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Wake-up call: The people you send your surveys to have got smartphones now – and they use them!


Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

Author Bio

Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 


Author Bio

Tim Macer and Sheila Wilson of Meaning Ltd have been working with us over the last half year on the Confirmit Annual Market Research Software Survey, and are now getting ready to publish the results. One of the things we wanted to understand more of this time was how MR companies are dealing with people that access online surveys from mobile phones.


I have to admit I got quite disappointed by some of the findings, in particular by the MR industry's ignorance in terms of adapting to the realities of the explosive growth in mobile web traffic. Especially since those answering our survey themselves reported a not insignificant portion of their respondents now answering online surveys from mobile devices.
 
The Confirmit MR Software Survey was answered by a sample of senior people from 230 Market Research companies globally. Data collection was done in the last quarter of 2011. 
 
We asked: "Thinking just about your web surveys, what proportion of participants are taking these surveys on small format mobile devices such as smartphones?"
 
On average, the percentage reported by these companies was 6.7%, with some variation; In Europe the figure reported was 5,6%, in North America 6,7% and in Asia Pac it was 9.6%.
 
We wanted to understand what strategy these companies had chosen for dealing with people opening web surveys on smartphones and other mobile devices. I have blogged before about the different choices that could be taken to deal with people accessing web surveys from mobiles. Either you can try to adapt the survey so that it renders well on mobile devices, or you can exclude access from mobile and try to get people to switch to a PC instead to respond (which most probably will mean many of them will just drop it). 
 
Or you can take no position, meaning you just ignore the issue and live with people having a less than satisfactory survey experience. Unfortunately that's still a position held by many Market Research companies:
 
 
I find these numbers really worrying. If you, like 1/3 of our sample, are ignoring the growing percentage of survey-takers that attempt using mobile devices when responding, it is bound to have effects on sample composition. Certain demographics might be more inclined than others to be opening survey links from mobile devices, and if they have a poor experience they will surely be more likely to drop out.
 
Now, there clearly is a need for more research on the effects of the differences in survey experience across various devices. But I would strongly advise against waiting any longer before choosing a strategy. Since people are already attempting to respond to your surveys through their devices, certain effects are in play already. I think you have to take a stand now: Do you adapt surveys to the device people use, or do you block access and ask them to switch to a better suited device? At Confirmit we strongly believe in adapting the survey to the device.
 
There will be more details about this, as well as a number of other interesting topics, in the report from Tim Macer and Sheila Wilson, which will be published in its entirety May 30th, the same day as Tim together with Pat Molloy, Chief Strategy Officer, Confirmit, will present results from the survey at the CASRO Technology Conference in New York.
 


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