With 25 million completed regional surveys and counting, On Device Research has been operating in the MENA region for approximately one year, providing mobile market research to its clients. By and large, the region has approached surveying with traditional field methods, such as face-to-face or phone interviews and, more recently, email. On Device Research sets itself apart by performing surveys on mobile devices through apps. Currently, the email response rate of five percent pales in comparison to the 20 percent response rate boasted by the mobile market research company. They also provide clients with a turnaround time of four to five days, which is significantly less than the time it takes to complete field surveys.
Founded in 2009 in the UK, On Device Re- search has since expanded across the world to 85 countries, including the MENA region. Heading the MENA division since its inception, managing director Nader Kobeissi gives Communicate a peek into the company and how it’s actively changing the art of local surveying.
Kobeissi explains his company in basic terms: “What we do is simple market research for anyone, anywhere, but we have changed the way research was traditionally done in the region.” He highlights how inherently difficult the traditional approach to information gather- ing is, specifically for the Middle East, due to several factors: the conservative nature of some countries in MENA, the dangerous conflict zones that lead to a hike in field-work salaries and the heat, making door-to-door research a challenge. Kobeissi explains that On Device Research gets closer to the respondents more quickly and for less, attributing the 20 percent response rate of the mobile surveys to the region’s considerable penetration of devices. Surveying an audience on the devices they are already using allows them to respond to surveys while on the go – for example, while standing in a grocery queue.
On Device Research targets its audience on devices like their smartphones, tablets, phablets and feature phones. It reaches its respondents by providing incentives for completing the surveys, which are only sent out to registered individuals. Kobeissi notes that the one insight the company has gathered over time is the importance of brevity as a key component of mobile market research. Attention spans are lesser when dealing with mobile audiences and, after question number 35, the quality in data would drop significantly, indicating a loss in focus by the respondents. For this reason, On Device Research has lowered the number of questions in their surveys to an average of 35.
Kobeissi explains that his company is appealing to clients in this region particularly, because they are hungry for mobile research and because the type of analysis that On Device Research offers is more cost-efficient than traditional surveying because there is no need, for example, to pay field surveyors.
The vast majority of research completed by the company is commissioned for a specific client and is not made public. However, On De- vice Research occasionally performs a survey in conjunction with a client and publishes that research. In most cases, the company provides the market research to the client; however, little to no analysis is ever done on the part of On Device Research.
Mobile app usage is the subject of one survey conducted by the company and insights vary from what percentage of people are download- ing apps to what types of global apps the local audience would like to see in Arabic. Another global survey, conducted by On Device Research and released this month by the Interactive Ad- vertising Bureau (IAB), provides insights on the demand for long-form video content. The survey took place across 24 countries provid- ing findings such as the one that 36 percent of respondents said they watch videos more than five minutes in length on their mobiles at least once per day. Kobeissi also shares a staggering insight learned through another survey, regarding the use of mobile phones while shopping: 81 percent of people stopped a purchase because of something they saw or did on their smartphones. He explains this information as an opportunity for the brick-and-mortar shop to help foster that nearly lost conversion.
Mobile surveying is certainly a more effi- cient process than its traditional counterparts, and regionally, the market is penetrating mobile more than any other area globally. Therefore, On Device Research appears to have come to the right place.