In an age where data is the hottest commodity around and events are the best place to capture it, it only makes sense you should be sourcing the highest quality data capture methods possible... Right?

Informed decisions

Now we’ve spoken to no end about the cons of relying on event supplied data capture methods. Dated hardware, limited/ pre-determined data and delayed access to it are just a few of the issues.

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But we’ve also been hearing a lot recently about browser-based data capture. Now whilst we encourage brands to source their own data capture methods, we want to make sure companies are making the most informed decisions they can.

So, we’re laying out the similarities and distinct differences between app-based and browser-based data capture methods.

The app vs browser debate

One of the key differences between app and browser data capture is price. Browser-based systems typically, but not all, tend to be free.

Now, this may be the only difference you need to make your decision but it’s crucial to understand that at this price (or lack thereof) you can be sacrificing a lot of features/ functionality.

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Browser-based data capture solutions

Now what browser-based systems offer is an easy to use form building solution, with rudimentary customisation and limited functionality. However, some systems such as Google forms have a lot of infrastructure that comes with it.

For example, their forms come integrated with Google Sheets, giving you a spreadsheet view of the data you’ve collected with minimal action on your part.

However, there are limitations with how much data can be uploaded. For example, Google Sheets only accepts:

  • Up to 500kb in text
  • 2mb in images
  • 256 cells per spreadsheet

This coupled along with a required internet connection hugely limits the possibilities and opportunities in which you can establish your brand. Data capture events often attract large groups of people and being confined to these restrictions can hurt the validity of your data sets.

These types of solutions offer the most advantages to ‘causal data capture situations’ consisting of small one-man teams. With low volumes and low average order values, free browser-based solutions are more likely to deliver on event ROI for small scale uses.

App-based solutions

What big businesses in high-stress situations might require can’t be fulfilled by browser-based systems. Having an internet connection as a requirement, which any exhibitor will know from experience just cannot be guaranteed, is the biggest issue.

The ability to capture data offline in-app solutions immediately opens up a multitude of opportunities that otherwise would not be available. Being able to capture data with confidence knowing that no matter where you are your CRM will eventually be filled with the data you collect.

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In-app data capture allows you to customise what data you need to collect and customise the user experience. From dictating the amount and exactly what fields are mandatory, a completely bespoke look like branding i.e. colours/ logos to collecting as little or as much data as you want.

Browser-Based Data Capture

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Quick to implement
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Typically requires an internet connection to reliably collect data
  • Limited set up available
  • More responsibility on you to keep and store data securely and compliantly
  • Less control over user experience
  • Less control over branding

App-Based Data Capture

Pros

  • Customise what data you collect
  • Use data validation to ensure accurate data
  • Trusted to collect data without Wifi
  • Customise the look and feel of the app
  • Create a great user experienceby hiding inapplicable questions
  • Integrate with your CRM or get data by excel with immediacy
  • Link personalised post-capture emails to keep leads warm
  • No specialised hardware needed– compatible with Apple and Android mobile devices
  • Data is collected, stored and transferred with GDPR compliance assured

Cons

  • Costs more than browser solutions (depending on number of devices and level of customisation)
  • Can take time to receive (Custom setups with integrations etc. will not be as immediate as browser forms)
  • May require training for staff to effectively use in field

What’s right for me?

The conclusion that we draw from this is that each solution offers its own application benefits. Browser-based data capture methods will often service smaller one-man teams looking for quick insights and quick integration with their data.

Whereas bigger enterprise companies will definitely see greater benefits with the more bespoke, tailored solution that comes with getting an app-based data capture method.

If you’re interested in sourcing your own data capture methods take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped our clients achieve their goals through app-based data capture.

Take the first step towards valuable data

With our Data Capture app and Data services team on offer we provide all the tools necessary to unlock the value in your customer data

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