Mobile surveys: advantages, tools and perspectives

Mobile surveys are developing very rapidly; they challenge every data collection and follow-up practices we know. The daily integration of tablet devices, for professional uses as much as personal ones, brings research specialists to question their own approach.

The mobile survey: beyond the trends lie the advantages

“Vue” Magazine, March 2013

Mobility is definitely the rising star in the world of technology and communications. ABI Research, the international research company, declared that 2013 was the “year of the tablet”. More than 145 million units should be sold across the world, 20% of which will be used professionally.

Research companies are thus adapting and integrating mobile surveys in their strategies.

The mobile survey: beyond the trends lie the advantages

In the field of market studies and opinion surveys, specialists are continually looking for new ways to increase the response rates of participants. Since the use of mobile devices is more and more popular, polling firms are increasingly resorting to mobile surveys. And with good reason; the benefits abound:

  • A significant drop in production costs
  • Data that is collected and treated in real time
  • A special link is created between interviewer and interviewee during face-to-face surveys
  • A higher response rate due to the flexibility offered to the respondents
  • Mobile devices’ capacity to collect information (geolocation, camera, audio/video recording, etc.).

Data thus collected can be used immediately, without having to go through data transfers and entries. In short, mobile surveys bring the respondents closer to the polling firms (and their clients).

Which is the best mobile survey solution?

There are many mobile survey solutions: the survey software or the mobile survey application, to name but two. Actually, one has to know how to choose the solution that best matches the pollster’s needs.

Here are 3 mobile survey tools that are often used:

  • Software that is connected to Internet
  • Customized software
  • Dedicated applications (app)

In some cases, firms even choose to develop their own pilot projects. Here are 5 points to validate the solution:

  • Has it existed for a while? Is it a beta version?
  • Can it operate on the main tablets and smartphones?
  • Is it specifically conceived for mobile devices?
  • Does it allow for simple and easy updates?
  • Does it offer a demo version that can be tested?

It is important to keep in mind that the best tool will give the best results if it is selected judiciously and according to one’s specific needs.

What is the future of mobile surveys?

The trends prove it: the advent of mobility is revolutionizing the way face-to-face surveys are approached. Research firms are adjusting their strategic position by diversifying their services and integrating new technologies. In a nutshell, they’re all trying to answer one question: “Which communication tools will better hit a precise target in a given place?”

What can we expect for the coming years? How will the manners in which we approach surveys change?

“In the near future, tablets will become the main device in our profession. They will completely replace laptops for face to face surveys and establish itself for all types of panel”, said David Lacan, Director of mobile solutions at Voxco.

However, to take advantage of this effervescence, we will have to monitor certain critical points closely. One of them being platform compatibility; we are speaking here of an attention to the compatibility of mobile survey tools rather than the processes.

“To meet that challenge, compatible solutions will have to be proposed on as many terminals as possible. The mobile Web is thus very relevant in some cases”, adds Mr. Lacan.

Another significant challenge will be to effectively analyze data stemming from such a variety of sources.

The true challenge of the years to come is not to be found in the means of implementation to obtain information, but rather in learning to analyze data that stems from multiple channels“, explains Michel Saulnier, outgoing president of MRIA’s Quebec Chapter and Voxco consultant.

The future of mobile surveys is flourishing. Still embryonic, it is a solution that will prove beneficial to groups of individuals and professionals, whether interviewers or interviewees.

To learn more about mobility in 2013:

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Posted by Eric Perreault

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