Choosing the best mobile survey software: 5 questions insight professionals need to answer

16 April 2021 | 5 min read | Written by Niamh Cunningham

Deeper insights and more informed business decisions — if you're conducting research right now and it doesn't involve mobile, you’re missing out on these. On top of that, with legacy systems, you may not even be getting feedback from real customers. Selecting the best mobile survey software is critical for many insight teams today who want to be agile and deliver business results faster than ever before. 

Every day, new insight platforms seem to enter the market, promising to help companies reach the mobile-first generation. The latest GRIT report shows that mobile surveys are now the hottest emerging technology in market research. But if you're not careful, you might end up with the wrong mobile survey tool. 

When market research software companies require participants to use a mobile survey app, that's a red flag. 

If you're talking to several market research technology providers, here are a few questions to consider as you weigh different mobile survey software alternatives. 

1. Will it force research participants to download a mobile survey app? 

People have way too many apps on their phones. Usually, they open only a few though. A CleverTap study found the average smartphone user spends 88% of their screen time on five total apps every day. Even if they download a new app, apps get deleted within 5.8 days after they’re last used.

Bottom line:

  • app-driven research is not a great idea
  • app fatigue has set in for most people; downloading more apps is not worth the trouble for many people
  • mobile apps lack flexibility on where you can engage your customers

When market research software companies require participants to use a mobile survey app, it’s usually to send incentives. This is a red flag. 🚩 It means the people who will likely take part in your research are professional survey-takers.

Rival’s philosophy is that you should be engaging with customers where they already are. Often this means social media and the web. That’s why we built our mobile survey engine to be as flexible as possible, allowing you to send chats through Instagram stories, Facebook/Twitter updates, and anywhere else your target audience regularly visits. 

Mobile research webinar ads (1)

2. How seriously do they take consent and privacy and security?

In 2021, CASL and GDPR compliance should be a no-brainer. The best mobile survey software will have security baked in into the software and the company’s processes. Privacy and security should never be an afterthought. 

Rival worries about privacy and compliance so you don’t have to. Opting in and out is seamless. With Rival, participants double opt-in to join mobile communities (that way, you can complete iterative research).  They get a mobile verification code via SMS to help your team stay compliant. Each time there is a new study you’d like for your community to participate in, they’ll get an SMS invite. 

Other mobile survey software providers don’t have that double opt-in step out of the box (if it’s an option, you have to write your own custom script). Instead, they take phone numbers collected elsewhere and send without digital consent so they’re likely to get blocked by carriers.

Remember, research is part of the brand experience — if you are spamming people with surveys, that will leave a sour impression. 

3. Is the software mobile-first or just available on mobile?

Most mobile survey software companies take a rudimentary approach to the user interface. Their UX is essentially a smaller version of a survey interface designed for desktop. 

Resizing grids and buttons for mobile is not a great approach. It looks clunky and doesn’t exploit the unique strengths of the mobile phone. 

ChatLab_Thumbs_v2Now, look at the UI of Rival’s chats. As you can see, it’s designed mobile-first. While Rival works on desktop, it’s created with the mobile experience in mind and mirrors the way people speak on messaging platforms.

At Rival, we’ve created an experience that reflects the same way you talk to friends and family. Asynchronous communication where you’re dipping in and out of conversations and completing iterative research are all possible. This design is very intentional and beneficial — the better experience boosts response rates and engagement (We see an average 60% response rate within hours of deploying) and encourages more honest feedback.  

4. Does it enable you to seamlessly capture videos?

Videos are a powerful storytelling tool as well as a quant tool—giving you richer context you wouldn’t otherwise get. 

Uploaded_video (3)And not just from the responses, but also from people's facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice captured on video. With video feedback, you can tell how excited or not excited they are about specific things. That way, you can find out who are the consumers you want to engage more with for future research.

Traditional email-based surveys weigh primarily quantitative findings. With email-driven tools, if there is a video component, participants have to visit a standalone video research platform that takes them out of the moment. 

We have to rethink the experience for mobile research. That's why conversational surveys on our platform have built-in video solutions let you gather both quant and qual in an experience consumers are already comfortable using.

If your mobile survey software provider wants you to add or pay for extra modules to get videos (or if they are recommending paying more to integrate with a video survey platform), that’s a red flag. That’s a sign they are making up for newer expenses as their software wasn’t originally built for mobile.  

5. Does it allow you to capture feedback in the moment?

One of the most powerful capabilities of the phone is mobile notifications - it allows you to get closer to behavior you're trying to examine. Not only do these notifications encourage higher response rates, they also elicit in-the-moment research. 

With less recall bias, brands get closer to the unfiltered truth of consumer’s experiences. Most people may remember their general feelings after an event occurred. However, if you want to dig into the details and what’s going on in the minds of respondents in real time, mobile survey software that uses notifications can get you feedback right after someone completes a purchase, watches a show, attends an event, and more. 

Signing up participants and getting feedback is also faster and frictionless when your mobile survey platform doesn’t require consumers to install anything. Using Rival’s mobile research platform, you don’t have to worry about spending hours on configuration. You can push out SMS invites in minutes with zero set up time.  

Have any questions about using our mobile research platform? If you're looking to use the best mobile survey software, reach out to us.

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Written by Niamh Cunningham

Niamh Cunningham is Rival's COO

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