How To Use Mobile Surveys for Market Research

Ray Beharry

May 04, 20163 min read
Mobile Surveys for Market Research

The most common marketing advice is “know your audience.” If that’s the stepping stone for any good campaign, the next logical question becomes “How do I get to know my audience?”

The core of market research is to help the modern marketer make informed business decisions and develop messaging to the best target audience. It predicts and drives marketing strategy, allowing brands to follow the advice of Craig Davis when he said: 

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.

— Craig Davis

Market research was once a tool solely for large corporations with big budgets. But advances in technology now make it possible for small enterprises and individual entrepreneurs to use market research to save time and money.

And because users spend more time on mobile than on desktop, it’s imperative to reach them in that medium. The current approach to mobile marketing is to assume it’s just another channel for existing advertisements. As a result, there is a deluge of ads, which is just not what people want – the addition of ad blockers in recent iOS and OSX systems renders them less effective. Instead, consumers want personalized content that solves a problem or makes them laugh.

How do you discern what content your audience really wants? It used to be through retrospective split testing, but that really only tells you which one of your guesses worked best. Alternatively, using surveys for market research will help you understand that before you spend any time or money creating content, offers, messaging, or even products and services.

Mobile Is the Winning Platform for Market Research

Surveys have been around for ages, and a general pen-and-paper survey or even a desktop online survey won’t cut it anymore. Why would you use an old medium – like landlines or even desktops – to find out what people want on their mobile devices? It seems silly to call consumers on their landlines to ask them what their in-app mobile device preferences are. The world is all about mobile these days; taking any other route would be counterproductive.

That’s what makes mobile surveys so powerful; people are already on their phones. So it’s the perfect time to ask them what they want to experienceon those phones. Here are five tips to do that:

1. Consider the entire mobile experience. Mobile experiences aren’t only about beyond screen size. Consider the types of actions users will take: scroll or swipe? Tap or type? Does your survey require a two-handed task to enter information, or can the user flow through it with just thumb movements? Designing your survey around these expectations will create an experience that’s engaging to the end user.

2. Focus on optimizing for mobile vs. catering to all channels. When you create mobile surveys, remember that “ mobile-optimized” is different than “mobile-friendly.” There are many elements to consider, and you can’t just reformat your online desktop survey for a mobile device.

3. Keep it brief. The mobile user is pressed for time. No one wants to take a six-minute survey. In fact, the best surveys take less than two minutes. Keep the number of questions short, and the answer options even shorter.

4. Make it engaging (but not onerous). Use images and videos to keep a user’s attention, but make sure the content doesn’t take up a lot of bandwidth, screen space, or time to understand the concept. If any single piece takes too long, the user will quit taking the survey and move on to something else.

5. Test your survey out before you send it. Is this a survey you would stop and take? If you aren’t willing to take it, users who aren’t invested in your idea definitely won’t be. Well-designed platforms enable you to preview the survey and take it like a user would. You should also be able to share a preview link with others so you can get unbiased feedback about the overall flow and experience.

Because anyone can have an online presence and a voice, the modern marketer is faced with the enormous challenge of trying to be seen and heard in a cluttered space. The success of any business hinges on product-market fit, and business opportunities can be revealed through relevant, meaningful market research. If you use the five tips mentioned above, you’ll find out exactly what your customers want, where they want it, and how they want it – directly on their mobile devices.

Author Photo
Ray BeharryRay Beharry is an accomplished leader with a passion for providing and marketing technologies that engage, enrich, and empower others. Ray’s areas of expertise collide in his position as head of marketing at Pollfish, a company whose online survey tool helps businesses make educated decisions by providing relevant, meaningful, and customizable consumer opinion data in real time. He also serves as an adjunct instructor of marketing at New York University, is a mentor at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s startup incubator, and is a board member of the MMRA.
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