If there’s one thing you should understand about mobile research technology, it’s the difference between in-app surveys and mobile-web surveys. When you choose between them, you’re not just choosing a fielding method. You’re choosing between two types of consumer panels, each of which will have a decisively different kind of survey-taking experience.
In making your choice, the primary concerns should be functionality and engagement. They’re inextricably bound, because respondents’ engagement will evaporate if the technological approach you’ve picked fails to deliver the smooth, fast and uninterrupted functional performance on mobile devices that the public demands.
In-app mobile streamlines the process by letting the smartphone do all the work. The app instantly brings you face to face with your respondents because the entire questionnaire loads instantly into their phones. Your consumers can take the survey from start to finish without connecting to the Internet.
With mobile-web surveys, your connection to respondents is like the connection between rival tennis players. Your questions are housed on a website. You send panelists emails, and those who click on your link will be connected to the survey via their mobile browser. Instead of being right there with them, you’re on opposite sides of the ‘Net – as in Internet. Each question becomes a volley – you serve it to respondents’ phones, they return it to your website – and so on until the survey is finished. That is, unless the volleying gets interrupted by a dropped web connection or slow downloads and uploads of the questions and answers. Mobile users expect perfect functionality, and if you give them anything less they’ll penalize you by dropping your survey or by rushing through it thoughtlessly to get it over with.
If all this sounds a bit too technical or abstract, here’s an example from the real world of business. Interviewed earlier this year by eMarketer, M. Scott Havens, global head of digital for Bloomberg News, shared key facts about how it interacts with its mobile readers.
Bloomberg gets six times more traffic from the mobile web as it does from its mobile app, Havens said. Score one for mobile web? Not quite.
Here’s what Havens said next: ”On the other hand, the mobile app user generates 25 times the page views per month than the average mobile web user. Our mobile app users end up generating more page views [overall].”
Consequently, Havens said, Bloomberg’s digital strategy calls for coaxing its mobile web users to give up connecting via web browsers and to download its mobile app instead.
“Once we form relationships with people, we encourage them to download the app. On one level, the mobile web is a conduit to the app. We use it as a way to introduce the site to people and hopefully drive them to download the app, where they can consume our content in a faster, easier, more personalized way.”
Faster. Easier. More personalized – not to mention 25 times the engagement. This is a prominent media executive talking about the advantages of an in-app connection with consumers over a mobile web connection with consumers.
So if you don’t quite grasp the difference between the two types of mobile technology and methodology, don’t worry. All you need to do is remember what’s working for Bloomberg. And for complete information to guide your choice, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.