NEWS10 September 2012

Esomar unveils draft guidelines for mobile market research

Europe Technology

NETHERLANDS— Esomar has partnered with the Mobile Marketing Research Association to develop new guidance for conducting mobile market research.

The two industry bodies have published a consultation draft of the guidance, which intends “to promote respectful relationships with the individuals contacted for research purposes and to assist researchers in addressing legal, ethical, and practical considerations when conducting mobile research”.

In the paper the bodies stress the importance of distinguishing market research as the purpose for mobile surveys, conforming to local laws, obtaining consent, following data protection regulation and protecting consumer rights and the industry reputation.

Much of the paper relates to following the ICC/Esomar Code, but there are specific mobile guidance proposals, which are summarised below:

  • Disclosing to app survey participants the purpose of the app, the specific data it collects or uploads and any impact it may have on the functioning on other installed apps or the performance of the device.
  • Ensuring that photo, video or audio information transmitted by mobile always has the consent of everyone included or is anonymised.
  • Ensuring that any behavioural data is stored only with informed consent and it clearly serves a research purpose such as increasing the analytical value of the data.
  • Making sure that any mobile-based research is an appropriate length and presented in a suitable format that is optimised across devices – especially for privacy policies being delivered in this way.
  • Making sure participants are aware of the risks to their personal data and that firms implement practices to protect personal data.
  • Try to design studies so that participants incur no cost. If this is not possible, the researcher must be prepared to offer compensation. This should be agreed to at the “sign up” stage.

The paper concludes: “The fact that so much personal data can be collected so easily has caused regulators to question whether current legislation provides sufficient guarantees that individuals are aware and informed when personal data are being collected and shared. Hence, our areas of special focus are notice, choice and consent, security and accountability.”