Mobile Apps for Market Research

Louise Principe
Jul 13, 2022

Machines have officially taken over the world. According to Statista, more than 6 billion smartphone users are in existence to date. Meanwhile, mobile connections have exceeded the global population by about 2.64 billion, making it the fastest-growing technological phenomenon ever.

People’s reliability on smartphones gave birth to various mobile app developments that enable you, the researcher, to go beyond the confines of a lab and connect with respondents in more natural environments. This opens huge opportunities for richer data collection from participants worldwide, making the world of market research smaller and more accessible than ever.

Mobile app market research is advantageous because it is...

  • Unconstrained by traditional time and location barriers (e.g., coordinating participants internationally or accessing participants in remote areas).
  • Easier to recruit large sample sizes and busy professionals.
    Less expensive to coordinate than in-person or web meetings.
  • Capable of working offline if respondents lack Internet access.
  • Able to gather more natural responses without the presence of a moderator.
  • Conveniently located within the sphere of participants’ daily routines.
    More secure against hacking than web-based tools.

Market research apps improve how you engage in mobile research in three key ways:

  1. They make existing tools such as surveys, audio diaries, and multimedia uploads more accessible for users.
  2. They help you conduct traditional in-person methods, such as ethnography, in a mobile setting.
  3. They can increase the speed of research through rapid experimentation.


Surveys are a market research staple and remain one of the most utilized mobile research app features. Most surveys, however, need to be adjusted for shorter mobile attention spans and optimized for mobile screens.

In a mobile insights app, users can respond to single, multiple-choice, skip logic, sorting, or ranking questions and submit multimedia content. You can also choose to incorporate more advanced research tools such as enabling geo-fencing and geo-triggering so that the app responds according to a participant’s location.

Audio Dairies

Many qualitative studies require longitudinal data collection to come up with strongly reliable findings. With the use of mobile app market research, respondents can routinely upload audio content, or audio diaries, as they record an experience over time. This gives you the benefits of multiple one-on-one interviews without the typical drawbacks of being time-intensive and the potential for a moderator’s presence muting respondents’ more frank reactions.

Audio diaries are ideal for exploring long-term patient journeys or for more sensitive research that demand authenticity. They are more unfiltered than survey responses and therefore suitable for uncovering the thought processes and the “whys” behind respondents’ decisions.

Activities with Multimedia Content

An app is a convenient way for respondents to seamlessly upload audio, photo, video, or text messages in response to a question or assigned activity. These multimedia uploads typically give you a richer understanding of what participants are experiencing and feeling than text-only reactions – enabling you to gather as much information as being on-site.

Ensure that submissions are valid by using GEO locations to view where an activity took place. Additionally, many apps have an offline capability for places with limited or no Internet connection (e.g., photographing a dining experience at a restaurant, recording a shopping experience at a retailer).

Mobile Ethnography

Unlike traditional ethnographical studies, a mobile research app lets you interact with participants without the intrusion of an in-location video team that could skew respondent behavior. Participants can use a smartphone to record their surroundings in real-time while engaging in a two-way observational conversation with the remote researcher.

With increased access to public wi-fi, in-depth interviews can now be conducted in infrastructures such as supermarkets, restaurants, and stores while participants are ‘on the go.’ Mobile ethnography provides you with a closer look into the respondent’s environment, activities, and key decisions without leaving your desk.


Rapid Experimentation 

Some industries can change so rapidly that time-consuming market research quickly becomes irrelevant. New market research methods are a great way of speeding up the pace of your research and facilitating the important business trend of innovation through “fast failure” or rapid experimentation.

Rather than focusing on perfecting a product or service before release, companies are embracing iterative learning. This could mean conducting A/B testing or releasing a more basic prototype and then using rapid experimentation to continuously improve the offering. Engaging in mobile research is well-suited to this demand for fast, easy, inexpensive, and frequent testing and learning.

See Where Your Research Takes You with Civicom® Mobile Research

If you’re looking for a way to observe your participants’ natural settings, routines, and key decision moments that eliminates expensive travels and in-home intrusions, Civicom’s Mobile Research solutions are ideal for various applications. Explore multiple mobile platforms specializing in real-time insights, observational studies, and website or app usability testing.

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