••• consumer psychology

Cautious when crowded out

Human beings are intelligent but instinctual creatures and our most basic instinct – that of self-preservation and survival – must always be considered when marketers and advertisers view us as consumers. A series of studies conducted by Rob Tanner of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Ahreum Maeng of the University of Kansas and Dilip Soman of the University of Toronto and published in the Journal of Marketing Research explore how the crowdedness of the environment/store affects a consumer’s mind-set and behavior.
According to Tanner’s February 4th article, titled “Seeking Safety In Numbers: Do Consumers Think And Choose Differently In Crowded Stores?”, on Forbes.com, “Personal-space violations that occur in crowded stores result in individuals automatically adopting a defensive state (think: fight-or-flight response). This defensive state is likely entirely hardwired and results in the experience of what psychologists call tense arousal (think: anxiety). Evolutionarily, this tense arousal likely serves an adaptive purpose in helping us to maintain a vigilant posture when we are threatened.”
As the environment becomes more crowded, people automatically become more safety-oriented, more prevention-focused and more sensitive to risk. When offered a choice between two promotional gifts – a box of cookies and a first-aid kit – consumers were much more likely to choose the first-aid kit when in a crowded environment.
Consumers' susceptibility to marketing messages was also affected, with messages framed in prevention terms becoming more persuasive than those with a promotion frame as crowding increased. Additionally, individuals in a crowded environment were markedly less-willing to participate in a real-money gamble, especially after a loss.

••• mobile research

Screen size correlates with completion rates

Any marketing researcher worth his salt knows that to have success with mobile, surveys must be optimized for mobile devices. To drive this point home, Fresno, Calif., research company Decipher Inc. conducted a study to explore the effects of mobile research on respondent engagement and data quality.
Survey starts on smartphones and tablets are up approximately 15 percent since 2012, while starts on desktop computers have declined the same amount since 2012. But as screen size decreases, so do completion rates: 76 percent desktop; 70 percent tablet; 59 percent mobile phone.
The study also examined dropout triggers on mobile devices. As expected, length is a primary contributing factor to dropouts for mobile surveys because completion time is longer on a smartphone than on a PC or tablet (10:46 for a 15-question survey on a smartphone vs. 8:16 on a tablet and 7:53 on a desktop).
Grids are well-known dropout triggers on any device but especially for mobile. First impressions also matter, as half of the dropouts were occurring on the first page, and numeric open-ends may lead to higher dropouts than text open-ends, perhaps because the former requires shifting to a different keyboard on a smartphone.