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One of the fastest growing web and mobile approaches to market research is the use of web messaging, experts have claimed.

Ray Poynter, author of The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, believes mobile apps such as WhatsApp, We Chat, Line, and Snapchat could be used to enhance the customer experience and provide better data for the companies involved, having seen examples already of those who have successfully put web messaging to use within market research.

Sandeep Budhiraja achieved positive results when his company successfully used web messaging as part of a market research campaign. “We used WhatsApp back in 2010 as part of a study where other methods were also used to gather data from the respondent.” As a Co Founder and Partner at Spark Consult, Budhiraja found web messaging very useful for triggering the respondent to participate in the research, as well as allowing quick and easy interactions between the participant and the researchers.

Web messaging is a great tool for reminding participants about tasks too, as well as general participation management and even recruiting, claims Brian Loeb, a freelance consultant. “It’s also really useful for getting quick off-the-record opinions – things you don’t want to formally ask all participants but that your really want to know from a few – quick in-the-moment feedback, as well as to receive texts, photos and even videos from participants when the online community has experienced technical issues.

“This has obviously been limited to low volume qualitative research, but if someone developed a tool for higher volume quantitative research, I’d be interested.”

Brands need to focus on creating stories if they want to maximise the efficiency of paying for the attention of their desired target audience. According to Pew Research, as of January 2014, 90% of Americans had a mobile phone, 58% of American adults owned a smartphone, 32% were in possession of an e-reader, while tablet owners made up 42% of the population.

Many believe it is essential for brands to embrace mobile technology and interaction as a core marketing philosophy while ensuring that all of their products, services and communications are adaptable to a world where, these days, people carry the internet with them wherever they go, typically via a mobile phone.

In order to be successful, market researches need to be aware of waning attention spans. Every minute spent using Snapchat, Line, or WhatsApp is a minute not spent using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. There’s also a need to be aware of which mobile messaging apps work best in which continents. For example, Facebook is banned in China, and WeChat is used much more than WhatsApp. KakaoTalk is used on 93% of all smartphones in South Korea, while the Japanese favour Line. Global brands need to take this into account when rolling out web messaging market research, and not get sucked into a US-European view of the tool.

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