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A New Way of Thinking About Mobile

We just had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar presented by Google Consumer Surveys called "Unlocking Mobile, Respondent First". There was a lot of useful information presented on mobile use and adoption, so we decided to recap some of the advice and create an infographic with some of the highlighted stats! See more about what was discussed in the webinar below, like how to make your surveys respondent-optimized, the optimal number of questions for a mobile survey, and more.

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A New Way of Thinking About Mobile

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2014 has been deemed "the year of mobile", but so was 2013, 2012, and every year before that...
Instead, 2014 has been renamed "the new age of mobile", which more accurately describes the state of mobile in our lives today. In 2013, only 27% of researchers used mobile at all as a method for data collection. This is a huge problem, since the majority of Google search queries are conducted on mobile rather than desktop. Up until today, most researchers have been ignoring mobile all together, and the ones that haven't are just applying the same principles from other mediums. As humorously stated in the webinar, don't have a FOMO (fear of missing out) of mobile. Instead, focus on keeping up with product, marketing, and brand teams who continue to focus on the mobile sphere.

Many researchers are hesitant to embrace mobile because they think it will compromise data quality, result in more work, and have no good question types. If done right, this is simply not true. So, then how can researchers harness the power of mobile and adapt surveys to match the medium? According to Google Consumer Surveys, the answer is called respondent-optimized research.

Respondent-optimized research entails the following:
  • Same principles as mobile
  • Shorter, simpler, faster surveys (10 questions maximum)
  • More frequent, nimble projects
  • Cross-platform questionnaire design
  • Better value exchange with respondents
  • Compatibility with respondent context
Rather than thinking about your research questions as "all or nothing", think of them as building blocks. You can learn a lot, step by step, one question at a time.

Google Consumer Surveys also stated the fact that mobile surveys should be no longer than 10 questions, and we agree. This marks the end of the 30 minute mobile survey. A bit of thought leadership from Andrew Jeavons, CEO at Survey Analytics, suggest that businesses use the 10-7-140 rule. That is, use a maximum of 10 questions per survey, a maximum of 7 choices per question, and no more than 140 characters for the question text (the amount allotted for a Tweet).

If researchers can follow these guidelines, they ought to start seeing much better results from their mobile surveys. The webinar was closed with the reiteration that researchers should not focus on just a mobile-optimized strategy; they should focus on a cross-platform respondent-optimized strategy. We know that a mobile-dominant world is near, so we must embrace respondent-friendly question designs, shorter surveys and techniques like modularization.


  1. In my opinion, it will be useful for students to read this info. It's really important to know these days


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