The proliferation of mobile technologies offers a wealth of innovative research avenues. Traditional research methods can be adapted to the mobile environment, and there is the potential for effective real-time data collection. Research opportunities exist beyond the smartphone device, and there are new grounds for deeper qualitative insight and participant-centric methodological approaches.


Mobile research encompasses both the methodological use of mobile devices and technologies in the research process, and the research of consumer mobile habits.

Key Insights

1. Mobile surveys should be short, engaging and ‘thumb-friendly’

With strong growth in the number of consumers starting surveys on smartphones but survey drop-offs 20% higher than on a PC, optimising mobile surveys is key. The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) recommend the same principles developed for PC surveys – optimising length, design and experience – but suggest device-specific guidelines:

  • Limit the survey to 10 minutes
  • Design to be ‘thumb-friendly’ – vertical scrolling, uncluttered screens, response options large enough to cope with ‘fat thumbs’ and be visible, and controllable with one thumb
  • Use a range of response options – text, numbers and emojis