Tag Archives: technology

4 Stellar Tips For A Galactic Online Focus Group

Online research is the favored method of analysis in the marketing industry. Thus, it’s no surprise that online surveys are booming across the internet skies, whereas telephone polling and paper surveys purportedly join that great market research heaven in the sky.

One could say the same regarding online focus groups. Although this mode of qualitative research is nowhere near the thunder of online surveys, advances in tech have made online focus groups feasible and cost-effective for researchers.

With this in mind and as online focus groups navigate to a new normal, it’s wise to stick to simple but stellar points to produce galactic data. We’ve compiled four points, all from thought leaders in the market research industry.

1. Stick to the script: Or more like make sure you have a script to begin with, according to market research company Lead. Online focus groups can become as chaotic as unregulated in-person focus groups—if not shepherded from beginning to end via a script. It should follow this pattern:

1. Welcome participants
2. Introduce the moderator
3. Explain the purpose of the focus group
4. Set the ground rules
5. Ask the first question

Oh, and make sure everything is on (but we’ll get to it). Lead also suggests you exclusively ask open-ended questions (we’re in that qualitative arena, remember) and keep the questions under ten. That way you can “elicit the maximum number of unique ideas from as many people as possible in the time allotted.”

2. Stick to the technology: That should be obvious with any mention of the word “online.” As research company Angelfish states:

Carefully consider which software provider you choose. Security is key, so you want to select a provider that will be able to ensure the privacy of the focus group. You also, of course, want software that everyone is comfortable using and that you feel will facilitate an online discussion with ease.

Moreover, Angelfish advises getting acquainted with the focus group software, testing and re-testing, and ensuring that the participants are educated as well.  As they further state:

Send your focus group participants information in advance on how to log in and use the platform. If they have detailed instructions to read ahead of time, or an instructional video to view, they will be better prepared on the day of the focus group and less likely to experience problems that will cause delays.

Stick to speed: Online focus groups grant several advantages to in-person focus groups: no need to travel, no bias due to physical appearances of others, and no large overheads. They also tend to be faster in pace, which can be dangerous if the moderator/analyst isn’t on his virtual feet all the times.

Basically, be a good typist.

Market research firm Flex says that proper recording tools are important, yet “for ad-hoc responses and probing, it makes life useful to be able to post a speedy reply before the discussion moves on. Now where did I leave that Mavis Beacon Teaches Typin’ disc?”

(A bit of a strange mention in the middle of a market research piece, but whatever…)

4. Stick to moderating: Being an able moderator is more important with online focus groups. Sure, you don’t have to worry about a fist-fight occurring during a sessions (those do happen!), but you don’t have the intimacy available in in-person focus groups.

Beyond typing fast and knowing technology, an able online moderator should have all the qualities of a traditional moderator: listening skills, objectiveness, emotional constraint, etc.

That’s still not enough.

According to market researcher Liz Van Patten of 20/20, an online moderator should be as visual as possible. That means “using colors and images of things like sticky notes to draw participants’ attention to certain areas” and “inserting pop-up pages to writing ‘walls of text.’”

Furthermore, Van Patten suggests:

Keep sessions under 40 minutes, as the internet just brings out the ADD in all of us.
– Don’t skimp on incentives because it’s happening online.




Stick to these four points when conducting an online focus groups and your market research will likely travel to those final frontiers of supernova data. Don’t forget to choose a good provider (whether it’s a third party market research group or software company). They should assist with any and all concerns including the four points mentioned.

Just don’t be disappointed if they don’t have lying around a copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typin’.


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Latest Research Makes It Clear: Most Medical Apps Suck

hand holding smartphone with of snake oil adverstisement

One of qSample’s proprietary online panels is physicians. The panel is vetted and continually engaged, and we feel it serves a crucial role in medical research and beyond. We like to think that our work represents that hallowed point where online and medicine meet for significant benefits on society.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem the case for medical apps, according to the latest research. Medical apps have evolved, sure, but most of them just suck.

These findings are a takeaway from an IMS Institute’s mHealth app report: Patient Adoption of mHealth—as highlighted in a recent MedCity News piece.

According to the article:

Of the 165,000 apps from the iOS and Android app stores that claim a connection with healthcare, IMS Institute focused on the ones with more than 1,000 user ratings — 67, 424 and found only 26,864 consumer oriented health apps were applicable.

