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It’s near impossible to develop an effective marketing website without first understanding what it is that visitors to that site would be trying to accomplish. Qualaroo, which makes survey software for marketers, has spent the last year addressing this funnel conversion problem on the desktop Web. Today, the company is making the move to the tiny screen with the launch of Qualaroo for Mobile Web.

Like the majority of Web companies we cover here at PandoDaily, Qualaroo has seen its clients’ audience shift dramatically from the desktop Web to mobile over the last two years, according to founder and CEO Sean Ellis. Today, more than 30 percent of most companies’ traffic comes from smartphones and tablets he says, a number that is widely expected to increase in the near term. With this shift comes the need for customer insight tools for the mobile Web comparable to those developers and marketers already rely on for the desktop.

And there’s the problem. In a statement released this morning, the company writes:

In a recent survey conducted by Qualaroo, 89 percent of professionals responsible for the mobile Web experiences of their companies said that they cannot or do not target surveys specifically to mobile visitors. However, 61 percent of the same group agreed that a mobile Web user’s needs differ from those of their desktop counterparts.

Ellis knows a thing or two about using product design to drive customer satisfaction, engagement, and ultimately conversion. As the author of the Startup-marketing.com blog, Ellis is known as one of the original “growth hackers” and was previously the head of marketing at LogMeIn and Uproar from launch to IPO, and led marketing initially at Dropbox, Lookout, and Xobni.

Qualaroo mobile surveys are opt-in and are designed to limit distraction and keep users “on task and on page,” the company says. These surveys appear as unobtrusive and natively branded screen overlays, rather than taking the common tactic of opening a new tab. They are also adaptive to the device on which they are served.

“Our products always start with delivering a positive end-user experience while helping our customers better understand their visitors,” Ellis said in today’s statement.

Qualaroo Screenshots

The newly launched mobile surveys are also typically more limited in scope than Qualaroo’s competitors’ mobile products, by design. For example, ForeseeResults standard mobile survey has 35 questions and opens in a new tab, according to Ellis. There’s little arguing that this is entirely too distracting for an on-the-go consumer. Further, ForeseeResults is priced at more than $10,000 per year as compared to Qualaroo’s $2,400 annual cost.

On the other hand,  SurveyMonkey, the 800 pound gorilla in the desktop Web survey category, doesn’t offer a comparable mobile solution.

Qualaroo integrates with Google Analytics and uses the data gathered through the platform to offer clients insights into the most effective strategies for deploying mobile customer surveys. For example, it may be that introducing a survey after a site visitor arrives at their third page or has spent more than 3 minutes on-site reduces churn and leads to the most thoughtful and valuable survey answers. The analytics data also enables companies to target their surveys to specific demographics.

A number of large enterprises have used Qualaroo’s mobile survey product in private beta, including U.S. News & World Report, Logitech, and Hispanic-focused local search destination YaSabe.com, which sees more than 50 percent of its traffic come from mobile devices. The company’s existing desktop clients include Amazon, Intuit, Groupon, Starbucks, WordPress.com, Putman Media, and others.

Qualaroo saw its revenue grow by 25 percent month-over-month for the first six months of this year, and has only slightly slowed since that time with its focus shifting to completing this new mobile offering, Ellis says.

The company raised $5.5 million in financing in January 2011 from Polaris Ventures, True Ventures, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, and 500 Startups in January 2011. (It was named CatchFree at the time.) Ellis indicates that the company is near cash-flow positive and still has a significant portion of this capital remaining, meaning that further fundraising is unlikely. Qualaroo, which is split between Orange County and Burlingame, California, has also fielded multiple serious acquisition offers, according to its CEO, but remains too bullish on the opportunity in front of them to exit immediately.

In addition to offering software tools, Qualaroo is getting into the content, Ellis says. The company plans to transition its current blog to the domain GrowthHackers.com (not yet active) and will continue offering educational content like the recently released Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).

“A lot of people are doing content marketing as a ‘tactic,’” Ellis says. “We want to be in the content business, and plan to produce a large number of case studies, white papers, and blog posts around the topic. No one is very big right now in this category – for example, there’s nothing more than 2,500 words on marketingprofs.”

Content on GrowthHackers.com will be free and ad-supported, according to Ellis. Initially, much of the content on the site will be aggregated, and over time the strategy will shift to crowdsourcing a larger percentage original content from Ellis’ network of domain experts, the founder explains.

Ellis knows first hand the challenges of converting website visitors into paying customers. He’s has baked more than a decade of marketing and product design experience into the Qualaroo product. The company’s timing appears to be ideal as well, given the current surge in mobile traffic and the scrambling among companies to efficiently monetize that audience.

[Image via GrowthAndHack]