Why the hottest insight platforms today are mobile-first

17 March 2021 | 4 min read | Written by Kelvin Claveria

Every year, the GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) Report takes an in-depth look at the insights industry, revealing the changes underway and the emerging methodologies gaining traction among market researchers. The report provides a glimpse into the type of insight platforms that market researchers are using or considering. 

According to the report, 2020 wasn’t like any other year to date. “Prior to 2020, we saw a relatively slow but consistent growth in adoption of emerging methods,” the GRIT Report notes. “In 2020, however, there has been a marked acceleration in adoption.” 

The 2020 Insights Practice edition of the GRIT report makes one thing abundantly clear: the market research industry is accelerating its adoption of mobile-first technologies and insight platforms. (The report also revealed this year’s GRIT Future List honorees, which include our friend Lynzie Riebling, VP of Insights & Strategy at REVOLT TV. 👏👏👏) Here's more on what you need to know.

Mobile surveys are the biggest emerging trend among buyers and suppliers

Of the 19 emerging methods examined in the GRIT report, mobile-first surveys lead in usage by 64% — that’s up 8% from 2019. Additionally, 13% said they are considering mobile surveys. 

Other mobile-first approaches are also rising in usage. These include mobile qualitative (54%) and mobile ethnographies (45%). 

Rival tech - GRIT-emerging-methods

Image source: GRIT Report, Insights Practice Edition 2020.

Interestingly, the Asia-Pacific region leads the way in the usage of mobile-first surveys, with 75% of researchers adopting it there. Europe is at an estimated 63%, North America at 61%, and the rest of the world reported 69%. 

With mobile devices becoming widespread globally, it’s not a surprise that insight platforms that let companies send out mobile surveys are becoming popular. That said, market researchers need to consider that a mobile survey is still a survey—moving to mobile doesn’t address survey fatigue among consumers.

At Rival, we believe people are yearning for real brand engagement—and that’s something we are actively addressing with our conversational approach to doing research. 

COVID-19 helped speed up the use of remote insight platforms

While not a surprise to us, insight platforms that use mobile market research methods for gathering quant and qual feedback are getting more attention. 🧐

When COVID hit, in-person focus groups became impossible. Consumer behaviors, routines and habits were also changing at a pace we've never seen before.

Mobile devices, given their popularity and widespread use, give insights professionals the ability to complete in-the-moment research and understand what's going on in real time—a big advantage during a volatile time like COVID.

Adoption of mobile-based insight platforms will only accelerate in the future


mage source: Pew Research Center, Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States.

Over 3.8 billion users have smartphones around the globe. In the United States, 96% of adults own a mobile device. Most consumers are becoming mobile-first. It only makes sense companies are adopting insight platforms that engage people in mobile settings.

Beyond meeting consumers where they live digital lives, mobile-first market research methods can help reveal the WHY behind customer behaviors. As we’ve previously covered on the Rival blog, a study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School published in the Journal of Marketing suggests people are more honest when writing on their smartphones than PCs.

Insight platforms that engage consumers through mobile also allow companies to conduct agile research and accelerate the process of getting feedback. 

A few key reasons why insight platforms that are mobile-based are effective: 

  • People respond to mobile messages quickly. According to CTIA.org, on average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text, compared to 90 minutes for someone to respond to an email. This lets companies get qual and quant feedback faster. 
  • Companies with a mobile community can leverage market research technology (like our platform) to do a series of short and fun chats and be more iterative in their research. No more need for long surveys
  • Research participants can answer questions while they are in the midst of the experience, helping minimize recall bias.

The future of mobile-first insight platforms

We’re very excited to see that the market research industry is accelerating its adoption of mobile methods. 🎉

That said, we believe it's not enough to be mobile-first. Re-sizing buttons and open-text boxes for mobile screens won’t increase consumer appetite for surveys. People are craving real brand engagement—and that’s something that insight platforms should be able to help with. 

rival-chat-animation-1bWhat’s required is a re-imagination of the research experience from the ground up for the mobile world. That’s why at Rival, we've created an insight platform that lets brands host conversational surveys (we call them "chat surveys" or “chats”) where people are most candid and honest: on their mobile devices. Through a user experience that feels similar to messaging platforms and using our conversational way of talking to customers, we find people are more forthcoming with their responses.

Find out more emerging trends in agile research and how you can avoid putting customers in test-taking mode by checking out our ebook, The Future of Insights is Conversational.

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Written by Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria (@kcclaveria) is Director of Demand Generation at Rival Technologies.

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