5 tips to improve your mobile surveys

For this post we’re going to look at mobile surveys and give 5 tips for ensuring your survey is mobile-ready.

Why mobile? Well, the % of online adults accessing the web via a mobile phone has grown from 51% in 2011 to 75% in 2015 according to Global Web Index. And on average Internet users spend 2 hours online via a mobile device every day.*

It is now common for websites to report that more than half of their users are on a smartphone or tablet. For many viral publishers that rely on social media for referrals it can be significantly higher still.

Mobile use has extended into ecommerce too. Global Web Index report 46% of Internet shoppers saying they used a mobile to buy a product in the last month.

It means that wherever you are serving your online survey a large proportion of your respondents will be on mobile devices.

Traditionally-designed surveys can be very difficult to answer on a small touchscreen. There are, however, many ways to get your surveys mobile-ready. Here we discuss our top tips for mobile surveys:

1. Keep it short!

It is always tempting to ask as much as you can of your survey respondents. This is perfectly understandable – you may not know when you’ll get another opportunity to quiz your audience.

Inviting question input from stakeholders can also lead to a flood of unanticipated requirements.

But we all have to remember that it’s better to have motivated respondents giving thoughtful feedback than a high survey abandonment rate and lack of engagement with your questions.

Another thing to remember is that there may also be the potential to split your questionnaire into 2 or more separate surveys run consecutively over a period of time.

2. Opt for simple question types

In any survey tool you are presented with a long list of question types and design options. They will be some that are simply not recommended for mobile surveys.

Grid questions (as per the example shown above) can be very fiddly to answer on a mobile screen. It is far better to break the question into bite-sized sections.

As a general rule of thumb, options presented as a vertical list provide a much better experience for online surveys.

3. Use a mobile-optimised survey tool

Thankfully most online survey tools are now device responsive, meaning that the display adjusts to the size of the screen being used.

Many also allow you to preview your survey on the small screen. It is well worth using this facility to check whether your project passes the mobile survey test.

4. Consult your web analytics

If you have a website or app use your analytics to check when your mobile users spend longest interacting with your platform. You may find that the average session duration varies over the course of the day.

Targeting your survey when your mobile users are most likely to be engaged can yield higher quality survey findings because they are likely to be more willing to give your questions the time they deserve.

5. Consider your recruitment method

As we’ve discussed, online mobile users tend to have shorter attention spans than desktop users. Although pop-up surveys are often necessary to achieve reliable sample sizes, it is worth considering other ways of recruiting mobile respondents.

If you have a good sized email mailing list (we’re talking into the thousands) an email survey invitation can allow your mobile respondents to answer at a time and in a place that suits them. Often this will be in a setting where they are relaxed. Perhaps at home on the sofa, relaxing on a train or during a break at work.

In any case, this type of invitation can ensure that your mobile respondents only start your survey when they know they will have the time available to take part.

Giving some thought to the people taking part in your survey and how they may give feedback can pay real dividends to your online survey findings.

People often talk about building websites for mobile first. Exactly the same is true for surveys. Build your survey for mobile first and you can look forward to engaged and insightful responses!

* Global Web Index: 2 hours on mobile per day