Recruiting young and urban groups into a probability-based online panel by promoting smartphone use


A sizable minority of all web surveys are nowadays completed on smartphones. People who choose a smartphone for Internet-related tasks are different from people who mainly use a PC or tablet. Smartphone use is particularly high among the young and urban. We have to make web surveys attractive for smartphone completion in order not to lose these groups of smartphone users. In this paper we study how to encourage people to complete surveys on smartphones in order to attract hard-to-reach subgroups of the population. We experimentally test new features of a survey-friendly design: we test two versions of an invitation letter to a survey, a new questionnaire lay-out, and autoforwarding. The goal of the experiment is to evaluate whether the new survey design attracts more smartphone users, leads to a better survey experience on smartphones and results in more respondents signing up to become a member of a probability-based online panel. Our results show that the invitation letter that emphasizes the possibility for smartphone completion does not yield a higher response rate than the control condition, nor do we find differences in the socio-demographic background of respondents. We do find that slightly more respondents choose a smartphone for survey completion. The changes in the layout of the questionnaire do lead to a change in survey experience on the smartphone. Smartphone respondents need 20% less time to complete the survey when the questionnaire includes autoforwarding. However, we do not find that respondents evaluate the survey better, nor are they more likely to become a member of the panel when asked at the end of the survey. We conclude with a discussion of autoforwarding in web surveys and methods to attract smartphone users to web surveys.

Methods, data, analyses, 13, 1-16