January 29th, 2010
The last couple of days, all we have heard is iPad, iPad, iPad. While I’m not sure iPad will be as revolutionary as the iPod or iPhone, what I do know is that Apple will make a lot of revenue from their iTunes store. Did you know that in 2009, Apple accounted for 99.4% of all mobile app sales?
According to the Gartner report that’s a big chunk of the $4.2 billion in mobile app revenue that Apple scored in 2009 alone. Apps are growing by the minute with the market estimated to almost double in the next year, to 4.5 billion apps.
For marketers this creates a number of interesting questions and opportunities:
- What makes a good App?
- What are consumers willing to pay for?
- How does the market learn about Apps?
- How do I make sure I get my Apps noticed ?
Over the coming months Latitude hopes to answer some of these questions with their iPhone user research community. Not only will we ask members to ‘show us your Apps’ we want to drill down to understand how they find, choose and interact with their Apps. Which ones can’t they live without and most importantly, which ones add to their brand experience.
So what Apps can’t you live without?
January 28th, 2010
Is it an MROC or isn’t it? If it isn’t, then what is it? I recently came across a blog by Robert Bain ‘Between an MROC and a hard place’, quoting comments made by Mike Hall (Verve) who said the term MROC was ‘rubbish’. Mike Hall espouses that MROCs are not research communities. He says that by having a community and only using it for research doesn’t make it a ‘research community’. Hmm, I wonder, what does that make it then?
Here at Latitude Insights we specialize in online research communities (in fact we wholeheartedly embrace them). These communities are online communities (private and usually branded) and they are used for research purposes. So, for us, that makes them online research communities.
But really, what I find most interesting is how much time and effort is spent debating the semantics of a name rather than meaningful discussion such as the merits of these online research communities (gosh, does that make them an ORC, I thought that was a fantasy warrior type thing?), and in fact social media as a whole.
Talking to consumers using a platform they are now increasingly using and comfortable with not only makes sense, it’s a must. As the latest Nielsen Online data indicates, time spent on social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) is increasing at a huge rate. And that’s not going to stop any time soon. Interestingly, Australia is leading the way in terms of average time spent on these sites. On average, we Australians spent almost 7 hours on social networking sites in December 2009.
So any discussion needs to create an understanding of online research communities – the way they work and how effective they are. Recruitment, size, management and, importantly, gathering insights and communicating them would perhaps be more pertinent than whether these communities are called MROCs or trying to prove they are ‘not research communities’.
January 22nd, 2010
This is the usual response I get when I explain what I do for a living.
So why has online qual not taken off? Unless you’re in the industry, it seems nobody quite knows what it actually is. From initial client contact, to recruiting participants, half the battle is describing how a community works.
When I first started working at Latitude Insights (and I must admit, at the time my knowledge of online communities was very vague) I was astounded by the dedication of the members in the community. Most participate enthusiastically, going far beyond our expectations of them. I hadn’t realised how interactive a community could be.
The common misconception is that research communities are just focus groups online.
However, unlike focus groups or bulletin boards, communities open up continuous dialogue within a social context. In the online space consumers truly want to talk to your brand and invite you into their world. This is where the potential lies.
It is still early days for online research communities, and like with any new medium, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what we could do. In the meantime, it might help if we spread the word to those outside of research circles. I think online qual deserves a little more than ‘huh?’
January 20th, 2010
I’ve been searching for data or case studies on the use of mobile devices in qualitative research and, alas, there’s not much information out there at the moment. A lot of the studies on using mobile devices in market research relate to SMS or survey data capture. Vision Critical has conducted a mobile research study which provides some good insights on quantitative mobile research, but only eludes to the differences in qualitative responses.
But maybe that’s good for us, because we’re about to start a test community amongst iPhone users, that will both provide insights on the iPhone, and how smartphones can be used in online research communities. Given that, according to Morgan Stanley, the iPhone/iTouch has been adopted faster than any other consumer technology device in history, the research industry can’t afford to ignore smartphones when it comes to engaging people in text based conversations. You can wade through the reams of juicy data on mobile internet from Morgan Stanley here.
Of course, there’s nothing new about using mobiles for social networking. The Facebook app does happen to be the world’s most downloaded free iPhone app. So if people are already chatting and connecting via mobile devices within these social networks, why not with us researchers via our online communities?
Time will tell…but there’s a clear need for researchers to be able to keep up with our clients who are developing branded applications as another way to reach their customers. It’s about going to where thepeople are, not bringing them to us for sandwiches and a chat around a table.
So keep an eye out for updates on the iPhone community and the outcomes. We’ll be sharing our findings in coming months.