Have you heard the one about the survey bot that walked into a store and stole a smartphone? That’s OK, neither have we. Everyone knows survey bots don’t own smartphones.
However, they can hijack your budget and your data by breaking into online surveys and posing as human respondents. Online is where computer bots lurk, unleashed by their creators to impersonate consumers, complete surveys, and collect reward payments. Bot fraudsters are very clever about avoiding detection by mimicking how real humans respond to surveys. When survey bots strike you get doubly defrauded – fleeced for the rewards money and the price per complete that’s built into your bill, and left with phony, reality-distorting data you assume is from real consumers.
Bots are increasingly on the march, to the point where one experienced insights professional, Joe Hopper of Versta Research, warns that “if you are purchasing access to survey respondents from panel providers, or from survey software providers…you are probably getting fraudulent data from automated bots or from survey-taker farms.”
So what can you do?
- Stick with online research and hope for the best, or
- Switch to in-app mobile surveys fielded to a validated, bot-free proprietary panel.
A well-designed research app is bot-free for the same reason your lawn or driveway is shark-free. It’s just not the right habitat. Here’s why:
- Each mobile device has a unique identification code. That means a phone can receive and answer a given survey just once. Each completed survey is validated as having been received from the same device to which it was targeted.
- To join an app-based panel such as Surveys on Go® a prospective panelist needs to have physical possession of a smartphone or a tablet. Bots don’t own phones.
- The panelist downloads the app to a phone, then registers to participate in surveys by answering a detailed, in-app questionnaire that elicits granular demographic information to inform targeting.
- Besides shutting out bots, the ID code insures against duplicate responses: only one complete per phone is possible.
- “Mobile optimized” surveys are just like online desktop surveys when it comes to bot fraud. They don’t occur in an in-app safety zone; instead, the survey must be taken online, where data fraud lurks.
The good news is that bot fraud is one seemingly intractable problem for which there’s actually a proven solution – if you know where to look. For a productive discussion about how in-app mobile can safeguard your data’s health and meet your specific research needs, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for an entertaining video introduction to in-app mobile research, just click here.