Stop asking when mobile will be the next big thing, it happened a year or two ago!

As I and others (see this great post by Reg Baker in 2011) have been pointing out, people have been saying mobile is the next big thing for over 15 years, even in the days when that meant SMS, or WAP, or writing 100s of apps for different types of phones. At conferences and client sessions I keep being asked “So, when will mobile be the big thing?” The answer is that it is now a big thing, and it has been for probably 18 months or more. There are lots of interesting aspects to why mobile is so important, its role in mobile ethnography, its role in audience measurement, its use in location based services, and the gloss that is the quantified self. But there are two massive areas that outweigh all others. The first is online and the second is CATI. I have been talking to a wide range of survey providers as part of the book on mobile market research I am writing with Navin Williams and Sue York (due out in September) and there is a consensus that about 20% to 30% of online surveys are being taken (or attempted) by people using mobile devices – […]

How many people will be using smartphones to access the web in 2017?

Almost every week there is a key discussion in the NewMR LinkedIn group, tackling a specific topic of interest. This week I asked “In 3 years, what % of adults will have a mobile phone, how many will be smartphones, and how many will be connected to the internet?” and broke this down into three questions: In January 2017, what percentage of the world’s adults do you think will have a mobile phone? By which I mean the percentage of people who have at least one phone (or phablet). What percentage of the world’s population will have a smartphone? What percentage of the world’s population will have a 3G, 4G or similar connection to the internet? There are lots of interesting replies from people such as: Siim Teller, Etienne Zervaas, and Thomas Ball, and I encourage you to check the discussion out. But, I thought I would share my replies with this blog as well as the discussion. What percentage of the world’s adult population will have a mobile phone in 2017? The ITU estimate that there are about 7 billion phones in use, allowing about 1.8 per actual user, deduct about 1.5 billion people as children, some of whom […]

Staying up to date with trends in mobile and mobile market research

As part of the book on Mobile Market Research that we are working on we are including some tips on how to stay up to date in terms of mobile market research. Here is the list we have at the moment: Workshops and conferences organised by research bodies such as ESOMAR and MRS. The MRMW series of conferences (Market Research in the Mobile World) organised by the Merlien organisation. The Global Market Research report (annual) and the Global Prices Study (every two years) from ESOMAR. The yearly GRIT report from GreenBook. The Confirmit Annual Market Research Software report. The Mobile Course provided by the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course. Online events and recordings at, and its Mobile reference page Useful sources of data and information include ITU, press releases and reports from IDC and Gartner, and reports available from the Pew Research Center ( Useful news sites/blogs include:,,, and Thoughts?

Why is so much customer satisfaction research so unsatisfying?

When I talk to research users, one of the most common themes I hear is dissatisfaction with customer satisfaction research (and its new expansion into customer experience). Key problems appear to be: It tends to be based on people’s memory rather than their current or recent experiences, resulting in inaccurate measurements. Halo effects can swamp actual, real-time experiences and distort the recalled evaluations. For example, if somebody likes an experience they are prone to say everything was good. However, if the experience was negative they are prone to describe most of the experience as negative – this makes the findings less actionable. The research is often targeted at phenomena that are of little interest to research participants. For example, questions about how a customer is greeted at the bank or supermarket can result in blunt and hazy measurements if users do not find that aspect salient to them. A company’s area of interest is often too wide to create a meaningful research instrument. One consequence of the breadth of interest has been the creation of ever longer customer satisfaction surveys, delivering ever lower levels of satisfaction to the users of the research. Customer satisfaction and experience is a lagged measure, […]

The Mobile Players in 2014 & Mobile MR – Navin Williams

Posted by Navin Wlliams, CEO MobileMeasure Consultancy Ltd, Shanghai, China. Editors note: Navin is known as a leading expert of mobile market research and has been posting his forecasts for a few years and kindly shared his 2014 forecast with us. 2013 was a year of consolidation of the market in the mobile space. With Android settling into its leadership position and Apple’s iOS having a relatively good year too. The other operating systems have largely fallen by the wayside. With mobile finally settling the fight with online and finally being recognized as a tour de force too, it’s a good time to put on my soothsayer hat and share my vision of how 2014 is going to pan out. Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, via CNET: Winner Takes All – Android In last year’s post I talked about Android dominating the mobile landscape and eventually by getting prices down to a sub US$100 mark make analysts relook at the Feature phone and Smartphone definition by the end of 2013. This has not really happened as we still have these definitions widely in use. However no one is obsessing over these definitions as it is well recognized that the formerly […]

Could Google be the next Standard Oil or AT&T?

