Polaris Marketing Research

May 2012

Do It Yourself Webinar

DIY Webinar

One of our great Research LifeLine ™ resources is our DIY Online Research Webinar. From sampling, to question design, it's full of great information for anyone who wants to DIY marketing research!


Upcoming Events

June 26-27, 2012
St. Louis, MO


Advanced Social Media


Advanced Social Media is for the marketer who already has a social media program in place and is looking to take their social media success to the next level. This AMA workshop will help you turn your followers into fans, your fans into advocates and your advocates into influencers and purchasers who are not just engaging online but energizing your bottom line. You’ll learn advanced strategies and tactics for reaching influencers and building a long-lasting online community around your organization using the best practices in social media.



June 13-14, 2012

Chicago, IL


CASRO Management Conference


The CASRO Management Conference provides an excellent forum for senior leaders and team managers at research companies, technology partners, and data collection providers to learn and share ideas on how to better lead and manage their companies.



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Best Practices for Designing Mobile Surveys

By Danica Kwon, Data Analyst, Polaris Marketing Research

As marketing researchers, we are in an industry that not only delivers data but serves as a guide for businesses in both strategic and opportunistic directions. And in order for us to deliver the best results, we have to use the right tools and technology. The latest tool in the survey methodology toolkit is mobile surveying. Mobile technology is already important in marketing and advertising, and now is making way into the research arena at a fast pace.

However, once mobile surveying is selected as the survey method, the challenge lies in the survey design. Here are 5 Best Practices for Designing Mobile Surveys:

  1. Survey Length -- Keep it short. Mobile surveys should be shorter in length than other surveys due to a smaller screen size. The longer your survey the smaller the text and more time it will take to complete (results in more survey dropouts, and potentially biased results).
  2. Branding -- Just because a survey is conducted on a mobile phone does not mean it can’t be branded. Almost all smart phones and some feature phones support XHTML or HTML. There should be a design element that is implemented in a mobile survey that enhances the survey sponsor’s brand -- such as a company email address, copyrights, and/or privacy policy in the survey footer.
  3. Supported Question Types -- Smart phones have the capability of supporting various types of question types. However, if you are not sure if all your respondents use smart phones you should stick to the four basic question types -- radio button, checkbox, drop down, and open end.
  4. Use of Open Ends -- Depends on the survey sample and project objective. Mobile usage has boomed across all age groups, but the younger generation is the most active and comfortable when it comes to texting or browsing on mobile devices (e.g., netbooks, tablets, smart phones). Open ended questions can give rich data, but only if it is appropriate and comfortable for the respondent. So consider open-ends on a project to project basis as they are more prone to errors in response and interpretation.
  5. Table Structure -- Tables should be used with caution or (better) not used at all. Many phones can only support a single question per screen, so it’s not possible to display more than one row. Newer smart phones can display tables, but the user would have to scroll horizontally and vertically, which is not recommended (even for web surveys). Longer tables should be broken into separate questions or, if you still want to use a table, it should be broken into subsets.

Use these best practices as a guide when designing or asking a marketing research company about its mobile survey capabilities. Just keep in mind when choosing a survey method the objective is to create a friendly user experience for the respondent.


Danica Kwon is a Data Analyst in the analytics department at Polaris Marketing Research Inc., where she handles a variety of data manipulation tasks involved in survey research. She graduated from Georgia State University with a BA in Sociology.