Seven Deadly Pitfalls in Mobile Research, and How to Avoid Them

While a lot of businesses are investing in mobile research, there are some mistakes that even the most experienced researchers make. Here are the 7 most common pitfalls associated with this type of research – and how to avoid them.

Customer feedback is the lifeblood of your business. Real-time feedback resulting from mobile research is even more critical as it makes you aware of customer experiences while they are still fresh, leading to richer and more actionable insights that fuel business growth. While a lot of businesses are investing in mobile research, there are some mistakes that even the most experienced researchers make.

Here are the 7 most common pitfalls associated with this type of research – and how to avoid them.

1. Picking the wrong locations

Researchers often let the choice of locations where data are collected be dictated solely by cost, convenience, or client input. This can yield data that are not representative of the target population, which in turn can produce misleading results. Depending upon your research objectives, try to select locations which vary by geography, type, size, clientele, and/or performance.

2. Picking the wrong shoppers

Similarly, researchers often let the choice of shoppers to survey be dictated solely by convenience. Again, this can yield an unrepresentative sample and misleading results. Make sure that demographics, purchase intent, purchase history, and other characteristics relevant to your research objectives are taken into account through the use of screeners and/or quotas.

3. Making it hard for shoppers to respond

Researchers often forget that collecting data via mobile surveys is different than by mail, internet, or traditional phone surveys, and use inappropriate questionnaires. This can reduce completion rates and data quality.

Make sure that surveys used in mobile research are as short (no more than 10 minutes), simple, and engaging as possible. Ensure survey compatibility with all mobile phone and tablet models. In addition, incentives may be needed to encourage cooperation.

4. Keeping location managers in the dark

Researchers often fail to secure the cooperation of managers at sample locations. Interviewers administering mobile surveys may be told to leave if those managers don’t know who you are, what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it.

Advance communication from someone in the client organization is strongly recommended. If using interviewers to administer mobile surveys, have them check in with on-site management prior to beginning and ending work. Increase transparency by encouraging location managers to call you (or the vendor involved) with comments or concerns during fielding.

5. Interfering with the purchase process

Mobile data collection can alter sample shoppers’ interest in making a purchase. Increasing that interest should please local managers but could yield distorted results, while decreasing that interest will make nobody happy.

Be conscious of this potential effect when designing questionnaires and training interviewers. Recommended solution is to have shoppers provide feedback after they are done and are about to exit.

6. Performing inadequate quality control

Meeting all your quotas and deadlines is of little value if the data aren’t any good. Problems can arise due to survey errors, “rogue” respondents or interviewers, not checking data during fielding, or “fraud” data that are entered offsite or from incorrect locations.

Test survey prior to launch to ensure that there are no errors in instructions, or in how the questions are worded. Review data for accuracy and completeness as it’s coming in (not after fielding is over); check survey start and finish times to make sure respondents aren’t rushing (or being rushed); retrain or replace any interviewers who are alienating customers or managers; and use geo-stamping to ensure that data are truly collected on-site and from the desired locations.

7. Not capturing onsite images or videos
Shopper feedback that is only in the form of words or numbers can be limiting. For example, a handful of shoppers pointing towards a product or service issue might not merit an immediate investigation. On the other hand, even a few supporting visual images or videos can help make the case for urgent improvements.

Enable submission of pictures and videos along with survey responses wherever possible. Use mobile research solutions and technology that can facilitate this. Doing so will allow you to actually “see” customer experiences, thereby transforming insights from good to actionable!


This content was originally published by 1 GOLD RESEARCH INC . Visit their website at

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