At Giraffe Insights we are constantly looking to innovate the research methods we use to connect with young audiences. As researchers, we know the importance of understanding how the latest generation of kids interact with the world around them, as only then can we provide them with engaging and tailored opportunities to present their ideas and opinions. Research that allows kids to creatively express themselves consistently produces fascinating insights that can empower a client to better understand their audience or deliver a more appealing product. It is this quest for insight that has brought us to mobile ethnography.

Capture an authentic glimpse into your consumer’s world

Mobile ethnography is a research method that enables us to capture the thoughts and experiences of respondents within their natural environment. Respondents simply download an app on their mobile or tablet, and then complete a series of tasks at home – created for them by the researcher. The format these tasks take is adaptable and can comprise of video diaries, in-the-moment photographs, written explanations or screen share exercises. All these options make it a perfect tool for observing behavioural patterns and reactions to content being user tested. This is particularly valuable when conducting research with younger audiences. We know that many kids can behave less naturally in a physical research environment with strangers to what they would do within their own home. Therefore, a research method like mobile ethnography that allows us to test kids’ behaviours in a familiar and safe environment ensures we capture organic responses.

Prompt for feedback in real-time

A powerful aspect of mobile ethnographical apps is their prompting capability. The researcher can in real-time review all entries provided by respondents, and quickly respond with a prompt to generate discussion and capture further insights. This instantaneous approach ensures that the nuance behind a respondent’s response is captured, as opposed to an approach whereby they are asked to recall an experience from hours prior. For example, if a video is uploaded showing a child playing with a toy in an unexpected manner, the researcher can immediately respond to ask why they decided to play with it in that way, garnering fresh insights.

A research method that resonates with digital natives

It is common knowledge that kids of today are well versed and often comfortable communicating with the outside world through apps on their smart device. There is evidence to suggest that the social upheaval brought about by COVID-19 will only further increase this trend. A recent Mccrindle survey of parents, exploring their opinions on how COVID-19 will impact ‘Generation Alpha’ children, revealed that:

  • 90% felt that the experience would cause technology and screens to become more integrated in kid’s lives.
  • 69% indicated that the children of today will feel more reserved about face-to-face interaction.[1]

This evidence indicates that a research method like mobile ethnography, where kids impart their opinions remotely and in a digital form, will be one they will feel more self-assured taking part in. And undoubtedly, when confident, kids are empowered to provide more detailed and interesting responses to our questions.

Gain access to a wide and varied audience

The global democratisation of technology in recent decades has ensured that more kids than ever enjoy access to a smart phone or tablet. Our propriety research study ‘Little Voices’, which tracks the digital behaviours of children aged between 2 and 12 years old, revealed that:

  • 70% of 2–7-year olds have access to a tablet device
  • 67% of 8-12 year olds have access to a mobile/ smartphone[2]

Mobile ethnographical studies are therefore accessible for kids from across a wide cross-section of society, enabling us to recruit a varied sample. Similarly, though hosting in-person research can be extremely valuable, the fact respondents must travel to physically attend them often limits the type of sample you can recruit. Often limited to respondents from urban areas who are engaged and willing to travel to a group, it is regularly difficult to capture the opinions of those from rural/ suburban areas or those less engaged in a brand or research in general. The nature of mobile ethnography, in that is conducted remotely and provides greater flexibility for the participants, ensures that it can attract a more varied audience to take part – both in terms of region and engagement with a brand or research activities. Nationwide or international studies can be conducted more affordably and quickly, without the need for travel or outsourcing international agencies to conduct in-person research activities. This can have significant benefits in enabling a client to gain a deeper understanding of their wider audience.

Discover more about the mobile ethnographical studies we provide

Through Giraffe Insight’s mobile ethnographical studies, you can gain a unique and intimate snapshot into how your consumers interact with your products or experience your brand at home. Mobile ethnography engages kids in a form they are comfortable with, enables them to express themselves openly and creatively and produces fascinating insights. With so many kids now enjoying access to a smart device, mobile ethnography grants us access to a global audience that truly reflects the diverse consumer base that you interact with. If you are keen to unlock the potential that mobile ethnography has for your organisation, get in touch with us today at [email protected].





[4] Little Voices


[6] Little Voices

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