US-Based Mobile Survey Platform GeoPoll Expands Into Botswana, Finds Nike Most Beloved International Brand

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

 

U.S.-based mobile survey platform GeoPoll has expanded its presence in Southern Africa, launching operations in Botswana.

The company was already working in South Africa, and now adds the country’s northern neighbor to its list of African countries in which it conducts custom research studies.

As part of the Botswana launch, GeoPoll produced a report on the top brands and biggest social challenges in Botswana.

Local clothing brand All Kasi is one of the top most-admired brands in Botswana, and Nike is the most loved international brand, according to the report.

GeoPoll took just three days to gather the research via text messages and complete the data analysis throughout Botswana, according to Mmegi.

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“In some countries in Africa, there are more cell phones than people so the cell phone is the defacto form of infrastructure and the hub of economic and social life for many people,” former GeoPoll CEO Steve Gutterman told AFKInsider in a 2014 interview. “Subsequently reaching people through their mobile device is far more efficient than trying to reach them through any other means.”

GeoPoll’s mobile survey platform gathers data through text message surveys. The number of people participating in the mobile surveys is “statistically significant,” Gutterman said — several thousand per country.

The Denver-based market research company figured out the best way to survey hard-to-reach African populations was not with the traditional pen and paper, but with text messages and SMS.

Text and SMS are cheaper, faster, and the mobile technology helps GeoPoll’s customers learn anything from consumer preferences to aid needs.

GeoPoll claims to be the world’s largest mobile survey platform, thanks to a network of 200 million users in Africa and Asia.

Adding Botswana to its supported list of African countries means that media owners, brands, market research agencies, and international development organizations can collect fast, reliable data through mobile phone research in Botswana.

Its mobile survey platform has been present in Africa since 2014. GeoPoll operates in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Guinea, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia, in addition to its new market, Botswana.

Partnering with local mobile operators to conduct the research, GeoPoll works with Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and governments to provide insights on everything from food security to brand preference.

Recent GeoPoll research in Africa has included topics such as  Facebook’s effect on African e-commerce, the most popular digital advertising campaigns and TV’s influence on African consumer spending.

Until GeoPoll’s arrival, gathering robust, near-real-time data from Africa was slow and expensive in a continent notoriously lacking access to quality data.

GeoPoll’s features include sample targeting by age, gender, and location. Question types include multiple choice, select-all-that-apply, and open-ended. The system supports complex survey designs including survey routing or skip logic.

GeoPoll is a division of Mobile Accord, a mobile platform company powering communication for social good.  It is a member of the Corporate Council On Africa and the Society for International Development.

In 2014, GeoPoll rolled out the first-ever overnight TV ratings in five African markets, timed to coincide with the FIFA World Cup.

Its real-time mobile survey platform started in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana. GeoPoll’s competitors include large market research firms Nielsen, WPP and Ipsos.

GeoPoll customers have included the U.N. World Food Program, USAID, World Bank, African Development Bank, soft drink and consumer electronics firms, and other brands and market research firms.

GeoPoll has competed with companies whose names are far more famous, including Nielsen, Ipsos and GFK, the world’s No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4-largest market research organisations.

GeoPoll’s first African survey was conducted in 2011 in the Democratic Republic of Congo for World Bank.

“(World Bank) came to us and said it was going to cost them $3.5 million to survey 1,500 people. That was crazy,” former CEO Gutterman said in a 2014 AFKInsider report. “In the DRC, you can have two villages separated by a river and you can’t get from A to B. The bank said, ‘Can you do better?’ We said ‘Yes.’”

GeoPoll sent a survey to 350,000 people in DRC on a single day at a cost of about $10 per respondent, which is significantly lower than average, Gutterman said — the average price in the industry at the time began at around $50 per respondent.

GeoPoll has offices in Denver, Washington, D.C. and Nairobi.

Moguldom editor Dana Sanchez contributed to this report.