Moving brand trackers from face-to-face to mobile in South-East Asia

Millward Brown, the global leader in brand, media and communications research, set On Device Research a task of moving its tracker studies from face-to-face to mobile with Nestle as the first client.

Results have been impressive - significantly better data quality and shorter turnaround times have proved the value of mobile in the region.

Millward Brown


Ever increasing mobile internet usage has made mobile a viable alternative to face-to-face methodology to tackle the issues of speed, cost and interviewer bias associated with brand tracking studies. But can mobile overcome the four key challenges of trackers?

  1. Need for continuous sample - thousands of unique respondents a year per project
  2. The right people - sample has to be representative of the market and meet tricky quotas
  3. Turnaround speed - no point in investing in studies that deliver results weeks or months later
  4. Survey length - researchers want to get the maximum out of each interview

"Brand tracking studies are notoriously difficult to execute, no matter the methodology. How do you take something as big and complex as brand trackers and make it work in mobile?"

YeeMei Chan, Regional Brand Director, Millward Brown

Project goals

Prove that mobile trackers offer similar or better sample representativeness, improve data quality, as interviewer bias is removed, and shorten turnaround times when compared to face-to-face methodology.


Success of the project depended on combining several unique solutions, namely combining respondent recruiting from our existing panel and through dynamic sampling, and using survey chunking to collect more in-depth answers.

What drove the need to use of existing mobile panels and dynamic sampling?

  • Not everyone wants to join a panel, dynamic sampling allowed us to capture the "other half"
  • Programmatic media buying is perfect for capturing the widest possible mobile internet population
  • Ability to pinpoint specific socio-economic groups, geographic areas etc to meet tricky quotas

Survey chunking, or splitting 20-minute surveys into two parts, is a method we’ve developed to collect more in-depth data than is traditionally associated with mobile surveys.

Combined, these two methodologies, had a significant positive impact on the data quality.


Data quality on mobile is impressive - ad evaluation data is consistent despite the screen size, and brand usage data lines up better against actual market share when compared to face-to-face.

brand usage data vs actual market share

Moving brand trackers studies from face-to-face to mobile had a number of benefits:

  1. Better access to higher income households
  2. Wider geographic coverage
  3. No undue influence from interviewers
  4. Improved data accuracy
  5. Data extracted straight into dashboard, available for the client

"There has been much talk in the industry about how market research must adapt to meet clients’ needs for faster feedback on brands and marketing activities. We are delighted that like-minded, innovative clients such as Nestle in Malaysia have already made the transition."

Gonzalo Fuentes, Managing Director, South-East Asia, Millward Brown