4 Market Research Alternatives to Phone Surveys | Market Research Firm

Let’s face it. Thanks to spam calls, caller ID, and the decreased use of landline phones, phone surveys are more time-consuming and costly than other market research types.

For this reason, our market research company is consistently recommending alternative research methods to phone surveys.

While the use of phone surveys has dramatically changed, it also led to the increased use of other online market research methods! This includes online surveys, online interviews, in-home usage tests (IHUTs), and mobile ethnography research.

Learn more about how each of these market research methods can be used in place of phone surveys. Plus, these alternatives may even be completed more quickly and less costly than phone surveys too! So it’s basically a win-win.

4 Market Research Alternatives to Phone Surveys | Market Research Firm


Alternative to Phone Surveys #1: Online Surveys

Online surveys are a great way to gather information, measure key performance indicators, and track changes. 

Best practices for online surveys are to include up to 25 questions. It should take respondents roughly 5 minutes or less to complete. Additionally, our market research firm recommends offering an incentive or raffle for participating. 

Rewards for participating in an online survey can vary. For example, our clients have offered respondents a chance to win one of five $50 gift cards or $5 Amazon gift cards for each respondent.

There are many advantages to conducting online surveys as opposed to phone surveys.

Fieldwork can be completed more quickly, and there are more effective ways to target a specific audience online rather than by phone. 

This helps drive down the cost of online surveys compared to phone surveys.

Learn more about how online surveys work.


Alternative to Phone Surveys #2: Online Interviews

A reason Drive Research would recommend a phone survey over an online survey is that online surveys miss the ability to ask strategic follow-up questions.

If your organization is looking for a qualitative market research method, online interviews are a great alternative to phone surveys. 

The most significant differences are: 

  • Online interviews use an interview guide rather than a survey 
  • There are fewer participants
  • The conversation is longer and more in-depth
  • All participants are given an incentive 

Again, incentives for participating in an online interview can vary based on the project budget. However, because more is asked of participants, the reward is often larger than it is for responding to an online survey.

Depending on the length of the interview and participant qualifications, an incentive can range from $50 to $300 for each individual.

How long does an online interview project take?

The time needed to complete an online interview project is likely similar to a phone survey project. The process for phone surveys includes designing the survey and then dialing. 

However, for online interviews, the process includes designing a screener, designing interview guides, recruiting participants, and then completing the online interviews. 

Learn more about how online interviews work.


Alternative to Phone Surveys #3: In-Home Usage Tests 

Rather than just talking about a product or service, in-home usage tests (IHUTs) could be used in place of a phone survey. IHUTs ask participants to use a product or service and then provide their feedback over a specific period of time. 

For this type of project, participants qualify through an online survey, are confirmed over the phone, and then are sent the product or the service is scheduled. 

Throughout the in-home usage test, participants are asked to complete online surveys to provide their feedback about the product or service. The number of testers can also range from 10 or less to 100 or more!

How long does an in-home usage test take?

IHUT projects will likely take longer to complete than a phone survey. This is because participants need to qualify and confirm their participation before the product is sent or service is scheduled.

Depending on the research goals, the test could last between a few days to a few months.

Check out our ultimate guide to IHUTs.


Alternative to Phone Surveys #4: Mobile Ethnography

Last but not least, mobile ethnography is another great way to harness the benefits of online research.

This research asks participants to give real-time feedback such as written responses, pictures, or videos when doing a certain task.

For example, a shoe brand wants to learn about shopping experiences at a department store.

A market research firm, like Drive Research, can recruit participants to visit their local department store and provide their feedback in real-time as they shop for shoes. 

Similar to the process for IHUTs and online interviews, mobile ethnography research includes qualifying participants online, confirming participation over the phone, and then providing the tasks to participants.

The number of participants can range from 10 or less to 100 or more depending on project objectives and budget.

How long does a mobile ethnography project take?

Mobile ethnography projects likely take longer to complete than a phone survey due to the screening, re-screening, and the length of fieldwork.

The length of fieldwork could range from a few days to a few weeks. 

Learn more about mobile ethnography.


Looking for more alternatives to phone surveys? Contact Drive Research.

Drive Research is a full-service market research company. Our experts provide organizations across the country with end to end project management and consumer insights. 

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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