The biggest barriers to adoption for mobile research

in Mobile research news
on Monday March 23, 2015 @ 4:33

What's stopping you from doing mobile research?

We've been in the mobile research game for 5 years now and while we've grown sizeably (now with 3 global offices) we're still striving to take mobile research mainstream. Throwing the question over to our audience at MRMW Singapore, we asked our fellow researchers what they felt were the biggest barriers for mobile research.

Martin MRMW 2015 Singapore


Yes, really! Our audience felt that unfamiliarity with mobile research was their biggest barrier to adoption (40% of panelists). With new market research methodologies appearing quicker than ever before, it's understandable that there is a much shorter time to get to grips with this latest form of research. There even less opportunity to overcome any barriers to adoption of mobile research as the market research landscape is growing so rapidly.

We highly recommend starting with The Handbook of Mobile Market Research, pooling the knowledge of some of the industry's best. Other great places to start brushing up on your knowledge of mobile research are the Esomar and MMRA websites. And of course, us! We even have a section of our blog called survey tips and a YouTube channel for those who are more video inclined.

Length of interview (LOI)

36% of our audience said that LOI was of concern to them. With mobile naturally being a much smaller screen size than desktop this means that you may be limited to one question per page, and also need to streamline your question and answer options to fit onto a mobile screen.

Here's an example of how a mobile-friendly question looks on both a smartphone and feature phone:

smartphone feature phone mobile survey

What is an optimal length of interview for mobile?

Each question can feel increasingly more taxing for a respondent, which requires you to be smarter about avoiding respondent fatigue when designing your research. We typically measure LOI in terms of survey questions, but to put it into perspective we have found LOI should be roughly 7-10 mins - or 20 questions. While we've found 20 question surveys to be optimal on mobile, we think it is possible to ask slightly longer surveys.

We're currently running some research-on-research to really push survey length to its limits and hopefully understand fully what is possible on mobile. The report will be out next month, don't forget to sign up to our newsletter to be the first to receive the data!

Sample skew

One of the biggest worries our audience had was that mobile research wouldn't be representative of the market population. Especially in emerging markets, the concern is that only the richest can afford devices which they can take surveys on. Through our unique sampling approach and by reaching feature phone users, it's possible to target respondents by multiple demographics and profile criteria, including those of lower income classes.

For example, we've found that we can successfully reach a wide breadth of social grade tiers in South Africa. Being able to reach feature phone users as well as creating feature phone friendly surveys with low data usage, has really enabled us to reach some of the most rural, and often poorest of communities.

South Africa demographic comparison census mobile research

As a mobile market research company, something that really stands out to us is that there is a general lack of awareness about mobile research. The potential for mobile research is growing everyday, whether this is through technological advancements, improved network infrastructure or uptake in device ownership. One thing that is clear is that mobile research really has opened doors for research in general, and to emerging markets in particular. Take a look at this research project we ran in Myanmar recently, the first of its kind!

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