What’s the difference between offline mobile survey apps vs. mobile-web surveys?

There seems to be a good deal of confusion between mobile survey solutions with online and offline capabilities. We’re finding a good deal of misinformation on the web with online survey companies purporting to have a mobile survey app, but what they really have is a mobile-web solution. Market research survey consumers need to understand the difference between the two. At Opinionmeter we provide both solutions but each serves very different purposes and each has unique advantages and disadvantages. In the table below I’ll outline some of these advantages and disadvantages for each survey solution.

Simply put, a mobile-web survey is an online survey running within a mobile browser. By definition, online surveys require an online connection and fail when connectivity is lost, or slow down when bandwidth is limited. Here is a link to a recent video tutorial on launching mobile-web surveys by scanning a QR code.


Unlike a mobile-web survey running in a browser, a mobile survey app is an application that is installed on the device. Being a native application residing on the device, mobile research apps provide many rich features mobile-web solution cannot provide This is because the mobile survey apps can access the operating system’s (OS) API’s which control functionality like accessing the device’s microphone (recording verbatim comments) or the device’s camera (for appending video or pictures to the survey), or tracking location services and time duration (GPS location of when and where the survey was taken).

Mobile survey app – offline survey app



Native app can access OS API’s for rich feature functionality such as microphone, camera, GPS, accelerometer, etc. Must first download the mobile survey app to use. This is perfectly fine for business users, but consumers need a compelling reason to download an app!
Much faster speed – no connectivity required to transition between pages
Offline survey capabilities – can function without needing connectivity
Customization – extensive customization available
Ability to White-label  survey app
Can distribute surveys in a myriad of ways: Push notification, Pull survey using survey code, or by Location services, etc.


Mobile-web survey – online survey optimized for mobile browser



No need to first download a survey app to use. Dependent on connectivity to work
Can use tinyURL or QR code to launch survey at Point-of-Experience Limited functionality  – no access to device OS or API’s for rich application features


  1. Antoine says:

    Thanks for the thorough comparison between the native App versus web App for survey. Also, one of the advantage of Mobile-web survey his the ability tu run across all platforms versus the need to have one native app for each platforms.

    An easy test would be to compare survey monkey on mobile versus using Datafield native mobile application

    Antoine @ Datafieldapp

    • Thanks Antoine,

      Yes, indeed – that is another major advantage to mobile-web. It really depends on the feature functionality required by the survey instrument… if it’s a simple survey with no advanced requirements and connectivity is guaranteed, then mobile-web is an alternative. Regardless, speed from page to page will always be slower with mobile-web than with a mobile app. We’re also evaluating HTML 5.0 which has some offline promise, but so far quite limited. There’s definitely a place for native survey apps as well as mobile web!


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