On the move: surveying your mobile user

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Christopher Pam, iPerceptions
Christopher Pam, iPerceptions

As mobile usage continues to grow, it is becoming critical for marketers to understand mobile customers' experiences, intentions and desires. Here are three tips for an effective survey that will give your mobile customers a voice:

1. Realize time is precious. With time at a premium, respondent fatigue occurs faster and survey abandonment times are significantly shorter on mobile vs. traditional platforms. Keep surveys short and to-the-point, placing the most critical questions up front. Don't ask your user for more than one open-ended response. Typing long or detailed answers on a mobile keypad will cause exponential drop-off, and those who do complete it may provide lower quality answers.

2. Optimize for the mobile form. Phone-sized screens should be the primary focus, not tablets, so optimize both the invitation and the survey itself for these smaller resolutions. Survey invitations should only occupy a portion of the screen to avoid being regarded as advertisements, and the invitation text should be reduced to a single sentence. If there is a second stage to an invitation, make sure that the trigger (icon, overlay, etc.) doesn't obstruct the website. The way people answer questions should be considered as well. Single or multi-select questions are best, as they are quick to answer and less likely to exhaust your respondents.

3. Ask mobile-specific questions. General demographic data is something most companies have in spades, so unless a particular demographic criteria is essential for segmenting this specific piece of research, it's best to leave it out. Ask direct questions that clearly relate to the mobile experience, and keep the wording simple. Judge the survey harshly. If the survey isn't appealing to its creator, chances are mobile users will feel the same way.

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