From FGI Labs: Survey Research on Your Mobile or Smartphone


As part of our ongoing innovation efforts, we are constantly testing new and promising market research technologies, platforms, methods, and tools. We call this testing ground FGI Labs.

Our most recent lab topic is mobile market research.  In addition to rigorously testing the potential pitfalls of response bias from mobile respondents vs. personal computer respondents, we are testing consumer preferences for surveys on mobile and Smartphones.

This development is likely unsurprising to anyone following recent trends on the popularity of Smartphones. In fact, the number of US Smartphone subscribers surpassed the 100-million mark in January 2012, up 13 percent since October 2011 (according to comScore’s MobiLens Report: January 2012 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share).

For our clients, this means that mobile surveys have serious potential, as that’s where their customers already are.  Mobile technology allows consumers to take surveys anytime and anywhere, even while buying your product or visiting your store (gaining location-based feedback and top-of-mind reactions).

Not sure if your customers are on board? Consider this: 43 percent of our SmartPanelists (representing consumers all across the country in all demographics) said they would be willing to download a mobile app that detects location based on their Smartphone’s GPS in order to respond to a survey invitation when visiting a certain retailer. This number will continue to grow as more mobile opportunities are offered.

Best practices

But not all types of surveys and situations are right for mobile. Through our testing and research, we’ve uncovered the following best practices and challenges in mobile research.

5 main challenges: getting the right sample segment, finding the appropriate mobile mode, determining the type of survey to conduct, and creating the best-fit questionnaire.

What’s working: short text based surveys (sensitivity to respondent tolerance), image/video uploads, simple surveys, and survey apps (beware of download tolerance).

What’s not working: long surveys (more than 20 questions), complex question types, failing to alert respondents to privacy/security issues, and insensitivity to personal nature of cell phones.

Where to start: determine what business opportunity a quick mobile survey might present (or question it solves) and poll your customers on their willingness to participate via Smartphone.

We are looking for a research partner to help us continue investigating mobile research. If your business has an opportunity that might be the right fit, schedule a call with my colleague Andy Smith, business development manager.

About The Author

Rick Reed

Rick Reed, Project Manager, has been in the Market Research industry for 20 years, working with Fortune 500 clients in the CPG, Retail, Healthcare, Financial and Technology industries. He has been with FGI for 4 years as a Project Manager and is charged with keeping projects within scope, timeline and budget. He has a B.B.A from the University of Toledo with a major in Marketing.