By Elyse Desmarais on March 21, 2016
n the start of 2016, Pew Research Center announced it would perform 75% of its research via cellphone for the coming year, which is up 10% from last year. Many believe this indicates how mobile technology is influencing and changing the polling industry, and we’d have to agree.
It only makes sense the polling industry would move toward connecting with survey subjects via mobile as 9 in 10 Americans own a cellphone. Also, in 2015, 47% of Americans said they did not own a land line phone, a number that has gone up drastically from 5% in 2004. Since the trend doesn’t seem to be going downhill anytime soon, pollsters must change their research methods to keep up.
Adopting mobile technologies not only allows pollsters and researchers to better connect with their audiences, but also ensures they are collecting accurate data. Research shows the “cellphone only” population is younger and “significantly more Hispanic” than the general population, which posed a problem for pollsters and led to the adoption of mobile polling. It can be further explained that,
“Pew is upping its percentage of calls to cellphones to “ensure our survey samples properly represent” that share of the population…”
The decision to increase its reach to cellphones also places Pew ahead of it’s competitors.
“Gallup polls have a “minimum quota” of 60 percent cell users, according to the organization’s methodology statement. Cell users typically compose 40 percent of the sample in NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys.”
There is a downside, however, to placing calls to cellphones. A main reason, perhaps, why pollsters and research centers have been reluctant to adopt the technology. Federal law requires cell phone numbers to be dialed by hand instead of by “autodialers.” This means interviewing will take more time and costs will be significantly increased. Pew explains,
“Manually dialing cellphone numbers takes time, which increases interviewing costs. Each cellphone interview can cost almost twice as much as each land line interview. For this reason, some pollsters choose to either dial fewer cellphones or to exclude them from their sample altogether.”
Time and cost are serious concerns to researchers and pollsters, but shouldn’t be reasons against adopting new technologies to improve data. That’s why we created Instant Census to combat these negative factors that come along with mobile research. Our text message surveys are automated and receive responses in seconds to minutes, meaning collecting data via mobile is actually faster and less expensive. Automation also means there is no need for sending messages manually, making it possible for just 1 person to administer surveys at the click of a button.
For more informaton on how Instant Census complies with TCPA regulations and other Federal laws regarding SMS messaging, click here. Information in these blog posts is not legal advice.
Want to learn more about this emerging survey technology? Get in touch!