Mobile Surveys and the Market Research Industry

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95% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone. 90% of those mobile phones are internet ready. What is the market research industry’s response to this juggernaut?

94% of market research firms are offering online services.One of these online services is mobile surveys. Adi Bhat, Global VP of Sales and marketing at QuestionPro, offers up these seven reason why this technology is a crucial ally for market researchers:


You can take the survey anywhere at anytime. Because of the restrictions in the size of the phone and people’s attention spans the research is “short and succinct.”


Survey fatigue is one of the greatest problems for market researchers. The ease with which one can participate in a mobile phone survey induces the most reluctant subjects to just do it.


There is no middleman – no interviewer, no mall intercept human to add their biases. Mobile surveys collect in-the-moment data directly from the participant in their own habitat.

Gets Around

It is becoming the only way to reach participants. It allows for easy integration and dissemination of information as well.


Getting a more immediate, in-the-moment, truer consumer reaction to an experience, without the degradation of memory or inaccurate recollection, enhances the quality of the data.


Market researchers can collect user generated content directly from their devices as well as geolocation data. Information that is obtained outside of the survey.


User generated information gathered in small bits of data in a succession of interactions lends itself to increased accuracy of the collected data. Incrementally better data translates to better behavior prediction – golden results for market researchers.

Another way market researchers are using mobile is app based research. Survey Sampling, Inc. reports that the “expansion of ownership, advancements in mobile device technology and ubiquitous dependence on smartphone apps have created mobile first market research.” App based research has many of the advantages listed above for general mobile survey research but a few added advantages:


Guarantees a Controlled and Optimized Mobile Research Experience

Trying to develop a device-agnostic survey and deploying it equally to all participants is a challenge. Using an app to develop and deliver a controlled survey environment without any logistical frustrations or access delays is a better experience for the participant and more results for the market researchers.

Expands the Research Format

App based research allows the use of media-rich features like video and audio enhancing the experience of the participant and the message of the client.

Strengthens the Consumer to Brand Relationship

Consumers are more willing to share their information in exchange for benefits like coupons, discounts or other monetary awards. Checking in with their brand through their app, as long as the app takes a non-invasive approach and rewards participants for their time, can strengthen the brand relationship.

Guidelines for Mobile Research

Esomar, the Global Research Business Network, publishes guidelines on mobile research. They emphasize your mobile program should consider the protection of confidentiality and sensitive data, distinguishing between research and non-research information and the notification, honesty, consent and voluntary nature of research. They establish guidelines for the use of photographs and recordings, in-store tracking, mystery shopping and passive data collection. Insure your research is ethical and legal by reviewing it against these public guidelines.

Interested in opportunities in market research? Contact Smith Hanley Associates‘ Market Research Practice Lead, Lindsey Bartlett, at lbartlett@smithhanley.com or 312.589-7586.

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