Bringing mobile to 'real' research

Masao Kakihara
Google Japan


Mobile phones are now so deeply embedded into our social lives that it is almost impossible for us to clearly distinguish our mobile phone usage from any other media usage in our everyday lives. Rapid social penetration of smartphones is further accelerating this trend. However, it has been highly difficult to understand the users' mobile phone usage and their resultant behavior in reasonable relation to other media behavior. There are quite few trustful public data recourses for mobile user demographics and behavior at a global level. Furthermore, most of the online audience data panels are dealing with PC- data only.

Admittedly, there are some approaches to grasp mobile user behavior in both quantitative and qualitative ways. Traditional survey methods can be applied to mobile user behavior analysis, and qualitative interview approaches are also applicable to gain contextual information of their mobile phone usage. Yet, with those methods, it is difficult to reasonably 'juxtapose' users' mobile behavior with their behavior on other media such as TV and desktop PC. Even for online user analysis, the desktop-mobile interaction in terms of their media consumption and usage has not been addressed well because of the lack of a synthesized research method or tool to capture their dynamic online behavior constantly straddling desktop PC and mobile devices.