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The case for Data Pre-Loading

It goes without saying that when it comes to mobile surveys, shorter is most definitely sweeter.

You want your survey to have enough depth to gain the necessary insight, yet not be so long that most respondents drop out halfway through. It’s not just the number of questions that has to be taken into account either, the total time taken to read instructions and complete the survey can have a big impact on response rates too. Unfortunately attention spans on mobiles can be notoriously short.

So what can be done to reduce survey completion time as much as possible without compromising on the quality and insightfulness of the content?

Among the many tips and tactics used to streamline mobile surveys, one of the most simple and effective ways can be to incorporate pre-loaded data about each respondent. In this edition of Mobile Matters, we look at how data pre-loading can help speed your respondents through the survey and boost completion rates.

Why speed is of the essence

When it comes to achieving high completion rates on a mobile survey, every second counts. Recent research from PeoplePulse, for instance, found a positive correlation between the time taken to complete a long mobile survey and dropout rates, regardless of platform.

It also found that the smaller the device, the longer it took for the exact same survey to be completed. The median time taken to complete a standard length staff engagement survey (approx. 50 questions) on a smartphone was recorded at 18 minutes 38 seconds, compared to 16 minutes 18 seconds on a tablet and 3 minutes 59 seconds for respondents on desktops. That’s a variance in excess of 14 minutes between device type.

Consequently, the survey dropout rate for longer survey types is highest on smartphones (67 per cent for a long 50 question survey), compared to 28 per cent on tablets and 12 per cent on desktops for the same survey.

Additionally, in a previous edition of Mobile Matters, we discussed that the shortening attention span of people means it is even more important we make surveys as quick as possible. The average human attention span is just 8 seconds, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and it’s been shrinking. We also outlined previously that the optimum number of questions to include in a mobile survey is no more than 15.

Respondents are not afraid to simply abandon a survey if they feel it is taking too long, and therefore it is crucial to be as efficient as possible with survey content. Obviously cutting down the number of questions respondents have to complete is a great place to start – which is where data pre-loading shows its true value.

What is it, and how can it help?

Using suitably equipped survey software, data pre-loading is a function you can implement in your mobile surveys to essentially reduce the amount of data respondents have to manually enter, therefore reducing their total time to complete and ultimately increasing the chances of completion.

This feature is particularly handy when you already have access to a range of basic data – such as demographics – about your respondents. With this information at hand, there is no need to ask respondents to re-enter data you already know about them merely for the purposes of report filtering. Instead, you can use pre-loading to populate your reports with this information in the background as and when invites are sent, thus slimming down the length of the questionnaire.

The end result is that your surveys stay as short as possible, while response rates are maximised.

There are also additional benefits that can be gained from data pre-loading. For example, with the information you already have, you can personalise your survey invites to make more of a connection with respondents from the start. For example: ‘Dear Mary, we would love to hear your feedback in relation to your recent purchase of your razor scooter on 30th June from theNorthwest store.’

With the right tools you can also branch respondents to specific pages of your survey based on pre-loaded data. Eg. If product = razor scooter show questions 5-8, if not, hide questions 5-8.  This can be another great way to boost engagement and response rates by keeping the survey relevant.

Thanks to this very effective and easily implemented mobile survey feature, you can not only reduce the number of questions that has to be asked, but also enhance your survey completion rates.

Happy surveying!

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