US Insights

Does your mobile device distract you?

Stefan Kuegler

Director of Mobile and Online Research

Mobile 05.18.2015 / 09:40

Girls and mobile phone Sennep

At least 40% of respondents have something else going on while completing a survey online

Does the distraction induced by mobile devices impact a survey respondent's attention?

Mobile brings a world of distraction, whether these are distractions of our own making or ones that happen to us. Either way, the mobile device - whether a smartphone, phablet or tablet, or wearable tech - can stretch the attention of even the most dedicated survey taker. And so, we survey administrators need to be careful with the balance between distraction and attention.

The market research industry runs on trust. Our clients trust us to provide valuable and accurate data so they can draw the insights they need and make the correct business decisions. We, in turn, trust our respondents to pay attention during a survey and provide honest and accurate answers.

Key Numbers

  • 99% of our mobile survey respondents passed the "attention" question in Mexico
  • 96% passed it in Brazil

We will never be able to eliminate all distractions. They are a part of life and we have to understand their impact rather than fight against them.

Across a wide range of studies in different countries, we have found that at least 40% of people have something going on while they are completing a survey on laptop or PC device. When they are completing a survey on a smartphone or tablet, this rate of distraction can increase by 10% to 20%, depending on the country.

We undertook a study to deliberately distract our respondents and see how their attention was impacted. While we were concerned about inviting behavior we don't want from respondents, as it was in the name of research, we continued on. We felt it was important to understand the relationship between distraction and attention.

The study was run jointly with Millward Brown in LATAM nations Mexico and Brazil. The study introduced different types of distraction to the respondents. For a simple 12-minute survey with multiple distractions included (and spotted by respondents), we saw that attention levels were still high. In some cases, we were accused of not trusting the respondents - so the trust is still high as well.

We compared both PC and mobile respondents. There were only small differences between the two attention levels even though the number of distractions was higher for the mobile respondents. Between 30% and 50% of respondents had something distracting, but their attention remained high.

Mobile does increase distraction - we are all aware of that. We can only ask that respondents continue to do their best. So far, they continue to give sufficient attention to surveys. We need to make sure that the distractions don't become too loud and drown out our questions - and we can accomplish this by continuing to keep our surveys engaging and relevant.

Source: Lightspeed

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