Mobile Use Is Hurting Survey Response, Study Finds

Surveys are used by publishers for both editorial content and advertiser intelligence. But the quality may be eroding due to lower-quality responses from mobile users, judging by “How are today’s survey respondents affecting your data quality?”, a study of consumer responses by Rep Data.  

Smartphone users are distracted by an average of 46 push notifications per day. In addition, mobile devices provide a less friendly interface for survey taking, with their small screens.  

PC/tablet users are 6% above the mean, and mobile phone respondents 6% below. iOS provides lower quality data than Android users. 

Men have 8% lower quality ratings than women across all age groups. However, men aged 18-29 provide the worst data, followed by men in the 30-49 cohort. 

The study also found a bell curve regarding education levels. The sweet spot for data quality is people with some studies after high school and bachelor’s degrees. 



The lowest quality comes from those with some high school and master’s degrees. In addition, respondents who chose not to answer performed at 46% below the mean.  

These numbers may not apply to B2B. 

Contrary to what some pundits say, political extremists do not dominate surveys. The most liberal and conservative participants were 19% less likely to provide quality answers. 

Rather, moderate voters were 4% above the mean, conservative 4% and liberal 3%.  

Personal characteristics also impact data quality. For instance, smokers are 44% less likely to provide good data than non-smokers. And, oddly, those who read a daily newspaper are 33% lower than respondents who do not. 

Tech enthusiasts provide lower quality than average tech users. But heavy online users are 10% above the mean. 

When it comes to income, there is a small peak in the mid-range level of $50,000-$74,999, with lower quality at the low and high ends of the spectrum.  

Data quality is a critical factor in establishing credibility for publishers. And while many assign surveys to professional research organizations, it still pays to carefully review the incoming results. 

What does the study recommend?

“Keeping a respondent’s attention and improving their experience is fundamental to improving data quality, avoiding dropouts and incompletes, and garnering more thoughtful answers,” it states. 

It adds that “Creating engaging surveys that aren’t too long and complex is the most basic change that needs to happen.” 

Finally, respondents must be incentivized properly for their time and effort, it states. 

Rep Data DM2 and polled 1,800 consumers in three different waves in October 2022.  



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