Orkan Dolay – Managing Director of respondi France – was interviewed by Marketing Magazine on the topic of mobile surveys.
MM: When did you start to use mobile phones as a tool for surveys?
OD: In 2008, we began conducting online questionnaires through smartphones in Germany. We have the technical know-how to adapt the questionnaires to the size of a smartphone display. Once we had identified the panelists who own a smartphone, we then made sure they agreed to take part in surveys on their mobile phones. Since 2008, we have executed several in-house studies using this survey method and implemented diverse projects for external customers
MM: What are the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones?
OD:This equipment offers two fundamental advantages. Firstly, the users always have their smartphones handy. Therefore, one can always access information, as long as it remains relevant. This advantage can be used to measure the effects of advertising during and after a certain event.
The second advantage: smartphones interact with the „real „world in several ways (camera, geo-localization, Bluetooth). It is also possible to collect „non-declarative „information and combine it with that which is declarative.
Both these characteristics present a revolutionary advantage to generate insights.
However, it is clear that the demand for representativeness is the main barrier for survey managers using this questionnaire method (the minority of the population owns a smartphone). We are currently experiencing a democratisation of this new generation of telephones, whereby, in the meantime certain target groups can be interviewed. However, I do not think that mobile online surveys will one day replace “stationary” questionnaires. The main obstacle is that, 20-25 minute long questionnaires cannot be carried out on mobile telephones, as they are not ergonomic and the test person is exposed to too many stimuli- they get distracted.
MM : Finally, do you believe in the future of studies through mobile telephones?
OD:Mobile surveys have much evolution potential for the design of studies, above all with respects to the involvement of test persons. Here, it does not concern a medium which one can apply to traditional questionnaires, it is rather a real “networked tool” which makes it possible to keep in touch with the test persons – continually and periodically re-contacting. The London School of Economics is currently carrying out a project which is interesting as far as the research into mobile surveys is concerned – Project Mappiness. The test persons are asked to download an application through which they can regularly communicate their mood and state what they are doing. This data is then combined with their GPS data.
It remains the job of the project managers and institutes to conceive new generations of study designs and to exploit this potential and expand their surveys. For our part, we should support the field service manager with both the technology and the participant involvement.