Going Mobile – When to Deploy Mobile Surveys?

Recently I heard the average smartphone user is never more than three feet away from his or her phone. There is no judgment on this, but it does play into our need as consumer and B2B market researchers to expand our thinking on how we deliver surveys to respondents.

Multi-channel research involves leveraging two or more deployment strategies to reach your target audience(s). The adoption of new technologies is driving the need to leverage more than one data collection method. Take social media for example, it can be a powerful tool for reaching certain segments and inviting them to be a part of your research. Other factors driving the trend away from single channel include:

•    Deeper working relationships between marketing research and IT,
•    More sophisticated data collection platforms,
•    A need for rapid reporting (and the subsequent development of dashboard reports for MR results),
•    Increased analysis options brought forth by ‘Big Data’.

Looking forward it is easy to see that certain target groups are better suited to desktop surveys. If you believe your audience prefers “traditional” online studies then flag their records to receive this method only. Conversely, if they are more mobile friendly then invite them via their smartphones. If tradeshows are in your marketing mix then tablet based surveys are the better approach.

A few channel specific notes: online surveys are best suited if your project requires extensive logic, grid questions; higher-order methods such as max-diff or conjoint; or is more than 10 questions. Mobile surveys must be optimized for the typical smartphone user experience. An article in the April 2014 issue of Quirk’s highlights data on completion rates by screen size. Mobile surveys have a significantly lower completion rate than do online surveys (59% vs. 76% for online). Simplify and shorten your survey if you are going mobile.

There was a time when I would not have thought about designing surveys for multiple platforms. Those days are history. We most now take into account the platform we expect respondents to use and tailor our survey to meet it. This shift will also lead us to question the notion there is one survey to rule them all – less visual real estate will likely lead to shorter, more bite-sized surveys – perfect for when we are waiting for latte.

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