June 12th, 2013

Sort of, dunno, nothin

By: Margie Lane, Research Director

Don’t you love the one word answers you get from teenagers when you ask them how their day at school was today.  I’ve learned with my daughter that it’s far more productive to wait until we have our quiet times together cooking, knitting, walking the dog, and let her raise issues that she wants to talk about.

It struck me moderating a group discussion recently that it’s exactly the same with participants.  Sure they may have more to say when I ask them a direct question than the average teen, but the real gems come when they are given the space and time to raise issues they have on their minds.

By spending time establishing rapport, giving participants the confidence to speak about issues that are top of mind and allowing the conversation to flow rather than moving on to the next scheduled task on the discussion guide, it is possible to uncover a whole host of issues that would have been buried by asking a rational question like ‘what’s important to you’.

And it’s the same in our online communities, we learn most about consumers real behaviour when we set the scene for open, free flowing conversations and can then more accurately project their future behaviour.

Take a look at this light-hearted take on the typical teenager and while you do, think about how much goes on in the life of a teenager beyond their monosyllabic replies and how we, as researchers, can access their reality.


December 5th, 2011

Mobile qual – what it brings to the research mix

mobile-qualIf a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words can a video buy you? As smartphone adoption rises in Australia, it’s only natural for research to have a presence in this arena.

Latitude has recently completed its first qualitative mobile phone study – talking to 22 mums and their kids. Over a period of two weeks we asked mums for feedback, challenged them to tasks, sent them on shopping trips and had them interview their kids (all done with smartphone in hand!). In total they generated over three hundred video clips for the project.

One of the benefits of using mobile for qualitative research is its ability to effectively collect point in time data. Through this medium we were able to observe behaviours as they happened at home, in the supermarket and during usage occasions, allowing us to better understand the decision-making process.

A new innovation for research – keep posted for more learnings about mobile qual!

May 27th, 2011

Old is new again

by Tabitha Lucas | Tags: , , | Category: iPhone , Smartphone , Technology


    A few days ago I was leaving a meeting with my boss. We were in dire need of petrol. No problem I announced, iPhone to the rescue! Perfect scenario for the smart phone: in an area of town I didn’t know very well, no idea where the closest petrol station might be, not near any obvious main roads or shops. So off we set, blue dot blinking happily on the screen indicating our current location, with a choice of dots indicating petrol stations. Too easy!

    Or so you would think.

    To cut a long story short, we did find a petrol station before the car started coughing and spluttering, but just barely. It was a good 20 minute drive from where we started. Completely missing the petrol station that was a mere 30 seconds drive away.

    New technology is a splendid thing, offering us easier ways to get around, easier ways to keep in contact, etc. You no doubt know all of this. So what happened??

    It seems that the lovely comforting blue dot was just slightly off. Only a few metres mind you. But this meant that we turned left instead of right. And we drove for a ridiculously long period of time in the wrong direction before realising that the petrol station dot was not getting any closer.

    Sounds like one of those stories where people drive into a swimming pool because their sat nav told them to, right?

    I’ve always laughed at those stories in a smug superior sort of way, thinking ‘idiots’. Ahem, it appears I have now joined their ranks! It was not just my reliance in technology and not just my trust in the technology that steered us wrong. It was the fact that I abandoned my common sense along with it. If I had actually taken a minute to look around at the actual road and surroundings rather than the blue dot, the mistake would have been obvious much earlier on.

    So why is this relevant in a blog about research? This incident got me thinking. Partly because I keep getting teased about it… ;)

    But seriously. We embrace lots of new technologies and new techniques in our research. Because of the multitude of benefits that they offer us and our clients. But this has inherent dangers. The danger of relying on the technology in the absence of common sense and abandoning ‘old school’ ways of doing things just because they have been around for a while. To remember that sometimes a pen and paper questionnaire is actually the best way of doing something. To look up from the blue dot and think ‘does this actually make sense’? To notice the real world and not just the virtual. To remember that new techniques and new technologies are great. But should be an addition to our repertoire, not necessarily a replacement for other ways of doing things.

    Basically, I will be reminding myself not to blindly drive headlong into the research swimming pool.

    January 28th, 2011

    Use of smartphones in an online research community

    Copy of my presentation from Merlien conference in Berlin, MobileMR 2010: Market Research in the Mobile World

    July 30th, 2010

    A sensitive issue – iPhone App Pricing

    Screen shot 2010-07-30 at 1.47.03 PM It’s widely recognised that the success of Apple’s iPhone has a lot to do with iTunes and the mammoth number of apps in the App Store. With more than 100,000 apps available across many categories, it seems there’s an app to suit everyone, for every need.

    However, despite apps being a legitimate and increasingly powerful distribution channel for content, services and brand experiences, iPhone users are seemingly reluctant to spend a lot of money to access paid apps.

    Screen shot 2010-07-30 at 1.33.56 PM

    So, can brands charge for their apps?

    Apps are gradually being recognised as a new distribution channel for brands, particularly those that can deliver content, or provide access to their services via mobile Internet. Furthermore, many iPhone users are looking for more brands to engage with them via their mobile device, however, not at a cost.

    iPhone users are looking for new interactions or ways of dealing with companies anywhere, at anytime, and branded apps provide companies with another opportunity to connect with their customers. But, most brands cannot charge for access to their own distribution channels, or for content that is not unique – why pay to access something that can be obtained elsewhere for free?

    There will be, of course, exceptions, particularly when a branded app can be a primary distribution channel for unique content or intellectual property, and/or the experience has significant benefits and value to the consumer. Although, at this point in time, consumer brands are yet to fully explore how they can become part of their customers’ lives via owning app territory on their customers’ Smartphone.

