Global Panel and VeraQuest’s CEO held a webinar in association with Quirk’s that addressed key sample quality issues in the Market Research Industry. Although MR has certainly come along way since the early days of online sampling, there is still a ways to go in order to successfully control for fraudsters, bots, the hyper-engaged and the woefully disengaged. The webinar calls for providers to take a serious look at sample and suggests ways to further optimize quality through source testing, verification, balancing, respondent monitoring and research design.
by Matt Dusig, Co-Founder and Daniel Ross, SVP, Product
Every so often, someone likes to come along and declare Market Research dead. GigaOM has been the latest to publicize our imminent demise – albeit in a nicer manner. In their words, we’ve been “put on notice”. It comes as no surprise that the supposed victor of this latest #mrx deathmatch is Google. Google is brilliant at making data dance. They have their pulse on trending content. And they are well equipped to identify the key pain points of business professionals.
Recently, Google has introduced the latest addition to their research suite: Google Databoard, the one-stop shop for sourcing and packaging data on demand. Think of those “shock and awe” stats your sales team is always requesting. Google has gone and done the dirty work. Just grab some cool figures from a report, compile an infographic full of designer clip art and voila, get ready to dazzle your colleagues, friends and social media cohorts.
HOW IT WORKS:
Google’s Databoard is (not surprisingly) straightforward:
- Select your research study. Currently there are four focused on mobile research. (We can expect to see more studies added to their library plus a rollout beyond the US in the near future).
- After selecting a topic, you’ll find a series of sub-topics related to that study. Choose from a list of key insights, then either add them to your infographic or share this new-found knowledge immediately with your colleagues via email or social networks.
- Once you’re ready to review all your compiled snippets of data, click the “Build your Infographic Button” and an interactive menu will appear, allowing you to re-order or remove pages.
- Share your infographic via the usual social network suspects (Facebook, Twitter and naturally, Google Plus), or distribute it to your own networks via a personalized link.
As expected, Google has done a great job with the design and user experience of the product. The study/topic selection and collaboration menus offer no-frills access to quick insights based on prior research that Google has done in conjunction with other partners like Nielsen. The downloadable .PDF files offer a well designed and easy-to-understand view of key findings without dissertation-length whitepapers overrun with statistical correlation values and analyst-speak.
We can certainly pat Google on the back for dusting the cobwebs off stodgy research reports, and making data reporting accessible to the public. But will this dashboard actually lead to smarter business decisions? Or did Google just release a personal assistant tool that builds a pretty collage, and offers up data summaries like fortunes from a cookie?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or in a canyon without cell phone reception), you know that “smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives”. (Is 20-point font really necessary?). If you think this is a keen insight that deserves its own slide in your presentation, then, by all means, let Google’s Databoard work its magic; but if you’re looking to produce an awe-inspiring report that will impress Nate Silver then I’d suggest looking elsewhere. (To be fair, Google’s Databoard is not just about sweepingly obvious statements; there are also plenty of illustrations and graphs that provide a more picturesque story for your next customer or intra-company pitch).
Overall, Google’s Databoard brings research to life and appeals to a user base beyond the market research guru; however it lacks the “so what” that drives us researchers to get out of bed in the morning. How do these insights result in smarter data-driven decisions, which we can apply to specific products, brands or businesses? Not sure the search engine behemoth is ready to answer that question yet; however, would be surprised if this type of spoon-fed analysis wasn’t already in the works. You can’t say we weren’t warned.
by Emily Tomasiewicz, Regional Manager, Bid Consulting
Welcome to the first installment of uSamp’s “Day In the Life of” series. In the upcoming months, we will spotlight different departments that help the company move the needle.
In 2012, uSamp received over 40,000 different bids from all over the globe requesting sample ranging from Type I Diabetics to lottery players in Nebraska. If you do the math, that comes to nearly 200 bids per day! Our Bidding Team is made up of over 30 consultants, each of who manage these 200 bids regularly. It sounds like a lot – and it is– but because our team is client-centric, organized, and well-educated on our panels’ capabilities, to them, the job is nearly effortless.
