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How Mobile Surveys Fail

Most Surveys Don’t Take Full Advantage of Capabilities

Fresh Findings From SoapBoxSample and Distill Research

— In the increasingly pervasive world of smartphones, market researchers are seeking ways to leverage the small-screen platform for speed, convenience and unique data collection capabilities (e.g. photos/scanning). A recent survey of smartphone owners conducted by Distill Research with respondents provided by SoapBoxSample revealed that mobile surveys are only a small part of the research landscape and that most of these surveys fail to take advantage of smartphone capabilities.

Researchers that want to engage respondents on a smartphone may find success; about half of smartphone owners that were asked to switch from a desktop to their phone to take a survey did so.

In terms of comfort with information sharing, tracking and sharing web history or allowing an app to access personal contacts were deemed to be more off limits. Conversely, there is a notably high number of smartphone owners willing to share personal health information. Demographically, younger males appear to be more willing to share data or download apps that will streamline or personalize their survey experience. In general, older respondents are less willing to share any form of personal data.

These and many other important findings on feelings towards mobile surveys are available for free at

A Note About Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Distill Research from September 9, 2014 to September 15, 2014 among 537 U.S. adults ages 18 to 65, who own a smartphone and participated in at least 1 online survey in the past 3 months. While the sample was collected to mirror the age, gender and regional proportions of the U.S. smartphone-owning population according to Pew Research, this online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Distill Research
Distill Research is an independent custom market research company founded by three highly skilled and experienced market researchers with more than 50 years of combined experience. Distill provides primary quantitative and qualitative market research for a diverse group of companies in technology, telecom, financial services, advertising & marketing, entertainment & media, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, public policy, consumer package goods, travel & leisure, quick service restaurants, and energy. The company is based in Portland, Oregon. For more: