It’s A Little Bit Funny, These Numbers Inside…

In the latest study, it has been found that the benchmark has been surpassed and there now seem to be a higher frequency in studies than there are new Apps added to App stores and new technologies combined. 100% of our broad sampling of one person confirms this belief. The amount of studies that are being released by companies are barely able to cover the fact that they are being used as marketing tools for the companies who are publishing them. They are clearly not scientific, but many of them get picked up and reported on or posted and those numbers become the fodder for some other person to make a point with supposed figures behind it.  Clearly, not all studies fall under this marketing format, but some are just plain silly. The funny thing is that it is not clear whether it is more important to have numbers support something in the market or something that does not even exist.

In the latest case of absurdity, the mobile ad network, InMobi, released a study on Friday that measured people’s interest in the new iPad3.  Remember that, as of this writing, Apple has not officially announced anything about the product.  They won’t even admit that it is coming to market.  Everything about it has been conjecture and rumor.  The only technical advances anyone can be “sure” of is a higher processor speed and a sharper screen, but its all conjecture.  Both of these are wonky specs because our relationship to them is abstract.  We don’t know exactly how they will make things better, we just believe they will.  It’s not like when the tablets added a camera – where we knew precisely what that meant.  We can’t really tell what a faster processor will mean – and most people may never appreciate what the faster processing means even when they have it.

So, back to the InMobi study, where they sampled 689 US mobile users across both Android and iOS.  From this sampling, they derived the model that nearly 1/3 of all mobile users intend to buy the iPad3.  But, if the price of the previous iPad models are cheaper, 65% would buy those. And, 57% of the respondents would buy an older version if the iPad costs more than $599.

There were a lot of other intent to purchase and choice numbers that were all over the place with less and less meaning. The one that made me really laugh is the fact that, when asked what feature they most looked forward to in the newest model, faster processor, stronger battery, higher-quality screen and 4G connectivity.  The laugh came from the fact that processor and screen advances are the largest rumors about the new iPad, and the fact that there could be so many features that we don’t yet know about.  One of Apple’s strengths is in their keen ability to present features most people have not even known they wanted.  In fact, the very idea of an iPad was considered to be a toy – but it is now the device that most people want as more than a toy (even shown in this study where only 51% of respondents saw it as more for entertainment than education and business.

With al of the studies that come out and the relative loss of meaning that each iteration may bring, is it time for us to cut down on them?  Possibly. But, we’re probably best served for understanding them and treating them for what they are – snapshots into sentiment. In much the same way as polling is taken with a grain of salt in politics or purchasing, these surveys need to be taken with the same grain of salt. 

With that being said, hopefully the pendulum will swing back to samples being a significant size and the findings being more scientific.  Until then, the noise from those surveys will become more of a dull droning noise that cause nobody to look inside and see what’s real and what just marketing.

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