SINGAPORE: Consumers can’t be trusted when it comes to reporting their own behaviour and marketers should look beyond traditional surveys, according to an industry expert.

“People are not particularly capable at remembering what they are doing on those [mobile] devices,” said Simon van Duivenvoorde, Managing Director of Wakoopa, a Dutch tracking technology firm, at the recent MRMW APAC event in Singapore.

“We see a discrepancy between what people say they do, versus what they are actually doing,” he added, in reference to a study Wakoopa conducted with GMO Research about the online behaviour of consumers in Japan and Taiwan. (For more, read WARC’s exclusive report: How consumers shop online in Japan and Taiwan.)

According to a 2016 case study by Wakoopa, an average of 64% of participants’ answers about their behaviour on mobile was inaccurate. This is partially because today’s consumers multi-task a lot on their mobile phones.

“Everything we do is non-linear. It’s very fragmented. While we are booking a ticket, we are chatting with our friends on Facebook,” said Van Duivenvoorde, on why many consumers have difficulty recalling exactly what they consume across their devices.

“We believe that understanding customer online behaviour is the key to help brands create better customer experiences,” said Atsushi Yamamoto, Director of Global Marketing at GMO Research, who co-presented the session.

Van Duivenvoorde recommended that marketers look outside traditional surveys to determine their target audience’s real behaviours.

“Surveys are really good if you use them for what they are really for – for understanding the ‘why’. If you want to understand the ‘what’, use other technologies. It will get you better data. It will get you better surveys. It will help you to understand consumers in a better way,” he said.

“Passive [tracking] allows you to do this well because it eliminates a bunch of questions that you shouldn’t be asking anyway, because it doesn’t gain you any accurate high quality information,” he added.

Data sourced from WARC