    July 29th, 2010

    Pocket shopping via Smartphones: Are we ready?

    Screen shot 2010-07-29 at 5.33.01 PM While many iPhone users may pay for apps, and download them directly to their phones, there is some reluctance to make other purchases via a mobile device. Concerns about security are an issue for many, however functional barriers also contribute to lack of mobile transacting. Apps which are purpose built for transacting are readily used by some people, but they are few and far between.

    iPhone users essentially fall into three groups when it comes to shopping via their smartphones:

    Screen shot 2010-07-29 at 5.29.58 PM

    Security concerns mainly relate to sending data over public or unsecured WiFi networks, which iPhone users avoid (when transacting) online by using their own WiFi, or sticking with 3G. However, if they’re going to transact at home, then a computer is usually accessible, so the concept of mobile purchasing is somewhat irrelevant. Purchasing via a computer also offers the benefit of being able to easily print receipts for proof of purchase.

    Interestingly, security is not just related to a fear of having their details stolen, but also user error when it comes to entering data on a mobile device. The small screen and touch keyboard are seen as being more likely to result in typing errors – especially if attempting to purchase from a classic site, rather than a mobile-friendly site, or via an app.

    “I am a bit reluctant to make purchases from my iPhone due to security concerns and just in case I incorrectly type in my payment details – e.g. a $20 donation becomes a $200!”

    Fit for purchase

    iPhone users were more likely to make purchases from their devices via purpose built apps, like eBay or Dominos Pizza, than to attempt to purchase via the internet on their smartphone. These apps not only make it easier to undertake a transaction because of their design and features, they also, importantly, communicate that the app is fit for purpose.

    It’s critical that apps which are used for transactions are branded and deliver a positive customer experience. In a virtual environment, the trust markers will predominantly be the brand, and the quality of the app design and functionality – without these elements, doubts about security and authenticity are elevated. Branded apps are also more convincing than mobile sites, when it comes to transactions, again because of a sense that they are designed specifically with the user context in mind (versus merely scaling down a web experience). A clear example of this can be found with banking apps versus purely mobile internet banking.

    People who are already comfortable purchasing through the iPhone are looking for more opportunities to use their device in this way. Particularly for items such as tickets for movies or events, or for books or small items where the desire to purchase might be triggered spontaneously, rather than being planned. Apps provide the user with a chance to do it ‘here and now’, thus reducing the time between consideration and purchase if they’re on the the move.

    “I feel totally secure making purchases with my phone: I’ve bought apps, music, eBay items, from Amazon, done banking, concert tickets, movie tickets…It’s especially good if, say I’m out with friends, we’re talking about a concert and we can look it up and purchase right there…no more ‘note to self’ to look into it later”

    While some nervousness will prevail amongst cautious consumers, the iPhone operating system is perceived to offer some inherent protection against cyber fraud and the like. There’s an belief that, being a Mac product, the iPhone is not yet a target for viruses, malware or internet scammers. Again, belief in the brand provides a sense of security.

    It’s early days when it comes to mobile purchasing, but when estimates are that by 2011 85% of handsets shipped globally will have some sort of browser, and given the ever-increasing reach of 3G networks, smartphones will become a huge opportunity as a distribution channel. The challenge is for companies to invest early in creating great app and mobile sites that deliver trusted customer experiences, where we won’t think twice about tapping ‘buy now’.

    July 28th, 2010

    Needle in an Appstack

    FlickR apps

    Apple’s iTunes App Store has in excess of 100,000 apps across a multitude of categories. There’s apps for fun, for making your life easier, for saving time, for sleeping better, for unleashing your creativity. Basically, there’s an app for just about anything you can think of doing via your iPhone (and for many things you’ve never thought of doing).

    The problem is, how do we find these apps when there’s so many of them in there? It’s like being in the biggest shop in the world, but all products fit into 20 simple categories. For new apps, whether free or paid, branded or unbranded, the real challenge is being found in the first place. In a digital shop where browsing is very linear, from one click to the next, it’s difficult for apps to rise to the surface so that they are found before ‘shoppers’ move on.

    Latitude Insights conducted an online research community amongst iPhone users from March to April 2010, in which finding apps was an interesting topic of discussion. The main method used to find apps were the Top 25 lists, and word of mouth recommendations from other iPhone users.

    405 App downloading can be either planned or spontaneous. Sometimes people will specifically look for an app they know the name of, or a type of app (but do not know its name) by using a key word, or category search. Other times, browsing the app store may be like window shopping – purposeless, but sometimes resulting in a new acquisition.

    iPhone users recognise the inherent problem in relying on the Top 25 list to find new apps. Following the ‘crowd’ when it comes to apps means that the most downloaded apps, continue to be the most downloaded. There’s a certain level of ‘cred’ associated with having a more unique or rare app.

    “I would imagine that there are a lot of great apps that never make it into the Top 25. Especially, considering that most of the apps in the most popular list are so amazingly stupid”

    Branded or commercial apps need to utilise other communication channels to promote their apps, to facilitate uptake/downloading. Ironically, it may be that non-mobile media, particularly websites and print in the form of both advertising and reviews, are the best way to tell the target market you have an app for them. And then a good app can begin to rely on recommendation to build its fan base.

    Ultimately, a good recommendation or a positive experience with an app on someone else’s iPhone is the strongest driver of app selection. That’s why ‘what apps have you got?’ could be the universal catch-cry for iPhone users.

    July 27th, 2010

    iPhone, I am

    Our presentation of insights from our iPhone online research community.
    Stay tuned for a few more insights over the coming days.