In-Home Ethnographic Research Using Smartphones

Conducting ethnographic research on your consumer base gives your organization a much deeper understanding of who your customers are and what is important to them. With this information, your business is able to better anticipate consumer needs, and provide everything from products and services to company information and customer support, in the way that is most effective for building lasting relationships. In order to gain this insight into how your target audience thinks and feels, it is necessary to complete online market research that captures customers’ attention in the moment, so you get real-time information that leads to actionable intelligence. Using smartphones, research firms are able to conduct in-home ethnographic research for less money and in a shorter timeframe than other methodologies. In the past, ethnographic research has entailed sending a whole team of people to the consumer’s home to observe the specifics of their home environment and, perhaps, the ways in which they use certain products or services. This meant sending the moderator, a videographer, and one or more of the client team to the consumer’s home. It’s expensive, time, consuming and intrusive. The smart phone, with it’s video and audio capabilities, gives the researcher and client team a non-intrusive way to be in the consumer’s home. The consumer can even give them a tour of their entire home environment and even introduce them to other members of the family and so on.

Phone in hand

The Benefits of In-Home Research Using Smartphones

In order to get the qualitative and quantitative data your organization is looking for, it is necessary to reach consumers where they are most comfortable. At home, consumers can participate in research studies at a time that is most convenient for them. This creates an environment in which participants can open up freely and allows greater access for researchers to achieve their objectives.

The benefit of using smartphones during the research process is that a team can reach consumers no matter where they are. Whereas telephone surveys or in-person interviews require consumers to be in a specific place at a specific time, smartphone data can be accessed by researchers at any time. Participants can record videos using their phone or take photos as part of an assignment, and then upload them for the study in order to provide a more detailed picture into their lives. For example, a study gauging how consumers use a new home appliance will be more substantive when participants can show researchers, rather than providing only oral or written responses to questions.

Following Up with Focus Groups and Multi-Day Interviews

It is important to gather all of the qualitative and quantitative data possible during a research study so that an organization can have useful information about its target audience moving forward. After collecting data via a participant’s smartphone, it is highly beneficial to conduct follow-up online market research with in-depth individual interviews, focus groups, or multi-day discussions.

Additionally, by assigning participants small projects to complete using their smartphone over the course of a focus group session, businesses open up new opportunities to connect with their audience and learn more about each and every customer. This helps build profiles that can be used when projecting how a new product or service will be received by the market, and how individuals can be reached through public relations and marketing efforts.

Smartphone videos, photos, and audio recordings give insight into how a consumer feels about a product or topic in the moment. This gives a clearer picture to researchers and overcomes the obstacle of people having to recall specific emotions, sometimes days after an event. To learn more about using smartphones when conducting ethnographic studies, contact an expert at e-FocusGroups today, at (707) 585-7363.