Mobile research: the ethnographic potential of the beloved smartphone


Written by Andy Fraser

Consumers have taken to smartphones like ducks to water.  An estimated 75% of the UK population now have a smartphone, unimaginable a decade ago.  We only have to look around to see the extensive usage of that all important device.  Research that can tap into the love for the ever-present smartphone is sure to be a winner. 

The latest buzzword in the insight world has to be ‘mobile’, mobile technology is being talked about and used just about everywhere … from publications, to webinars & conferences.

The mobile revolution is not all hype.  At RDSi, we’ve been successfully using mobile apps for some time.  The gusto with which consumers embrace their tasks, the richness of feedback and the sheer wealth of insight generated is impressive. The door is well and truly unlocked to access consumer reaction in a raw, unbridled way, for those precious days (or weeks) we have consumers at our disposal.  It’s allowing us to get closer to consumers lives whether it’s a food diary with daily video uploads or logging interactions with a particular brand both in and out of home.  Mobile can get us right there in the moment unlike any other methodology – an ethnographic tool that can really deliver insight.

In the scramble to make the most of the mobile opportunity, a whole host of apps, designed to gather information and allow moderation, have appeared.  Through our extensive experience over the last few years, it’s clear there is no one-size-fits-all solution.   We’re working behind the scenes to find the best apps so we can select the right tool to meet the needs of a particular project.  If required, we can also design a bespoke app, branded with a logo or design.  We believe this informed and flexible approach helps us surpass clients’ expectations in terms of outputs.

If you’d like to learn more about RDSi’s approach to mobile ethnography or how it could play a part in a project you are thinking about, email andy.fraser@rdsiresearch.com or call one of our offices.