Consultants are assigned to specific accounts in an effort to not only manage bids quickly and efficiently, but to build trust and consistencies with our clients as well. Through training and experience, the team accurately determines our capabilities based on our proprietary panel assets as well as a network of publishers. Here at uSamp, there are few instances where we say “No.” If a job doesn’t appear to fit our capabilities in its current state, we’ll consult with the client on possible ways to tweak targeting or sample size to get the job done one way or another. Speed, full feasibility, consultation and competitive pricing are what drive our win rate.
More recently, uSamp has acknowledged the trending web-to-mobile shift in market research and has acted quickly to build innovative solutions. A division of our consultants is dedicated to all things mobile – a number of requests that is growing larger every day. At this juncture, education of mobile product becomes critical. Knowing the difference between geofencing and geovalidation can make or break the success of a project. Mobile research offers a higher level of data collection as well as quality. Our mobile app, iPoll™, is already capable of photo, video, audio, and barcode collection. As the industry turns to mobile, data collection will only become more rich and dynamic.
uSamp is a technology, surveying and sampling company, which is something that largely sets us apart from our competitors. With the use of our technologies such as iPoll™ and Instant.ly™, we’ve recruited a Mobile Army™ of panelists who are readily available and eager to take our surveys. We’re in the business of finding people who are “hard-to-reach,” with which we’ve historically had success in the online space Going mobile extends our reach even more and our Bidding Consultants are ready to take the plunge.
Emily is uSamp’s Central Regional Manager of the Bid Consulting team. She has been working in this department for nearly three years; first as an Account Executive, later as Account Manager, and is currently the Regional Manager of uSamp’s Dallas office. She’s tackled new initiatives and has been an early adopter of mobile bidding and product knowledge, including iPoll, Instant.ly, SampleMarket, and Panelbuilder. Emily is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and holds a BA in Psychology.
by Melissa Valenzuela, VP, Human Resources
We recently surveyed our B2B panel about their thoughts on working remotely. When we asked employees who were allowed to telecommute what factor most motivated them to go into the office, they replied “Because it’s expected of me.” Obligation and accountability weighed more heavily than face time or productivity. While technology has freed the modern-day worker in many cases, it has also challenged the traditional notion of the 9-5 work day – a predicament that Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer confronted head on.
Almost immediately following the internal memo on Mayer’s decision to end telecommuting, the Internet was flooded with critiques. Those who disagreed compared the shift to a stone-age regression and an inherent disconnect with the challenges a “normal” person experiences when managing the realities of high-demand work and personal life. Those in support of Mayer’s decision applauded her fearlessness in making decisions based solely on metrics, namely the productivity data between Yahoo!’s virtual and in-office employees.
All of the impassioned commentary on this subject is to be expected given the paparazzi-esque publicity Yahoo! has received since Mayer joined the organization last year. For the most part, Mayer has been seen as the golden child due to uniformly positive decisions well received by both employee and investor alike. Admittedly, it’s easy to comment on what Mayer’s latest decision will mean for Yahoo!, its employees and other companies that decide to follow her lead. But this recent decision begs the question: If organizational change is inevitable, what is the best way to ensure a successful transition for both the company and its employees?
As companies change or refocus their strategy, a cultural shift is almost inevitable. The morale of your employees while such change settles into the new norm can bend and crack and it’s crucial to approach any organizational change that impacts your team members carefully. In the time span of five years, uSamp has evolved from a five person startup located in Encino to a 230+ person, global organization. In order to fuel this aggressive growth and lay the foundation for further expansion, we too have refreshed our focus, revised our policies and changed some of practices established early on.