The majority of these studied apps would be better classified as fitness apps (the percentage is probably growing with this year’s arrival of the Apple Watch). Only 10% were connected to a device or sensor, though.

Sure, medical apps that monitor the holistic wellbeing of individuals can indeed make an impact. Yet the quality of apps, according to the study, is lacking for such health functions as blood pressure or blood glucose (that’s a nicer, more PC way of saying they suck).

According to the data, patients do tend to follow the suggestions of doctors on medical apps—mostly in the fitness and diet areas—but at the core there are intrinsic issues that stifle the effectiveness many medical apps. These include:

Absence of reimbursement by insurance companies
Lack of HIPAA compliance
 Little clinical validation
Inability to connect to electronic health records

The MedCity News article does note the IMS Institute report needs a larger scope. The research focused primarily on app stores and not on medical apps used exclusively between digital healthcare companies and medical providers—such as those that deal with chronic conditions like diabetes management and congestive heart failure.

Not all is suck, though. 135 apps were involved in clinical trials in 2013 compared with 300 in the most recent report.

There is also another issue that must be dealt with—what exactly is a medical app?  In another report, the IMS Institute called into question the standards for medical apps. It claimed that “of the 43,689 apps it studied from the app store, about 20,000 were either not health apps at all or only loosely affiliated with health.”

What a mess! Some apps that try to pass themselves as healthcare-oriented include:

Veterinarian apps
Fashion and beauty (like salons selling their services)
Gimmick apps with no tangible health benefits (an example would be apps that make the user sound sick or demonstrate how he or she would look obese)
Apps that are peripheral to health issues, such as fertility or pregnancy contraction-timing apps
Product presentation apps for sales representatives/retailers in the medical or pharmaceutical industries
Apps intended for members of specific clubs/universities in the healthcare field
Apps that fall into the “New Age” category, dealing mostly with such notions as body energies, yoga regiments or generalized spirituality

Sorry, but apps that use the smartphone light to disintegrate acne or hypnotize you into losing your fear of clowns should not be considered valid medical apps. Neither should the one I use to monitor my dog’s diet, although it certainly serves an important role.

In the end, genuine medical apps include approximately 7,400 designed for healthcare professionals and 16,275 designed for patients. But again, their evolution compared to other fields is rather measured and their value questionable in many respects.

Therefore, it would be prudent to formalize some standard or oversight to the certification and genuine medical apps. As a recent study by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, both physicians and patients widely support the use of data on smartphones and other devices for medical use. However, when it comes to self-diagnosis and privacy, physicians break away and become resistant.

I understand the point of medical professionals and private data, as well as the herculean notion of policing apps in a market inundated with them. There are over 3 million apps available in 2015 from Google and Apple alone. Yet it’s key to find some authenticating framework for medical apps or at least some clarity for both physicians and patients.

The physician panel qSample manages contains more than 80k respondents. As with our other proprietary panels, it took years to build, nurture and maintain for quality data. It took work. I’m sure this can be duplicated in time with medical apps, at least for less suck and more healthy exhaling in the healthcare industry.


8 Honest Truths About Spotting Liars and Lying

Woman with a growing nose as she lied in front of a picture of wonder woman

As a provider of online focus groups, our team occasionally has the pleasure of observing market researchers perform qualitative mining on respondents. These sage researchers may not have a truth serum, but they come close in deciphering the intimate intentions of people during studies.

To be honest, it’s crucial these days that all of us take measures to separate truth from dishonesty in our daily lives. After all, it’s estimated that on any given day we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times. Furthermore, according University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman, 60% of people lie during a standard 10-minute conversation and average two to three lies during that time frame.

You heard it right. We are swimming upstream in lies during the flow of the day! Is there anything to do about it?

Machines are already doing it and doing it well. As qSample reported in our eye-tracking article, based on a University of Buffalo’s Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors:

In their study of 40 videotaped conversations, an automated system analyzing eye movements correctly identified whether subjects were lying or telling the truth 82.5 percent of the time. That’s a better accuracy rate than expert human interrogators typically achieve in lie-detection judgment experiments. (Experienced interrogators average closer to 65 percent.)

The study employed an automated system that focused wholly on eye movement.

You don’t have to wait for the rise of the machines, though, or winning the lottery to afford eye-tracking technology. You can begin training yourself to pierce falsehoods by simply beginning to understand certain foundational truths about spotting liars and lying.

