Pros and cons of app vs web for mobile surveys

in Survey tips
on Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 11:09

Do you need a survey app for mobile market research or will a web-based solution be good enough? The long answer? "It depends."

The short answer: apps for depth, web for reach. Alistair Hill covers the the pros and cons of both approaches in just 3 minutes.

We recorded this interview ahead of the Market Research Summit that is going on in London right now and Alistair is debating the topic with Richard Owen from Crowdlab. If you can't be there yourself then follow #theMRsummit on Twitter.

Prior to the debate Alistair had this to say on app vs web in mobile surveys:

The crux of the argument is that neither is the ultimate solution. Both have a fantastic role to play in market research.

Apps are great for longitudinal studies, where you need the same person to do things over and over again because the usability can be greater.

The ability to access the native functionality of the phones is another advantage. So you can do things like uploading videos or photos, you can do clever location-based things like geo-targeting of people. These are real exciting pros of mobile survey apps.

However, on the flip side, not everybody has a smartphone (apps only work in smartphones).

Smartphone and featurephone penetration Smartphone vs feature phone penetration in the US, UK, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, India and Indonesia. Source: Buzzcity, On Device Research

If you're trying to access consumers in emerging markets, mobile-only audiences in say Indonesia or Africa, or for that matter different demographics of lower income in the UK, then you'd find it very difficult to get them to use a mobile app to take the survey.

There's also a practical reason as well - if you have 3 people who have decided that they want to take part in the study, because you have to get these people to download the app, you actually lose 2 of them in the process. You need 3 people to get 1 who completes the survey.

So if you're doing a study of hard-to-reach people then it's actually pretty tricky to get those people to take a survey in the application.

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