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How Email Is Wrecking Online Surveys

 

Blog email notifications 18July17

 

Email is among the weakest of the weak links endemic to online surveys – and that’s why it’s important to learn about the in-app mobile alternative, and how it cuts email entirely out of the survey process.

 

Online studies seek respondents by sending emails to potential respondents. This begins a five-step process. First, the recipients must notice the emails in their inboxes. Then they must click to open the email. Third, they have to read the message and recognize it as a survey invitation. Fourth, they have to decide whether they want to take the survey. Fifth, they have to click on a link inside the email’s text to connect with a website where the questionnaire is housed.

 

In-app mobile cuts the process down to two steps. It starts with a push notification that a survey is available. The push comes with a unique audio tone that tells the recipient that this is a survey invitation. The recipient then decides whether to participate. If so, he or she simply opens the app and starts answering the questionnaire, which has been instantly downloaded into the phone.

 

The takeaway: two steps vs. five steps. One is efficient and drives up response rates and speeds your projects to avoid missed deadlines. The other is just plain cumbersome.

 

Not to mention outdated. A recent study of email’s use in marketing (as opposed to market research) underscores some of the general drawbacks of trying to reach today’s consumers by email.

  • 24% of Business to Consumer marketers in the study by Emma, an email marketing services provider, identified “getting people to open emails” as their biggest challenge, tied with “personalization and targeting.” Targeting is another strength of the in-app, custom panel approach, but we’ll leave that for another day.

The survey numbers were even worse among younger demographics, as represented by responses from email marketers for universities, whose audiences are disproportionately teens and young adults – prospective students, current students, and recent alumni included.

  • 41% of marketers for universities said they “struggle to get people to open emails,” leading the study’s authors to remark that “they’re battling a lot of noise in the inbox.”
  • Another stat worth noting is the average amount of time U.S. consumers spend using mobile apps – 2 hours and 15 minutes a day, according to analytics company App Annie. A separate study by comScore found that younger adults (ages 18 to 34) average about 3 hours a day in-app. Clearly, the app is the comfort zone where today’s mobile consumers can best be reached.

Because panel fraud is such a pressing issue for market research, it’s also important to remember that fraud bots programmed to masquerade as human survey-takers can latch onto email links to online surveys like crocodiles latching onto their prey. The online sphere is where bots are designed to function, and where they can flourish. Mobile-app surveys take place in a safety zone that stands apart from the wilds of the internet — a place where panelists can be validated and where bots can’t intrude.

 

Notifications are just the start of the in-app mobile survey process. To get the full story from start to finish, just get in touch at solutions@mfour.com.