In a recent Business Insider article on how to detect liars, Paul Ekman provides these insights on truth-telling. Ekman’s is renowned for his scientific work on lying. His research was the basis for the television series Lie to Me. He was also a consultant for the Pixar hit Inside Out and worked for Homeland Security.


The 8 Truths About Liars and Lying


1. Everyone lies – Not surprising. In fact, studies have shown that even babies learn to lie at an early age, using such tactics such as “fake crying and pretend laughing” to win attention from parents. When it comes to adults, Ekman states that most humans are involved in what is called “low stake lies.” These include politeness, flattery or simply avoiding verbal injury upon others. Low stake lies essentially keep society together.

2. Not everyone lies, though – That’s hard to believe, and many will say Ekman is lying. However, there are individuals who—when it comes to serious financial, personal or moral issues —will always “err” on the side of honesty. According to Ekman, those who are deceitful when it comes to serious issues are engaging in “high stake” Some people mercifully never employ high stake lies.

3. It’s not hard to spot lying from behavior – Ekman always looks for “hot spots,” those signs that people aren’t divulging the whole story. He claims there are 30. The two most important ones are micro facial expressions and gestural slips. One illustration of a gestural slip is a slight shrug, usually of one shoulder, coinciding with a verbal declaration of confidence; another one is a small head shake no, only very slight, when saying “yes.”

4. Women are not better are spotting lies – Everyone has trouble spotting high stake In many cases, people simply would rather go into denial than accept someone close to them is being deceitful. That certainly affects mothers and wives as much as it affects fathers and husbands. Facing the truth is painful when it comes to liars who are close to us.

5. Psychopaths are not the best liars – We can thank Hollywood for the trope of the silky sicko spinning a web of lies. Psychopaths follow the same rules are everyone else. The difference, in most instances, is that they tend to blind others with their charm.

6. Looking up and to the left is not a sign of lying – We discussed this in our article on eye-tracking, and Ekman supports the fact that sight direction is unrelated to honesty (unless you’re employing expensive video and algorithms on your side, as with the University of Buffalo). Guess we can dismiss any notions of spotting lies in David Caruso…

7. Micro facial expressions are not proof of dishonesty – Individuals often aren’t concealing the truth but simply concealing underlying emotions (like an innocent person being fearful because he or she is suspected of lying). According to Ekman, the key is to find out why a person is concealing their emotions in the first place, as to assess whether it’s a sign of guilt of the offense being investigated.

8. The polygraph is not reliable – That is common knowledge, but many cling stubbornly to this chestnut. Ekman explains there is no silver bullet when it comes to lying. That would have to include eye-tracking technology. The polygraph is slightly better at lie-detecting than mere chance and it has its uses in criminal investigations (as in giving investigators a starting point on whom to investigate).

For the perfect lie detector tool, we’ll have to wait until someone creates the Lasso of Truth used by Wonder Woman (in fact, the creator of this superhero, William Mouton Marston, was the inventor of the first machine-powered lie detector).


Actionable Tips for Spotting Liars and Lying


This list will not land you in one of the focus group research teams qSample works with…or a job with the FBI for that matter. They are simply sensible starting to points to at least dispel stubborn myths on lying. As the Business Insider article proffers, if you want to go further in recognizing lies you can take some of Ekman’s self-training courses on reading facial expressions.

For assistance, you can furthermore watch this outstanding TED Talk with Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting.

As a complement of Meyer’s research, Feldman offers some bodily signs indicating you’re being lied to:

Covering of the mouth
Too much repetition or too much detail
Body preparing for an escape (feet pointing to the nearest exit is a classic one)
Words and body language don’t match
Change in breathing during a conversation
Eye movement changes from normal pattern
Aggressive behavior appearing during a conversation for no apparent reason

It’s important to note that these bodily signs, alone or in combination, are by no means concrete proof of dishonesty. Feldman, Meyer and Ekman all agree it’s a matter of awareness and practice in detecting clusters of these bodily signs that point to a lie.

In the end, these researchers contend lying is a two-way street, a cooperative act—whether it’s seeing advertisements on the television or talking to a silver-tongued coworker. Someone who is lying wants something from you (even if it’s not having his or her feelings hurt). How much power you will give them is a matter of how aware you want to be in the relationship. Unfortunately, too many individuals want to descend into denial simply to go about their busy days.

And perhaps hoping eye-tracking technology or Wonder Woman will appear at their doorsteps.

Case Study Why Consumers Buy Green


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Infographic of the Week: Preventing Data Theft From Hackers

Hooded hacker attempting to break screen of data

As a research and data collection company, qSample takes data security very seriously. We handle private information of more than a million respondents that comprise our various panels. Many of these panels consist of physicians, academics and government officials who themselves hold sensitive information.

We simply live in a world where cyber security is paramount. After all, it’s estimated that in 2014 approximately 47% of adult Americans had their personal information exposed by hackers. At the same time, businesses are continuously being raided for data by Mr Robots, from Target to Ashley Madison, from Domino’s Pizza to Apple. Even the federal government gets hacked, and it’s a scary as General Jack D. Ripper taking over nuclear weapons in Dr. Stranglove.

No one is safe.

That is why we decided to focus on data security in this week’s infographic, presenting two pieces from our articles How to Prevent Data Theft and How Can Businesses Recover Consumer Trust After A Data Breach?

Whether personally or in your work, we hope our data assists you in keeping your data a more secure.

Data Theft

Data Theft Businesses

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Are Millennials Ruining The World?

Those darn young people are at it again, ruining everything! If it weren’t for you meddling kids, the rest of the world could get away with being successful.

At least that seems to be the attitude these days—as continuous stories emerge carping about Millennials (or Generation Y). They’re lazy, entitled, selfish. We at qSample are not entirely beyond that, even if it’s with sound data, demonstrated in our article Millennials and Holiday Shopping:

A recent study from Hanover research reveals that that millennials live and shop in the moment, often making purchases and dealing with the repercussions later. The study also shows that 52% of Millennials were more likely to make impulse purchases than any other generation.

The apex of this collective Millennial buffaloing might have been the piece in a May issue of Time, entitled The Me, Me, Me Generation.

The article wasn’t exactly flattering, and it’s illustrated by its cover provided below—with the selfie as the perennial symbol of the alleged narcissism of Millennials:

Time cover with millennial taking a selfie









But it is true? Many Millennials would disagree. Tech Marketer Scott Hogan is one of them. He pushed back in an insightful LinkedIn Pulse article, detailing how Millennials are actually responsible members of the commercial and cultural ecosystems. Some of his evidence included:

Millennials are more prone to support socially-responsible products (like Tom’s Shoes and other brands that actively support charities and environmental causes).
Millennials are expected to reach $200 billion in spending by 2017, the largest consumer generation in U.S. History.
– Millennials are the masters of technology, which will make them the best possible members of the workforce.

So who’s right?

In the end, probably both viewpoints. It’s a matter of perspective.

No way, some in the older generations will insist, barking that it began with the hippy-sell-outs-turned-yuppies; and it just keeps getting worse with each decade. Millennials are the culmination of too much spoiling and touchy-feely psychology. They are an unprecedented threat to western culture, the end of history!

No, no…it really is a matter of perspective. There is nothing new under the sun, as seen by this quote:

The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone know everything and what passes for wisdom in us foolishness in them. As for the girls, they are foolish and immodest and unwomanly in speech, behavior and dress.

—Peter the Hermit, eleventh century AD

If you still feel we haven’t gone back enough to the “good old days,” how about this:

Our young men have grown slothful. There is not a single honorable occupation for which they will toil night and day. They sing and dance and grow effeminate and curl their hair and learn womanish tricks of speech; they are as languid as women and deck themselves out with unbecoming ornaments. Without strength, without energy, they add nothing during life to the gifts with which they were born—then they complain of their lot.

― Seneca, first century AD

Wow, looks like the ancient Romans had their own hippies and selfies and overall belfie attitude…at least in the view of the “real” grownups.
But it had to do with that immoral Roman Empire, right? Instead, the birthplace of Democracy and Reason possessed the blueprint for a healthy society. Not so fast! Look at this quote by arguably the greatest thinker in history:

The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.

― Socrates, 5th century BC

We can go back even farther to one of the fathers of poetry:

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.

― Hesiod, 8th century BC

Guess the ancient Greek whippersnappers were constantly wasting their lives on marble versions of Snapchat and Instagram, impulsively buying real Amazons instead of shopping at Amazon like Millennials do today.

