Are Email Surveys Still Relevant?

Conducting a survey online has made many a marketers job easy: within a few weeks, a company can learn enough about its customers wants & needs to prioritize a product roadmap, test a high-budget ad campaign, or even decide in what region to launch a new service offering.

Yet much of the quick-and-easy nature of online surveys relies on being able to reach study participants. And while there are many ways of reaching people via new media, email still leads in the methods used to recruit participants for online surveys.

So, use of email is something we keep VERY careful tabs on. Years ago, Brookside Consulting identified mobile compatibility a must. In other words, when we launch an online survey, the email, and survey link participants click on, must be functional (and ideally optimized) for 80% of smartphones in whichever market the study is being conducted.

Based on the latest results from Return Path’s Email In Motion study, March 2012, it sounds like our decision is still justified. Some highlights:
• Half of all mobile devices in the United States are smartphones
• Twenty-five minutes of every hour spent on a smartphone in the US is spent reading and/or responding to email
• The vast majority (85%) of all mobile email is read on an Apple device
• Impatience still prevails: 41% of Europeans, and 63% of Americans, would close or delete an email not optimized for mobile

Despite these good signs that email is still a viable option for most studies, we are always keeping an eye on other methods for reaching the right audience. When younger people are involved social media polls are often the way to go.

Some industries require even more unique methods: just last year, the right fit for a client was to supplement email with a FAX-based survey. And yes, I am old enough to remember how they work.

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