Tuesday, 6 December 2016
2-way SMS surveys
SMS is good for high volume short surveys needing fast responses & to capture feedback in real-time.
SMS doesn’t require an internet connection and works on all mobile devices, whatever the contract and in any country, any language. This breadth of coverage makes the SMS channel as good for surveys in Africa and Latin America, as well as for Europe or North America & Asia.
Because sending 2-way SMS messages is perceived as free by participants on a contract, there’s often very little objection to data cost as a barrier to reply. In fact, the speed of delivery and ability to let respondents reply when it’s convenient, means typical SMS survey response rates are high and fast (18-30%).
Ways to use 2-way SMS surveys.
SMS surveys can be used standalone, in parallel with or as a complement to CATI, online or IVR surveys, and as an option for choice surveys (where participants receive an SMS invitation to participate in an SMS or mobile web survey).
SMS surveys can also be used as polls, short surveys to collect key KPIs quickly, and to recruit respondents to take part in longer studies via online, CATI, etc.
You can invite participants to take part in SMS surveys in a number of ways:
- push surveys: this is a sample driven process, where the sample is provided by the client and sent an SMS invitation
- pull surveys: this is a process whereby the respondent sees a keyword and chooses to take part by sending an SMS to that keyword, which represents a particular short code. e.g. text SURVEY to 85001 (UK)
SMS surveys in practice.
SMS surveys are best kept short, using 1-5 questions and are ideal for transactional surveys. You can make them as simple or as complex as you like by including routing, piping and survey logic. As well as the standard question types, you can even ask respondents to provide photo, video or audio responses, to gain even richer insights.
When you script an SMS survey, it’s best to make them timely, personalised and conversational. As your survey will be delivered in real-time, it should be scheduled appropriately.
It’s also useful to include instructions and make it easy for respondents to reply – for example – ‘Which of these fruit do you prefer? Text A for apple, B for banana or C for cherry’ (instead of asking someone to text APPLE, BANANA, or CHERRY).
In terms of budget, it’s worth bearing in mind how writing the questions and the survey structure will affect costs – keeping your messages short will mean you don’t pay for more SMS messages than you need. In some cases, you may want to include the first question within the invitation as a way to save costs – but it’s worth testing different the invitation and survey question wordings, to get the most effective combination.
Don’t forget! Follow the mobile survey guidelines when it comes to the type of content you use, ensure you have permission to contact the respondents on their mobiles, and always test before you go live.
If you enjoyed this article, why not download the full guide?
The Essential Guide to using SMS for market research is designed for anyone working in the research sector, who wants to know more about how and when to use the SMS channel.