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The role of SMS Invites for Mobile Surveys

Every great mobile survey needs an equally compelling invitation in order to get people to respond to and complete it.

This is an area frequently overlooked by businesses looking to make use of mobile surveys. Even the most well-designed surveys, complete with optimised length and question formatting will go to waste if sufficient effort is not put into sending the invite out in an effective manner to as many of the target audience as possible.

There are numerous different types of invitations you can use to entice people to view your survey. However, in the context of mobile questionnaires, it is perhaps most logical and effective to use a technology that is almost as old as the devices themselves – SMS.

In this edition of Mobile Matters, we look at why survey invites sent via SMS or text message are most effective, and what specific advantages they hold over other types of survey invitation.

The unparalleled reach of SMS 

It’s hard to argue against the use of SMS as an effective form of survey invite when one considers the prevalence of this medium in modern-day life, and how SMS is part of the daily routines of countless people around the world.

According to this MBA Online infographic, for example, three out of five humans on Earth send text messages – that’s a total of 4.2 billion texters around the world. As the infographic goes on to point out, this figure is also more than the total global population just four decades ago in 1975.

Given the huge global texting population, it should come as no surprise that the volume of SMS traffic is just as heavy. Statistics from Forrester Research show that 6 billion text messages are sent every day in the US alone.

As these figures show, an enormous number of people nowadays are willing to send – and receive – text messages on a daily basis. It is almost unthinkable for many people to think of a day going by now without some form of texting, and this ubiquity is one of the biggest reasons why SMS is often the most effective mobile survey invitation method.

Why use SMS to send out your survey invite? 

Statistics prove it: SMS survey invitations simply work better than email when it comes to survey participation rates from people who are wedded to their mobile devices.

This was examined in Aigul Mavletova’s and Mick P. Couper’s Mobile Web Survey Design: Scrolling Versus Paging, SMS Versus E-mail Invitations study, which was published in the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology. According to this study, SMS invites are more effective than email in terms of participation rates when looking specifically at mobile devices (51.3 per cent versus 43.7 per cent).

Additionally, people tend to respond faster to text message invitations, the survey found. Participation rates within an hour of sending the invite was 21 per cent for SMS, compared to 11 per cent for email. Clearly the visual and audio cues for receipt of an SMS are hard to ignore for many people. This may be attributed to the generally superior response rates witnessed with SMS messages. As Clickatell’s infographic indicates, the average response time to a text message is four minutes, compared to four hours for a Facebook post and four days for a tweet on Twitter.

“Taking into consideration both participation rates and the percentage of PC respondents, an SMS invitation is more efficient compared to e-mail in encouraging to survey completion via a mobile device,” Mavletova’s and Couper’s study reads.

“If researchers want to increase the use of mobile web, then SMS should be considered as an invitation mode.”

With the latest in survey technology allowing the ability to create SMS invites, capture in-the-moment feedback and send automated SMS reminders, sending a text message is a great place to start in your journey to gain quality insights from an ‘on the move’ audience.

Happy surveying!

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