Email Sampling: How Mobile Will Change the Industry

Nov 27, 2012 | Uncategorized

By Patrick Comer

Panels are dead, long live panels! As early as 2008, various companies have declared that email based panels were going away only to be replaced by routing, river sampling, social media sampling, and mobile.   Having seen the transition from phone to online to router, river, and now exchange platforms, such as Fulcrum, I’ve noticed the continued value of email panels, even as these new technologies and recruitment options have developed.


Recently, mobile research and sampling are all the rage as suggested by uSamp CEO, Matt Dusig, in Email Sampling Is Dead: Long Live The Web (and mobile)!


Inspired by Matt, over the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought a lot about mobile respondents, apps, and research and decided to pull some data directly from Fulcrum (our open sample distribution platform).  In the past 12 months, almost 50 million respondents passed through Fulcrum across 211 countries, thousands of surveys, and hundreds of panel companies and suppliers.


Here’s the global growth of mobile respondents (including tablets):



Includes organic mobile responders to non-mobile surveys

That’s 110% YoY growth of mobile responders to 350,000 per month.  But the real question is how mobile responders are recruited to surveys – via email or other methods? To answer this, we split mobile responders between “web” and “email” based sourcing:



Respondents using their panel based email to start a survey on their mobile device remains a constant 30%.


Finally, we can look at all respondents, regardless of their survey taking method (PC or mobile), to examine the general trends in web vs. email sourcing:




The trendline for email respondents is flat.


It seems to be that mobile sourcing and email aren’t mutually exclusive in terms of how respondents choose to start surveys.  It will be interesting to see if most mobile respondents will attempt surveys via their mobile browsers or directly ‘in-app’ a la uSamp and others.   The mobile future is upon us but doesn’t necessarily spell the death of traditional email based panels.


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