What is Mobile Ethnography and Why Researchers Should Use it

mobile ethnography

According to Bronislaw Malinowski, who is recognized as the founder of social anthropology, the successful ethnographer must attempt “to grasp the native’s point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world.”

Little did Malinowski know that ethnography would play a major role in market research. Beginning with strategies such as in-person interviews, focus groups, photographs, and more, the business world has attempted to collect insights ethnographically.

The World Has Gone Mobile – And So Has Ethnography

Now, with the growth of technology and mobile market research, exciting new opportunities have emerged. No longer does the researcher need to conduct an in-person interview, or intrude on the home of the consumer. A variety of mobile ethnography techniques allow brands to analyze the consumer in an intimate yet unobtrusive setting. From simply asking respondents to snap a picture using their smartphone, to leveraging location check-in services, the researcher can now gain deep consumer insights easier than ever.

Both the researcher and consumer-respondent benefit from these mobile market research techniques. For the researcher, these practices provide a cost-effective way to gain deep and meaningful insights. These practices yield more honest, natural, and immediate feedback from consumers. The consumer-respondent feels more comfortable providing feedback without the external pressures of traditional ethnographic research methods.

Since the early 1900s, to “grasp the native’s point of view”, has been the goal of ethnography. Mobile ethnography is today’s answer for market researchers.

Interested in learning more about mobile ethnography? Contact the My-Take team and speak to one of our co-founders to understand how we can help your brand. 


Schedule a Demo 


My-Take is a greater Boston based insight and marketing technology company that helps companies make smarter decisions and market more effectively through powerful online communities and panels.

Learn more about us >