Mobile phones have given consumers the convenience of content and communications across all facets of their daily life. Smartphone ownership is edging every-closer to saturation at around 8 in 10 Australians, making them not only consumer’ best friend, but the perfect tool for marketers to evaluate and optimise the relationship between their customers’ digital and physical worlds.

The new way to gain consumer insight

In a nutshell, mobile research apps provide consumer insight in two ways – they capture attitudes, perceptions and profiling information via brief, in-the-moment surveys; and they capture location information through the phone’s GPS functionality. Combined, these two datasets result in rich insight linking your consumers’ survey responses to their movement across physical locations. There are no other insights tools that seamlessly link your consumers’ attitudes, profile, digital and physical behaviour for a single holistic view of the drivers of offline behaviour.

For many years we’ve had the benefit of passively measuring and tracking consumers’ online behaviour once Internet use became mainstream. Now the broad adoption of smartphones teamed with app technology means we can passively measure behaviour in the physical world; a game changer for sectors like retail, events, travel and transport.

Spatial analysis is the new black

While piles and piles of consumer location data is a marketers’ dream, it’s hard to make sense of it until you map it, and overlay all the businesses and physical venues that your business cares about.

If you’re a supermarket, you want to know who your fickle customers are that do their top-up shops at competitive stores. And what outdoor media do they pass en-route to these competitors? And on what day, at what time do they do their shopping – so you can tailor a digital message to these segments at precisely the right moment to drive them into your store. The same scenario fits a petrol station chain. Or a clothing retailer. Or a fast food outlet. The list goes on.

If you’re a sporting franchise you can map your stadiums and follow the paths of fans to size-up sponsorship opportunities with the businesses that those fans frequent – both physically and online.

Travel operators and tourism authorities no longer need to rely on visitor surveys. The holiday habits of domestic travellers can all be mapped; including where they stayed, the duration, their mode of transport, where they dined and what attractions they visited. The list of examples and applications for spatial analytics is endless, across public and private sector.

But wait, there’s more…

And the future looks even brighter. Consider a mobile research app that not only captures consumers’ physical and digital paths and overlays this detail with their responses to in-the-moment surveys; but this app also has the ability to capture audio signals like, for example, a TV commercial. Then not only can we attribute an in-store visit to digital exposure, but so too TV. Or radio.

Do you recall the smart team that brought KIA’s award winning 'Game On' app to you during the Australian Open, where viewers can slam a serve back at Sam Groth on their TV screen using their mobile phone as the racquet? This is the team behind Anomaly’s new super-smart mobile research app known as RAPPORTER which we’ve just launched in Australia with survey and location-capture features. In the coming months Anomaly will be working with Mnet to roll out even more functionality like audio capture and location-triggered surveys using geo-fencing.

Says Jane Watson, Anomaly Head of Solutions who brought Rapporter to life together with Mnet:

“There’s been mention of mobile research apps among Australian research providers for some time, but when crunch came to crunch and a client brief came in, the capability seemed to dissipate. Or the cost was so prohibitive nothing ever came to fruition. The new breed of research apps like Rapporter will turn app-based surveys and location analytics into a reality for Australian businesses.”