How much accidental MMR is happening?

Randomised ListAt the moment I am working on two exciting projects with Navin Williams looking at mobile market research (MMR), a book and course – more on these soon.

As part of these projects I have been taking another look at the phenomenon of ‘accidental MMR’.

Most people who are using online surveys are already using MMR, even if they have not decided to, and even if they are not aware of it. Any online survey, even if not designed for a mobile device, runs the risk of being completed on a mobile device by some respondents – unless specific measures are taken to avoid it.

Surveys sent to members of online access panels or to customers sourced from client databases are frequently completed via mobile devices – unless the survey has been designed to recognize the mobile device and designed to prevent a mobile device being used. This form of MMR is referred to as accidental mobile research, and the prevalence of accidental MMR is one of the reasons that it is safe to say that MMR, in 2013, has ‘arrived’.

As with most things mobile, reliable and consistent figures, about the prevalence of accidental MMR, are hard to obtain. In Europe and North I hear figures that vary from 5% to 20% , and a recent project from Hong Kong produced 20% using mobile devices – with about half using tablets.

Do you have estimates about the prevalence of MMR? All sources and figures submitted will be thanked and cited in our book and course.

4 thoughts on “How much accidental MMR is happening?

  1. Hi Ray –

    As with most things in survey research (and life), it depends. In our analysis of 17 unique web surveys conducted by Market Strategies on behalf of clients in multiple industries, we saw small format mobile survey starts ranging from 1% (high net work investors from an opt-in panel) to 30% (recent activators of a mobile phone service from a customer database). These were all surveys not designed with mobile in mind. In one 35-minute multi-country study of physicians, 10% of the surveys were completed on smartphones. (BTW: For purposes of our analysis, we generally categorize tablets as non-mobile.) Mind you, the majority of this data was collected 10 months ago. More recently, we looked at mobile survey starts on a study which has been running for over a year in quarterly waves. What was 17% in the 4th quarter of 2011 is now 26% at the end of 2012 (a 50% + increase).

    We’ve seen that experienced survey takers (i.e. members of panels) are much less likely to start a survey on a mobile device than respondents drawn from customer database. Presumably, the latter group best represents the expectations of the typical person in the population, whereas panel members know that most surveys take much longer and are tedious to complete on a smartphone.

    I’d be happy to share more data. You can also review a narrated .ppt showing the results of my analysis at:

    I will also be presenting the results of a large experiment at the CASRO Online Conference in which we examine the efficacy (and much more) of a variety of “mobile friendly” survey designs.

  2. Dear Ray,

    Here at Maritz Research we have following the use of mobile devices including tablets over the past two years. The data we have is for proprietary programs we run on behalf of our clients. The surveys are taken by their customers. These customers are global so our figures are not broken out by global regions. However, our conclusions validate your comments. I would be happy to discuss this further with you.

    “Unintentional” mobile respondents made up 6% of our audience in the first quarter of 2011 (calendar quarters). Of that, 5% were mobile device users and 1% tablets. As of fourth quarter 2012, usage has jumped to 18% with 12% mobile device users and 6% tablet. By the end of quarter four 2013, we project total unintentional mobile respondents to be between 35% and 40% based on CAGR (compound annual growth rates). We have cited figures at a CASRO Technology conference last year and the updated breakout will be shared at the CASRO Online conference in March 2013.

    We at Maritz are actively working with our clients to transition them to “Designing with Mobile in Mind.” This applies to content, look and feel, rating scale design geared toward mobile that also work with dual mode online, and more importantly – survey length.

    Best regards,

    Gloria Park Bartolone
    Senior Vice President
    Global Fieldwork Services
    Maritz Research

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