Fine, we older ones might admit, but at some point in society the younger generations were restrained and dutiful, in a time of steely kings and primitive habits.

Sorry to disappoint, but no:

Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching.

― Assyrian Clay Tablet, 2800 BC

Sheesh…ancient forms of Y2K or a Mayan Apocalypse, surely caused by a bratty younger generation. If only Kindle could go back in time to assist all those people wanting to write books! The horror!

I hope you see my point. Millennials aren’t the problem and they are—because they are part of the natural cycle of societal evolution. In the end, the Time article does agree with Hogan: Millennials will ultimately leave a beneficial footprint on this era (just as earlier generations did during their heyday). Millennials will leave their mark, mostly positive and partly negative. Regardless, the world will not end because of them, as it didn’t during Assyrian times.

Millennials will surely complain about the generation that follows, even if they happen to be on a base on Mars…or in a future article of Time.

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Infographic of the Week: The Negative Effects of Multitasking

We revisit multitasking in this week’s infographic, based on previous primary and secondary research. Not only is multitasking psychologically eroding, it is bleeding money from the entire workforce.

This research brought some blowback once it was posted on social media. Many mother’s reached out to me, claiming that it’s impossible to raise children without multitasking. As an active parent, I agree with that! The last thing we want to do is incur the ire of the very powerful mommy blogger community.

Thus, it should be specified that this research was taken from professional industry data. Being a parent requires a level of consciousness that has not yet been replicated in the workforce.

With that out of the way, enjoy or at least find some insights to our infographic:

The Negative Effects of Multitasking


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The Man Who Predicted the Internet & Today’s Media Landscape

Man's eye before digital, amber numbers cascading

It is a rare occurrence when an academic reaches widespread fame beyond their specialties, such as in the case of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, or Joseph Campbell. It is almost unheard of for such a figure to be essentially prophetic when it comes to cultural and market shifts in society.

That individual would be Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. In the 60s, he held the same public prominence as such pop intellectuals as Andy Warhol and Timothy Leary. McLuhan was honored yearly by hippies with a festival in San Francisco, regularly appeared on television talk shows, advised John Lennon, and later in the 70s made a cameo in the film Annie Hall.

All of this attention to McLuhan, who was basically a dry scholar, was due to his pioneering ideas. One such idea was the prediction of the internet—something only touched upon in science fiction by authors like William Gibson.

By understanding McLuhan’s ideas—these days somewhat overlooked like his past fame—one can certainly gain insights on today’s seemingly frenetic media landscape and market research.


But Did He Really Predict the Internet?

“We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
― Marshall McLuhan

It is rarely disputed by scholars or biographers that McLuhan foretold the internet. 30 years before the World Wide Web came into the scene, in 1968, McLhuhan wrote in his book The Gutenberg Galaxy:

The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.

McLuhan used the term “surfing” for traveling across this new medium, and is the originator of the term “Global Village.” To him, though, the new medium would be more like the Wild West and less like a Golden Age. As he wrote:

When people get close together, they get more and more savage, impatient with each other. The global village is a place of very arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations.

One does not have to go far to see his oracular words come true in the caustic neighborhoods of the internet: anonymous comment sections, social media bullying, Laissez-faire male sexuality on Reddit, and downright societal revolution of hackers on 4Chan.

McLuhan made other contributions to advertising, marketing, and media theory, but it was his ability to see patterns in societal evolution that impressed so many. As biographer Douglas Coupland explained in a New York Times article:

One must remember that Marshall arrived at these conclusions not by hanging around, say, NASA or I.B.M., but rather by studying arcane 16th-century Reformation pamphleteers, the writings of James Joyce, and Renaissance perspective drawings. He was a master of pattern recognition, the man who bangs a drum so large that it’s only beaten once every hundred years.

The article further states that McLuhan “came up with a theory of media generation and consumption so plastic and fungible that it describes the current age without breaking a sweat.”

In addition, McLuhan deeply studied and warned of the darker effects of mass media on the mind long before any therapist or sociologist. In the end, though, McLuhan is probably best known for his timeless adage:

The medium is the message.


What Does That Mean?

