FEATURE10 February 2016

Measuring the immeasurable

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Features Impact Innovations Mobile UK

A new passive metering technology that records all of an individual’s digital activity is shedding some interesting light on the difference between what people think they do online, and what they really do. By Ian Ralph

Measure mobile crop

Digital devices are ingrained in the very fabric of our daily lives. We have all read the headlines about how completely we rely on our devices these days, with those terrifying statistics about how many of us sleep with our phones or check Facebook while on the toilet. In theory, there is a wealth of digital information there for the taking by market researchers – information that would be invaluable to brands. It’s accessing such data that is the tricky part.

With behaviour that has become so habitual, pure recall through an online survey can’t give us the full picture. Then there’s the problem of accidental misreporting by those groups who aren’t so comfortable with technology. We also have the thorny issue of whether we want to tell anybody – even an anonymous online survey – about some of our more awkward or embarrassing online activity.

We do still need traditional surveys to understand why people do things and how it ...