laptop showing the researcher interface of experiencefellow and smartphone showing the mobile interface for participants

How b2b research can benefit from mobile ethnography

September 7, 2017

Mobile ethnography started in B2C research, however B2B companies are now beginning to see the benefits of this approach and have started adopting the technique.

The guest author of this article is Jen Birch of TechJMedia, a mobile tech enthusiast, looking for brilliant ways to leverage smartphones and tablets to uplift the modern day living. She has attended a couple of tech events in 2015 and 2016 in Europe. She hopes to build a machine learning app development company someday.

Mobile ethnography allows researchers to get high-quality data within a short period of time, making it stand out as a great way to collect market research data. Some of its typical applications in the B2B setting include customer and product research, where mobile ethnography can be used for a more comprehensive study or as a single, standalone research method.

The use of mobile ethnography has many advantages in B2B journey research. In this article we will look at the main benefits in more depth.

1. Saving time

Traditional ethnography requires plenty of time being spent preparing for a site visit and several more hours for researchers with each participant. Of course, concerns with legal, health, security, and safety issues also affect the B2B markets in deciding whether or not to use this research method.

With mobile ethnography, everything becomes more efficient as it allows access to all areas of businesses and requires less time for researchers to gather the data they need.


Turning over research data and results has become easier as smartphones are allowing for more and more functions, e.g. high-resolution pictures and videos and increasingly stable and low-cost connection to the Internet. Thus, there’s no wonder mobile ethnography is becoming the preferred method to transfer data as it is far more efficient than traditional methods.

2. In-the-moment insights

Due to surveys usually asking the public about events that happened one or two weeks ago, it can be hard to get people to remember the exact details of an event.

Forgetting certain details can greatly affect the accuracy of the data. However, with the help of mobile devices, respondents are able to record detailed information about certain events or can view resources (videos and images) that can help them recall important bits of information. Additionally, it can also capture contextual data that is difficult to capture in focus groups and interviews. These critical findings uncover information and ideas that often lead to innovation.

3. Real-life stories to drive actions

To ensure that the research ultimately drives an action, communicating the insights of the research is extremely vital. Presenting research findings through effective storytelling is one of the most ideal approaches to do it, where the output of mobile ethnography provides plenty of case studies that researchers can maximize to explain findings and bring the data to life. This is necessary in B2B research as the audience may have little experience of the respondent’s background (i.e. job or workplace).

There are psychological drivers behind B2B purchases, and especially the relation to the brand itself  is an important driver. This is the reason why presenting real-life stories using research findings can generate actionable and profitable results for companies. How do you execute this? By threading digital content, you can produce a more engaging report that will make it easier for the audience to empathize with a more memorable result.

B2C industries were quick to leverage mobile ethnography and now, B2B researchers are ready to take advantage of it. There are certainly more reasons why this type of research approach should be used by those in the B2B industries. Hopefully, the aforementioned items have provided enough insights as to why it’s time to adopt mobile ethnography in today’s fast paced, modern world.