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.”
― Marshall McLuhan

“The medium is the message” may same sound strange in a world where content is king and big data is savior. Yet it does make sense, especially when McLuhan explained that a characteristic of a medium is it being an extension of a culture. Consequently, how a civilization embraces and reacts to a medium is just as relevant as the information it expresses. To McLuhan, “the medium is the message” primarily meant that not only should the content and data be studied, but the very medium that hosts is as well. As an example, McLuhan would contend that an ancient oral society would be more honest and honorable than a writing society, simply because of the more necessary honesty that is face-to-face communication.

To McLuhan, “the medium is the message” primarily meant that not only should the content and data be studied, but the very medium that hosts is as well as it rewires the very brainwaves of humans. As an example, McLuhan would contend that an ancient oral society would be more honorable in many ways than a writing society, simply because of the more honesty necessary for face-to-face communication.

Wikipedia further states on “the medium is the message”:

For McLuhan, it was the medium itself that shaped and controlled “the scale and form of human association and action”. Taking the movie as an example, he argued that the way this medium played with conceptions of speed and time transformed “the world of sequence and connections into the world of creative configuration and structure.” Therefore the message of the movie medium is this transition from “lineal connections” to “configurations”.

Likewise, the message of a newscast about a heinous crime may be less about the individual news story itself — the content — and more about the change in public attitude towards crime that the newscast engenders by the fact that such crimes are in effect being brought into the home to watch over dinner.


How is This Relevant to Market Research?

“We don’t know who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t the fish.”
― Marshall McLuhan

Today, it has become essential for any marketing to navigate various online mediums (often at once), in order to understand both shifting consumer sentiments and even brands themselves. Many marketers and researchers feel that we are entering a fruitful yet intricate era of qualitative research. Companies like Google and Microsoft, who combine predictive analytics and big data, certainly advocate prognosticating future consumer patterns as much as present behavior within online mediums.

Here is an example of “the medium is the message,” from our own primary research. In Mobile Vs. Online White Paper, we found that respondents using mobile technology were far more enthusiastic and engaged in surveys than those using personal computers. The quality of data was superior overall. Basically, the medium was the message, and that message was that respondents were more open and content within the medium of mobile technology.

There are other examples, but the main point is that not only is the psychology of consumers more important than ever, but how it changes like a chameleon in different online ecosystems.

The Global Village may not be the utopia researchers and idealists expected, far from it, but McLuhan would be very eager to engage this Wild West (he left the mass media called life in 1980). That is until he predicted the next great media arrival, which most experts wouldn’t even know was here.

Then again, McLuhan did once comment: “I don’t necessarily agree with everything that I say.”

Infographic of the Week: Why Consumers Prefer Media Subscription Over Renting or Owning

Silhouette of Don Draper from Made Men watching himself on television

Memorial Day Weekend is arriving and May Sweeps are ending. Yet the media landscape remains as active as ever, even with the farewell of Don Draper and David Letterman. This week’s infographic details the preferences of consumers as they vacation the various digital lands. It’s based on our primary research found in Access Over Ownership: Consumers Prefer Media Subscription.

The findings were surprising, as we reported:

As the media world continues to focus on instant access and mobility, consumers are choosing subscription services to rent movies, TV shows, games, and music instead of purchasing them. Since the advent of the digital revolution, consumers seem to place a higher demand on access to media, rather than actually owning it. Media subscription services are more popular than ever, and qSample decided to find out why people choose the services that they do.

Find the reasons in our infographic, and have a wonderful holiday weekend, outdoors or in the digital lands.

Access Not Ownership

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3 Reasons Why Mobile is the Best Form of Market Research

The era of mobile research has arrived faster than anyone could have anticipated. This new dawn of information should be embraced by anyone in market research—as there are immense advantages to mobile research over traditional research methods, even online research. Many in the industry already understand this cyber oracle of sorts.

The advantages of mobile surveys can be broken down into three reasons:


Mobile Technology is Becoming Ubiquitous



As we reported, mobile devices are becoming king when it comes to consumers, as these statistics reveal:

More Americans use mobile devices for web browsing than they do PC’s.
– 60% of cell phones are smartphones.
– 71% of businesses employ mobile apps to attract consumers.

Furthermore, Google recently and officially announced that for the first time more searches come from smartphones and tablets than from laptops and desktops.

Lastly, a recent article in Survey Magazine interviewed Mark Ryan, Chief Research & Digital at Millward Brown Digital. He revealed that daily usage of mobile devices has topped that of television (194 minutes to 151 minutes). Moreover, recent Nielsen TV usage data shows the average time spent viewing television for 18-24 year olds has declined by 22% in the past three years. On the other hand, YouTube and other online platforms continue to grow.

