There are many reasons not to miss out on mobile as a means of research. Half of all digital time spent in the US is mobile. In many emerging markets, people leapfrog from non-online to mobile directly, with mobile-only populations between 10% and 30%. It also has advantages for research, as people are more in-the-moment and can do surveys while on the subway or when shopping in a natural environment, rather than in more artificial interview situations on desktop, per telephone or face-to-face.

Half of all digital time spent in the US is mobile.

To utilise the potential of mobile, researchers need to adopt best practices for mobile. Based on our vast experience with mobile surveys for hundreds of clients, here are our favourite tips:

1. Design for mobile-first…

Desktop surveys on mobile are not fun. Respondents need to zoom to find the right options to choose from or find the buttons to click. Surveys need fully mobile-optimised interfaces, with pages adjusting to the frame of the smartphone automatically.

2. …but be device-agnostic.

Mobile is so ubiquitous that surveys without it would not be representative. But especially in emerging markets, mobile users are more affluent, urban and younger. Be device-agnostic and use official benchmark data to adjust for the online vs. non-online connected population.

3. Keep it short and sweet.

Respondents loath grids and long questionnaires. Even frequent panelists say the optimal survey length is 5 minutes, and longer than 10 minutes is inappropriate. Simpler questions make the interpretation easier, and shorter questionnaires reduce analysis paralysis.

4. Prioritise ease of answering.

In the digital world, attention spans are short. Turn a vice into a virtue and make it easy as possible for people to tell you their relevant opinion. Avoid text-heavy questions, excessive use of open text answers and design every question around answerability for respondents.

5. Filter out quick if you must.

Respondents often have to answer dozens of screener surveys that search for specific criteria. Sadly, this is frustrating and encourages bad behaviour. Instead, include a broader set of people and reduce the number of questions required to filter – ideally not more than 3.

At Dalia, we are proud to be one of the first market research organisations who truly embrace the power of mobility and mobile devices when it comes to collecting people’s opinions. Having worked in countless large-scale projects, we know a well-structured and designed survey will deliver you more accurate and representative results that addresses the needs in your project’s objectives.

If you would like to know more about mobile research and Dalia; visit our website. For project requests, feel free to drop an email to

Niklas Anzinger
Strategic Insights Leader at Dalia Research