How technology can fuel behavioral research – and enrich your insights

Integrating technologies that enable more comprehensive and contextual ways of conducting research

Transformation in business is not a new theme on its own, but the capacity is certainly different. We are dealing with ever-increasing digitalization, resulting in more data- and information-driven business models. Digital technologies provide new opportunities for companies and transform the way they innovate, operate and serve customers. Virtually every industry is seeing a dramatic transformation. Where Fintech must invest in voice interfaces, digital assistants, and blockchain technology, mobility has become electrified, autonomous, shared, and connected. Even the basic soft drink is reinventing itself to deliver personalization and functional benefits. 


New technologies drive fundamental changes in human behavior and attitudes

Disruptions such as these drive fundamental changes in human behavior and attitudes. Take Tikkie as an example, an innovative banking app that made sharing payments and getting money back from others much easier. The app responded to two trends: people having less and less cash and not knowing their IBAN – and that of friends – by heart anymore. The number of users rose to more than four million at the end of 2018 and other banks decided to integrate the option to do payment requests within their own banking app. This innovation resulted in a behavioral change in how friends split expenses, such as a restaurant bill, as well as attitudinal changes about finances. People now expect to be able to instantly and digitally exchange money with friends and no longer have any reluctance to exposing their financial transactions to other people.

Usage and Attitude (U&A) studies

It is more than critical than ever to understand these changing behaviors and attitudes. To this end, marketers turn to Usage and Attitude (U&A) studies. The U&A is an indispensable tool for understanding consumer behaviors, attitudes, motivations, and profiles and uncovering why people behave the way they do. The information gleaned from U&A studies helps marketers to form brand strategies, optimize their portfolios, fill their innovation pipelines, target acquisitions, and, in general, grow their businesses. Unfortunately, traditional U&As can be weak at capturing today’s disrupted behaviors and attitudes and, as a result, may fail to identify new growth opportunities.


With their lengthy and sometimes tedious survey formats, traditional U&As are out of touch with today’s digitally connected, visually-obsessed and time-deprived consumer. Moreover, traditional U&As are based on recall which is not as optimal as capturing real-time, real-life behavior. It’s like driving backwards while looking through your rearview mirror. When the road is straight, you will get to your destination. But when the road is curvy, it is more difficult to drive because you can’t see all the twists and turns or, in other words, disruptions. 

The potential of new technologies

Fortunately, technologies now exist that enable more comprehensive and contextual ways of conducting research and allow us to follow the new rules of the road. They allow us to capture real behaviors and actions on top of stated responses, uncover consumers’ System 1 reactions besides their System 2 thinking and connect with consumers in-the-moment instead of through recall. To determine the potential of new technologies for delivering more behavior-based insights, Ipsos conducted a pilot U&A study that integrated these new digitalized approaches. The behavioral U&A pilot study focused on automotive mobility, which is quickly moving from traditional mobility (e.g., car ownership and public transportation) to on-demand, autonomous mobility (e.g., app-based ride hailing and autonomous vehicles).

The behavioral U&A research framework

The behavioral U&A research framework - From the Whitepaper ‘How Technology Can Fuel Behavioral Research’. 

Each component of the behavioral U&A contributed a unique set of learnings. Interested in the results? You can read the whitepaper including the detailed learnings here.

Consumer & Shopper