The entire world is going mobile.


Mobile Research is Superior Qualitative Research



Ryan further explained in the interview that the true power of mobile research—beyond the reality more consumers are found there—is its ability to gauge behavior. He calls it “passive research,” where the researcher analyzes a respondent by observing him or her through the smartphone GPS, enterprise apps, or real-time surveys. He said: “Marketers are using mobile technology to understand where you shop, what you like to do on the weekends, where you live and work and what media you’re exposed to.”

Ryan does make a bold prediction that mobile surveys will evanesce in the near future, as marketers harness the gifts of consumer behavior over the limited amount of space in mobile technology.

We disagree, considering the rapid evolution of cloud data and other technological advances. Yet it is titillating that market researchers can take a full “show don’t tell” approach in research and analysis, all by tracking the intimate movement and patterns of consumers.


Mobile Research is More Effective



Further research from qSample details how mobile research is superior to online research (found in our Mobile Vs. Online White Paper). The conclusions not only underscore the benefits of mobile surveys, but deduce the behavioral differences between consumers using mobile technology and those who primarily stayed online:

Mobile data collection has an advantage over online surveys in cooperation rates (i.e., likelihood to participate) and in speed of response. Twice the data was collected in half the field of time. The mobile survey had to be shut down earlier than the online one, which was left open nearly a week to achieve the desired sample size of 300 completed surveys. For short surveys, mobile data collection can reasonable replace online data collection. In addition, the quality of data could be expected to be superior because the methodology is still a novelty and respondents seem more engaged. Because of this, field times can be shortened as well.

Supporting our conclusions, Retail Times published a recent study on mobile insights establishing additional advantages of mobile research:

When asked where a particular product was located on a shelf, there was a 26% discrepancy between the answers from mobile and online respondents, with mobile respondents able to validate their answer with a photo taken on their smartphone. In addition, 49% of mobile surveys were completed within ten minutes of the product test, compared to just 9% of online.

The findings show that real-time studies overall provide more accurate results. The piece furthermore quotes a market researcher who explained:

Consumers are increasingly living their lives on mobile devices, yet many market research professionals remain unsure of the benefits of this platform. This study shows that mobile provides richer, more accurate insights gathered closer to the moment. The market research industry needs to wake up and realize that mobile is the in-store research methodology of the future.


Any Issues with Mobile Research?



Any new era entails some growing pains. Market researchers should be aware of some issues when it comes to mobile research:

– Because of better wireless network services in cities, surveys can potentially be skewed, limiting the responses from those living in suburban settings.
– Mobile respondents tend to buy more capriciously, such as making a decision in the checkout lane instead of planning. Yet are also open to changing brands.
– Surveys need to ensure they are calibrated to various mobile platforms, from iPad to Kindle Fire, from iPhone to Android platform phones.
– Questions need to be as short and concise as possible, because of the limited space in mobile platforms. Ryan suggests no more than seven-minute surveys.
– Apps that conduct surveys need to be as light as possible, because of the restricted size of mobile technology hard drives.

These concerns and others will be gradually resolved as the business world circles the wagons around mobile technology. All of this, though, does point to improved and faster business research for those ready to embrace mobile research (already market research leans on online research more than any other medium).

Timbuk 3 famously sang, “The future is so bright I gotta wear shades.”

For market research, it should sing, “The future is so bright everyone’s gotta buy more smartphones.”

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Mobile Surveys Advantages and disavantages


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Infographic of the Week: The Vanishing Attention Span of Consumers

It’s no secret that multiple mediums have given consumers vast amount of choices—and no one has been able yet to discover more minutes in the day. It’s no secret that competition in a soft economy is stiffer than a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster with Red Bull (for those of you familiar with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

It’s no secret the world has shrunk with information, but that same information has shrunk our attention spans. What is a secret, though, is the unbelievable levels attention spans have declined during the Digital Age. It’s far more than many in marketing or market research would like to face.

That is what this week’s infographic deals with, based on our article What Will You Do When Your Customers No Longer Have Attention Spans?  The article does offer some solutions for marketers, but until we accept there is an issue…wait…what was I saying?

Never mind. Please enjoy the infographic, and I hope you find the attention to have a lovely weekend.

Attention Spans

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