How Beauty Brands use Mobile Diary Studies to capture in-the-moment consumer insights

Our Instagram and Snapchat feeds are increasingly awash with filtered selfies from friends, influencers and celebrities. Digital by default, social to the core and selfied in the extreme, the next wave of health and beauty consumers are a truly digital demographic. If brands want to be relevant to this wave of consumers, they must evolve beyond traditional research methodologies. They must think mobile first.

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Getting under the skin of beauty rituals and routines

In an era where posting cosmetic tutorials and reviews are becoming almost second nature, Mobile Diaries enable researchers to lift the veil on consumers everyday beauty rituals, shed light on their in-the-moment behaviors and get a deeper understanding of brand loyalties and attitudes.

Video Diary Studies in particular allow Skincare Brands to engage respondents, in the comfort of their own homes, and capture media rich, authentic, in-the-moment insights in a user friendly and familiar manner that is impossible using traditional approaches.

Skincare and grooming routines are habitual activities and very personal affairs. For some, a splash of water in the morning will do the trick. For others, a select range of products, carefully interwoven into a well thought out step-by-step regime – to be followed religiously – is necessary before ever thinking about walking out the door.

Consumers develop strong brand loyalty and associations with their favorite products and will repurchase holy grail products that make them look and feel good – no matter the cost.

Using mobile diary studies to capture these everyday routines and rituals helps Skincare Brands discover authentic, consumer attitudes and behaviors. Health and beauty brands can see what products consumers use, how they use them and why. Media rich, in the moment videos and photos shared from the respondent’s bedroom, bathroom or even their car give brands unparalleled insights into the lives of their consumers.

Leveraging established mobile and social behaviors

With mobile phones rapidly becoming digital extensions of ourselves and with the explosion of YouTubers, vlogging and self-diarying is becoming a part of everyday life. Supplementing your research with a social networking style Mobile Diary Study App allows respondents to capture every moment as it happens ensuring that subtle behaviors and rituals are vividly captured before they are forgotten. Capturing these mirco moments enables brands to observe behaviors that might never be recalled in a focus group or in-depth interview.

Using Mobile Diaries to uncover how consumers experience Skincare Brands and Products in their everyday lives, is the first step in truly understanding what triggers and motivates them. Giving respondents the flexibility to post a photo with a caption or a selfie video, whatever they think captures the moment best, helps ensure you receive media rich responses.

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Mobile Diary Study task design

The most successful Mobile Diary Study research projects we have supported involve a mixture of repetitive beauty diary tasks interspersed with one-off activities to maximise respondent engagement and minimise churn.

Starting your mobile diary study off with an introduction video selfie task that is designed to the get respondent to both introduce themselves and answer specific beauty related questions can be a powerful way to help you further segment respondents.

A simple selfie video task that asks them to more broadly discuss what is important to them in their everyday lives can be a rich source of insights. Understanding what their hobbies are or what they do for work are simple questions for the respondents to answer but can give Skincare Brands insights on how to target this segment later on.

Another powerful task is to ask respondents to record a video as they walk you through their bedrooms or bathrooms and show you what products they use at their beauty stations. By getting them to pick up each product and talk about it, you get a deep understanding of the role each product plays and how they really feel about it.

Indeemo cosmetics tasklist

Daily beauty moment diary

Daily diaries are a powerful way to truly get to know what makes respondents tick. With one off tasks, respondents might be able to portray a version of themselves that they want you to see. However, asking them to repeat the same task daily over 5-7 days ensures that respondents have time to “get real” and over time you get to truly understand what a week in their life really looks like.

The best diary tasks are short, simple to understand and easy to repeat. By recording themselves completing their morning and evening skincare routines and talking you through the products they use, how they discovered them and why they use them, respondents share intimate honest moments and insights with you. Because they are sharing from a private space with no researcher present, respondents quickly become comfortable in front of the camera and let their thoughts flow.

Supplementing these open ended tasks with more targeted one-off tasks such as shopping missions, asking respondents to screen shot social media or influencers that they most admire can provide a fun and engaging variety that keeps respondents engaged for longer.

Researcher comments and push notifications allow researchers to probe topics of particular interest to health and beauty brands. If focusing on aging, skin pigmentation or problem skin, ask respondents what pictures come to mind when they think of their particular condition. By asking them to take pictures accompanied by captions whenever they see something that they associate with their skin concern, positive or negative, over the duration of the diary, they are providing you with rich insights on their skincare moments as and when they occur.

Discovering consumer attitudes to Skincare, Brands and Products

To establish the importance of Skincare Products and Brands and the relationship respondents have with each, consider setting tasks for respondents where they imagine a life without their trusted products. If a product was taken away from them for a day, what would they miss and why? How would it make them feel? Get them to describe that feeling by sharing videos or photos that capture these emotions.

Over the duration of the diary study, there can be daily tasks that the respondent can revisit whenever the occasion calls for it. Perhaps they catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror and recognize flaws. How does this make them feel? How often do these moments arise? Does it affect them for the rest of the day? When sharing these intimate moments, over time, respondents become near confessional and reveal their true thoughts and feelings allowing you to get closer than ever before.

With the addition of a reflection task on the last day of your mobile diary study, respondents can look back over responses posted during the week and revisit moments that they may have forgotten. These reflection videos and provide additional depth and perspective and enable respondents to discover things about themselves that might not have even been obvious to them during the course of the diary study.

Be flexible, have fun, keep it real!

The most engaged mobile diary studies we have supported entrust respondents with the flexibility to chose whether they respond to tasks with videos, photos or text. This allows them to focus on capturing the moment in an authentic manner and get on with their day.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and mix it up! Add your own selfie videos to tasks to introduce yourself to the respondents. Share some of your tips and tricks. Assigning tasks to respondents that show them your personality and which are fun to complete can have a huge impact on engagement and completion rates. Earning respondents trust by being yourself and not “faceless researcher in a white lab coat” will quick build trust resulting in more intimate feelings and behaviors being captured.

Get closer than ever before

With a well designed series of tasks that are aligned with the routines of respondents, brands can get closer to the everyday moments that really matter to their consumers.

Indeemo dashboard cosmetics

By designing a low friction, fun and engaging mobile diary study, Respondents quickly build momentum and bring you into their lives in a media rich manner that enables you to understand them at a deeper level that ever possible with traditional research methodologies.


Contact Us

Mobile Diary Studies are a cost effective, non invasive way to get a deeper understanding of your customers everyday behaviors and needs.

Diary Study projects can range from a few days to as long as a year but typically last 1 to 2 weeks.

Our customers consistently remark on the richness of the data they capture, particularly using video. No other methodology has the power to transport you into the everyday context of consumers in such a frictionless and cost effective way.

If you’d like to chat through your project and hear some suggestions about how we Diary Studies can compliment your research, please submit your details here and we will get back to you ASAP.

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