Mobile technology is not only the future of marketing, but also its immediate present. Effective modern marketing requires both an analytical approach to evaluate what consumers really want and mobile execution strategies to deliver content whenever and wherever they want it.

The mobile user base is colossal and is only expected to continue growing. Nearly 6 in 10 people in the U.S. use their cellphones as their primary means of communication. What’s more, more than half of the planet’s population will have access to the internet by the end of this year, largely thanks to smartphone technology.

With so many mobile users across all age groups, why would you try to reach people any other way? The real question is: How can you most effectively gather the information you need to fuel a strategy that will reach this audience? In many cases, mobile surveys are the solution. People are more likely to respond to online surveys on mobile than on desktop computers because they can complete them from anywhere. And mobile technology can provide more accurate data through features like geolocation to better inform your mobile strategies.

Creating a Mobile Survey

When building a mobile survey, you need to answer a few basic questions:

  • Where do prospects spend their time?
  • Who are their influencers?
  • What drives their behaviors?
  • What do they search for?
  • What are they talking about?
  • What content will they share?

The answers to these questions allow marketers to tailor an approach that will not only be based on accurate data, but will also resonate with audiences and increase response rates. You shouldn’t simply come out and ask your survey audience these questions, though. To get honest answers, pose the following questions instead. The responses will help you find the information you need to launch more successful campaigns.

1. How much time do you spend online in each of these categories?

This question helps content marketers determine where their core audiences spend the majority of their time online as well as what kinds of content might attract new users. Possible answers include:

  • Shopping or researching products
  • Social networking
  • Search engines
  • Email and communication
  • Reading content
  • Multimedia sites

2. What types of content do you like to view online?

The content format, tone of voice, and distribution channels are equally important in attracting users, particularly for a native advertising campaign. Possible answers include:

  • News
  • Entertainment
  • Business
  • Self-help
  • Health or medical information
  • Hobbies
  • Weather
  • Inspirational stories
  • New technology
  • Sports
  • Jokes
  • Animals
  • Other industry-specific topics

3. How do you prefer to obtain your information?

Determining the target audience’s proverbial “watering hole” allows marketers to determine the right channel and format for every audience. Whether that’s mobile versus desktop or email versus in-app advertising, everyone has a preference about where he feels most comfortable receiving information. Possible answers include:

  • From trusted websites
  • Push notifications on phone
  • Forwards from peers, family, or friends
  • Social media

4. What formats do you prefer?

The previous questions can tell you what users want and where they want it. This question helps you learn how respondents like to consume content. Possible answers include:

  • Infographics
  • Amateur videos
  • Professional videos
  • Articles
  • Live streams
  • E-books
  • Blogs

5. When do you prefer to consume most of your content?

If you know what kind of content consumers want and when they want it, then your next step is to discover when they’re most likely to see it. Possible answers include:

  • In the morning
  • Lunchtime
  • During a commute
  • Whenever breaking news happens
  • In the evening
  • Before bed

6. Why do you share certain pieces of content?

This is, perhaps, the most critical question to determine a piece of content’s vitality. Figuring out what compels users to share certain content is as important as learning what, when, how, and with whom they share it. Possible answers include:

  • Humor
  • News, facts, or information
  • Inspires critical thinking
  • Is valuable to someone I know

Determining the Survey Length and Format

The optimal length of any survey is a function of time, the number and type of questions, and the order in which they appear. Typically, mobile users begin to suffer “survey fatigue” after 15 to 17 questions. Any more than that, and you will sharply reduce the respondents completing your survey. Survey fatigue can also set in if those questions are not quick and easy to answer.

Two to three open-ended questions are fine, but people vastly prefer multiple-choice options (although 10 straight “strongly disagree or strongly agree” questions will bore them). People like to be engaged, so mix up the question styles while keeping them as simple as possible. No one has time to sit down and type out thoughtful responses to 15 survey questions on a desktop — less so, a smartphone — so keep it two minutes long, max.

Most important, be considerate of people’s time and aware of the context of the environment in which they take the surveys. A user taking an in-app survey as distributed on our platform has a different frame of mind than someone responding to an email survey on desktop. Use fewer questions and shorter answers. And, to preserve the purity of responses, never ask someone to scroll back to see the answer to a previous question before he can answer the next.

Survey goals are different for every researcher. We’ve helped companies generate surveys on topics ranging from opinions on political issues to brand awareness to who the true criminal is on “Making a Murderer.” When approached correctly, surveys can provide valuable information on just about anything. No matter the source content, delivering a survey into the hands of respondents through mobile can yield deeper, more actionable insights than any other medium.

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