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5 Tech trends set to transform the insight industry

Written by Jake Pryszlak

On February 4, 2018

In the summer of 2018, the mobile application ecosystem, one of the biggest industries on the planet, will turn 10. Recent worldwide statistics mentioned over 352 billion day-to-day mobile applications will be downloaded by 2021. This is almost double the amount from 2017 where 197 billion were downloaded.

With GDPR becoming ever so important for businesses and especially market research agencies who constantly work with big data and the ever-increasing ‘private’ individual who does not want to show as many private details online than in the past, how can day-to-day applications help market research?

This quick-fire blog post will discuss a range of day-to-day mobile apps we use and how the sector can merge them. This is not your standard blog post, I am not going to recommend asking all of your potential sample or participants to download the SurveyMonkey App, I mean applications users are using day-to-day.

But what are we looking for from a mobile app in relation to market research? A number of things:

  • Improved response time from participants.
  • Quality responses
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Application individualsare familiar with
  • An application that provides all data security requirements in line with MRS and GDPR



71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 34 and 70% are female. Interestingly, people under the age of 25 use Snapchat for approximately 40 minutes every day with over 400 million stories created every day. Stories can tell a number of aspects of someone’s life and how they are feeling. You see today, many organisations creating their own ethnographic applications for market research but I personally feel that Snapchat is a very useful tool and a mobile application that can be used in market research. Ethnographic methods look at:

  • People in their own culture
  • The implicit and explicit thoughts of individuals day-to-day
  • The way individuals interact with one another and with their social and cultural environment
  • Their language that is shared withothers including emoji’s day to day

Over 400 million stories been shared and told every day and in a sense, this is ethnographic research. Telling a story of someone in their culture spontaneously.


A grocery store would like to understand the customer journey of individuals to purchasing in store. Snapchat could be used to capture people in action, from travelling to check out in a subconscious manner. This could relate to how the store layout is, to how the food is arranged. The list could be endless.

Obviously, the introduction of animoji’s and emoji’s helps to drop personal and identifiable information and in turn, help participants feel more comfortable in front of the researcher or tool being used, whilst still being able to put forward their views, emotions and some elements of their personality.


How can you start tapping into Snapchat?

Create an internal project to test the concept

Create a small internal research project which could include between 5-20 colleagues. Test the research concept/journey with them, from starting the research project to analysing videos and text

Pinpoint the area of interest

There is no point deciding to use Snapchat with no research goals. You could say this for any project, but it is even more important when using social platforms.



On a similar note is Instagram which many brands have targeted to advertise products directly to potential customers with the help of influencers. The saying ‘pictures can tell a thousand words’ never could be more potent when brands want to understand what sits behind a consumer’s life. Unlike Snapchat, Instagram can save images and life stories using their own language day by day. You could argue it is one of the largest spontaneous life storyboards available on the world-wide web apart from Facebook. Think of it like big qualitative.

But how can brands and market research agencies use Instagram to their advantage?

Brands used to monitor social media data and comments which swiftly evolved into listening. But brands now need to progress listening to intelligence. It is critical to be aware and informed in real-time when there is a risk to reputation but also how their brands are perceived not just on social media but on the world-wide-web from blogs to general comments.

How can you start tapping into Instagram?

Take a look first

Instagram is a free to use the tool and you are able to access a range of stories and photos from all over the world. So, I would recommend taking some time to look at how individuals communicate on the platform and potentially how images portray their feelings to then understand how to use Instagram for market research purposes.



Globally, WhatsApp has over 1.3 billion active users, people are using the app daily to keep in touch with friends and family, sharing photos and videos as they do so.

With this in mind, why not replicate our participants’ everyday behaviours and interact with them via the communication tools they are frequently using?

Respondents can spontaneously express themselves via emojis, videos, photos, images or voice memos, allowing them to express themselves as they see fit creating a natural and relaxed researcher-participant interaction.  We have undoubtedly seen an improvement in the openness of responses shared and subsequently, the data collected.

As a mobile-based app, it also provides the opportunity for participants to take the research with them, capturing in-the-moment feedback and allowing them to share real-time experiences as they happen.  For example, sports fans attending an event can upload videos throughout the event, complete specific tasks, share images of the point of sale displays and respond to interviewer probing whilst living the experience in question.

With end-to-end encryption of messages now a WhatsApp feature you can also feel confident that your research interactions are staying private.

This particular method and recent work was established by MMRI Research and Ellie Osbourne.

More information can be found here:



Think of interacting with a brand or organisation just as you might have a text message conversation with a friend. With the rise of chatbots, the likelihood of brands offering personal, trackable and scalable conversations is without a doubt high on the agenda of many. Rather than sending your customers through a call centre or hoping they’ll find what they’re looking for on your website if communication with your brand could be as simple and as easy as sending a private, one-to-one text message, imagine the possibilities. According to Upinion, humanising surveys can improve response rates, allow participants to complete surveys quicker in comparison to other internet surveys and the start and completion rates are significantly higher due to the personal conversation taking place between respondent and brand.

I would recommend taking a look at Upinion here:

It is too soon to tell how market research agencies will use day to day mobile applications, however, with agencies looking at ways to:

  • Cut overheads
  • Motivate staff
  • Address clients’ needs effectively

It will be no surprise in the short and long-term when market research adopts the use of day-to-day mobile applications. As chatbots become commonplace, their usage will extend to the world of market research. This will bypass data collection agencies and potentially some insight functions altogether.


How can you start tapping into Chatbots?

Try running a survey through a chatbot interface

To get a feel for how chatbots can be applied to research, why not take an existing survey and try building it in a chatbot interface? Test this with a small group of consumers to see how they respond.

Pinpoint where a research chatbot could add real value

Start exploring where a research chatbot might add value to your business. Get your team thinking about where a chatbot could result in greater engagement from respondents than some of your existing approaches.





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