Post by Ray Poynter, 11 January 2014 Google’s standing with privacy groups and legislators has probably never been lower. Problems include: the recent news that some of Google’s activities have been ruled illegal by four countries (France, Netherlands, Germany, and Spain – with fines being levied by Spain and France), following fast on the heels of Google’s problems in Europe with how little tax it pays, $40million dollar fines in the US over ‘cookiegate’, $7million fine in the US for Wi-Fi data collected illegally from its street view cars, and most recently the concern that Google’s integration of Google+ and Gmail means that people can send messages to you without knowing your email address. Does any of this matter? Sure Google has been fined, but the sums only account to small change for a company as large and successful as Google. Privacy campaigners are outraged, but usage of Google’s services continue to grow (look at the way Android has quickly become the leading operating system on new phones and tablets). But would governments really try to tackle Google? Could Governments try to tackle Google? Perhaps there are some interesting lessons in history, especially in the United States, consider two important […]

Does this summarise mobile qual for you?

As part of the book on mobile market research that Sue York, Navin Williams and I are writing we need to give an overview of mobile qual, before going into depth. Do you think the image below helps? Thoughts? What are we missing? What would you change? What about the titles for the segments? By WE-research we mean projects where participants are recruited to capture a variety of qualitative data about their lives. They might be asked to capture images of waste, or videos of travel problems, or audio comments about the school run, for example. The term WE-research was introduced by Mark Earls and John Kearnon a few years ago. But, do you have a better term for this type of research? We are planning on three chapters on qualitative research, indeed we have written three chapters, an overview which covers all four segments above, followed by chapters specifically on the top two segments. Our view on techniques like passive tracking, Google Glass etc is that there is simply not enough material yet to have a chapter on it, there is too little experience around. If you’d like to help by reviewing one or more of these three chapters, […]

How many of your Twitter followers are fake?

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many of your Twitter followers are fake? Or, more importantly, when you or your client are buying endorsements from somebody with a mega number of followers, are they real. Or, if you are trying measure influence, what figure should you attribute somebody with? Back in November of last year, did an analysis of Katie Perry and come up with an estimate that 42% of her followers were fake, 36% were inactive, and 22% were good. Of course with nearly 50 million followers, even 22% good produces quite a few people. For the loss of a small amount of privacy (you have to sign in with your Twitter account), you can check your own ratio of fake followers with StatusPeople – my score showed that I had 5% fake followers. So, you can get fake followers without having to buy them.</p? You can also find out more about your followers, or somebody else’s follower using SocialBakers’ FakeFollowers (they had me at 6% fake, but 90% active) – again you have to sign in with your Twitter account. But, as Chereen Zaki posting on Forbes pointed out, back in March, buying followers could cost […]

“most published research findings are probably false” – John Ioannidis

The worlds of academic and commercial research are being riven at the moment with concerns and accusation about how poor much of the research and conclusions that have been published are. This particular problem is not specifically about market research, it covers health research, machine learning, bio-chemistry, neuroscience, and much more. The problem relates to the way that tests are being created and interpreted. One of the key people highlighting the concerns about this problem is John Ioannidis from Stanford University and his work has been reported both in academic and popular forums (for example The Economist). The quote “most published research findings are probably false.” comes from Ioannidis. Key Quotes Here are some of the quotes and worries floating about at the moment: America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) – researchers would find it hard to reproduce at least three-quarters of all published biomedical findings Sandy Pentland, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – three-quarters of published scientific papers in the field of machine learning are bunk because of this “overfitting” John Bohannon, a biologist at Harvard, submitted an error stewm paper on a cancer drug derived from lichen to 350 journals (as an experiment), 157 […]

Do you have mobile RoR or case studies you’d like to share in our new book?

Ray Poynter, Navin Williams, and Sue York are writing a book on mobile market research, which will be published in August/September by Wiley, with the support of ESOMAR. The book has been provisionally titled, The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, and is a companion to The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research. Are you or one of your colleagues, or your organisation, interested in helping us in any of the following ways? 1. Reviewing one or more chapters and letting us have your thoughts and suggestions? 2. Supplying case studies or Research on Research to help illustrate points in the book? Ideally, material that has already been published on your website, at a conference, or in articles. We will, of course, fully cite and credit any help you and your organisation are able to offer. Timelines are horrendous, of course! We’ve finished the first draft of the book and sent it to the publisher. This draft is very rough, if you have a look at any of the chapters you will spot errors and notes to ourselves in the text. The final text is being sent to the publisher 31st January, so we’d need any feedback or help before […]