Throughout uSamp’s determined progression, we’ve learned that transparency and over communication throughout every stage of change works best for us (and our team). We’ve found that when we can embrace and successfully execute on these two values, our staff responds with genuine flexibility. This specific Yahoo! change will be interesting to watch as critics and supporters of Mayer’s decision wait carefully for the data that will eventually follow this transition. Ultimately, the success of this decision will depend on whether or not employees buy into, accept, and choose to move forward in a positive direction.
Melissa Valenzuela is uSamp’s Vice President of Human Resources. Her role is to create a dynamic global employment infrastructure that aligns with uSamp’s short and long term business strategy. Melissa has nine years of experience providing human resources leadership within start-up, aggressively growing organization. She has previously managed national and international HR and, recruiting teams within the mobile technology industry. Melissa is a graduate of Duke University and holds an active certification in Global Human Resources Management.
by Gregg Lavin, Co-founder and President
Most talk about mobile optimization tends to focus on responsive design and customized content (see Matt Dusig’s blog on Why User Experience is the Key to Quality). Consumers expect mobile sites to not only be catered to their eyes and thumbs, but also to their tablets and operating systems.
Scott Kevdon, the CEO of Urban Airship sums it up well: “Gone are the days when you could get away with just taking what works on the web and shoving it at mobile.”
Yet even though companies continue to invest more in mobile, there has been little discussion about one of the key issues of development that could make or break the experience as a whole, especially as it pertains to the Market Research industry: Battery drain.
A recent study by Stanford University on mobile-browser energy consumption highlights how even some of the most popular websites like the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) and Wikipedia fail to optimize for mobile. The study is a wake up call for the trigger-happy companies who go to market with their mobile offering without considering the consequences. The study warns that “sites who do not [consider this], end up draining the battery of visiting phones [which] can potentially reduce trafﬁc to the site.”
No one is more aware of this than the mobile carriers themselves. Verizon just issued a warning to their customer base about “high risk” apps. We can only expect this type of communication to increase as more apps involve geolocation technology that drains the battery-life out of smartphones.
So how does this apply to the MR space? As more and more firms start turning out mobile research apps in response to client demand, it becomes even more critical that we, as an industry, develop apps that respect the integrity of our panel.
Over the past year, big data has become part of everyday business vernacular. McKinsey has done an impressive job reporting on the topic, HBR has admirably attempted to tackle and dismantle it, and TechCrunch has campaigned to “kill” it, but what’s often lacking is the perspective of those who work in the thick-of-it daily.
Instead of waxing poetic on the future of big data, we decided to recruit our data experts-in-residence to weigh in on the discussion and provide a fresh take on this vast topic before it makes the Ridiculous Business Jargon dictionary. Here at uSamp, we’ve collected over one billion data points in the five-year lifetime of our company. In our big data blog series, we’ll look at the obvious and not so obvious truths from its predictive powers to its shortcomings. Is the revenue invested in mining big data a burstable bubble? What separates the men from the boys sitting on this wealth of info? Answers to these questions and more can be found in the following series of blogs.
by Siva Venkataraman, Director of Analytics, uSamp
Defining Big Data:
For some, big data means using new technologies such as map-reduce or Hadoop to crunch multiple petabytes of data; while for others – especially business folk – it has become more of a generic term for analytics, loosely used to describe any opportunities related to data.
Gartner provides a framework in defining big data as the “3Vs” – ‘Big data are high-volume, high-velocity, and/or high-variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.
However, none of these definitions offer a clear guideline to marketing executives on how much to invest in big data or to market researchers on how to use big data technologies to gain more insights about consumers and the market. A more useful way of thinking about big data is as a set of technologies that enable collecting, storing, and processing large volumes of unstructured data in an efficient way.
As technology has advanced, so has the ability to work outside of the office. Today, 65 percent of companies allow employees to work remotely versus 35 percent that do not.
The study conducted by uSamp using their B2B panel examined the office cultures and habits of 1,000 business professionals across the United States to find out how these workplaces compared. The research team at uSamp was able to analyze the data by company size, type of industry, type of organization, level in organization, education and age. The results may surprise you: