Will Mobile MR Surveys Disappear? Are We Using Them Correctly While They’re Here?

By the Editors

According to the 2017 GRIT study, 74% of respondents used mobile surveys in their market research. That’s good news–but are they using these mobile surveys effectively? And will surveys and questionnaires continue to be useful in the future, in the face of new and developing research technologies like facial recognition, virtual reality, AI, and big data analytics?

In this week’s edition of “Around the Web,” we take a look at two Fall 2017 articles on the #NewMR blog:

“Are You up to Speed with Mobile Market Research? Probably Not!”

In this post on the #NewMR blog, the authors discuss the current state of mobile market research, based on data gathered from the 2017 GRIT study. The good news: nearly three-quarters of respondents are currently using mobile surveys, and to a lesser degree, other forms of mobile research (qualitative and ethnography). However, not all researchers are using mobile effectively.

To find out why this is, the authors engaged in a LinkedIn conversation with a number of fellow market researchers. They report that “the general view was that everything that could be mobile friendly or better should be, but that some things could not be mobile friendly.” Some takeaways:

  • Participants had differing views about what types of market research surveys could be made mobile friendly. Many said they reserved certain types of research for personal computers only. These included virtual reality shopping and “tracking studies, anything with large grids, or where long surveys were needed.”
  • Additionally, some researchers who favored personal computer surveys seemed unaware of how this created an unrepresentative sample. Many demographics prefer mobile over PC, however. “In most countries, excluding mobile participants makes your study unrepresentative. You can mask the appearance of this by quota sampling by age, gender, education, income etc – but it does not address the problem (it just makes the problem harder to spot).”

To keep mobile surveys relevant to a wider representation of participants, the post suggests two approaches:

  • Stop using methods that aren’t mobile-friendly (e.g., long surveys and large grids); favor “customer-centric approaches” instead, to avoid the risk of “asking our questions to an every diminishing pool or professional respondents, many of whom will only keep a computer so they earn money doing surveys.”
  • If researchers must use PCs for large screen surveys, be willing to supply computers to participants who may not have access to them, and otherwise provide incentives to demographic groups who prefer mobile (e.g., millennials).

When Will Surveys Disappear?

In this piece, #NewMR crunched data to make current predictions about what percentage of market research in the future will be based on surveys.

Their goal: to see if a forecast made several years ago (that by 2030, surveys will have disappeared) is on-track to become a reality.

“I was predicting the end of the commercial, long survey, and it being replaced with social media listening, online communities, new ways of researching, the use of open-ended questions, and the use of stored information to remove the need to keep asking questions.”

In recent years, #NewMR updated this prediction, drawing upon annual data from the ESOMAR Global Market Research Report. This article extrapolates from these figures to make predictions about the industry’s reliance on market research surveys–as compared to other quantitative and qualitative approaches–over the next 12 years.

The conclusion: long, commercial surveys will steadily decline, but the process will be slow. They also estimate that 20% of market research will be survey-driven in 2029 (as opposed to 63% being “other” approaches like big data analytics, social listening, chat bots, and automated facial recognition).

However, they do predict that commercial research surveys may persist on some level thanks to “improvements by the panel companies, improvements in mobile friendly surveys, and innovative ways of sourcing new research participants.”

To read the first post, about the current state of mobile-friendly surveys, click here. For the second post, which includes predictions about the future of market research surveys, click here.