How to Find Participants for Remote Focus Groups

Remote focus groups are a unique and trending qualitative research method. Similar to in-person focus groups, online focus groups allow a group of like-individuals to discuss a topic in-depth. 

With online focus groups, geographical barriers are eliminated. This means opinions can be heard from participants around the world. 

With in-person focus groups, location can be an issue if the audience you’re trying to target has a low incidence rate within that specific market. 

Remote or video focus groups, on the other hand, allow qualitative recruitment teams to target audiences on a broader level, meaning quotas are a lot more likely to be met. 

Drive Research, a qualitative recruitment company, specializes in recruiting for both remote and traditional focus groups. In this blog post, we will share how we find participants for this type of market research to ensure a mix of qualified, articulate participants and a good show rate. 

How to Find Participants for Remote Focus Groups

Trying to find qualified participants for an upcoming remote focus group? Use our market research firm’s inside tips for easy qualitative recruiting.


Start with an online screener 

Just like with a traditional, in-person focus group, Drive Research starts with an online recruitment screener to form a pool of pre-screened and potentially qualified participants. 

The screener is then sent to members of the target audience through an email panel or advertised via social media. Either recruitment method allows you to target participants who closely align with any screening criteria you may have - such as gender, age, household income, purchasing history, etc.

Although the recruitment screener is sent to a specific audience, this initial survey is built to ask the essential qualifying information. This helps give your team a list of prequalified participants to follow-up with, rather than just starting blind with a random sample of people. 

Here are 5 tips when recruiting for qualitative research.  


Follow-up with a phone call 

Once a list of pre-screened participants has been formed, our qualitative recruitment team adds another layer of qualification through a follow-up phone call. 

During follow-up phone calls for the remote focus group, you should: 

  • Confirm major qualifying criteria - it’s easier to tell if someone is lying over the phone as opposed to an online survey
  • Ask any questions not asked in the online screener
  • Ask open-ended questions to confirm the participant is a good fit for the online focus group

Provide clear instructions for the online focus group 

Once a participant is qualified and registered, it’s important for the recruiter to provide a clear explanation of exactly how the online focus group will work. 

With a traditional in-person approach, it is easy to share with participants where the focus group facility is located and what time they should arrive.

However, there are more steps and access to technology to confirm with the participant before the day of the online focus groups.

Our qualitative recruitment team goes over this with the participant during the follow-up phone call, in a confirmation email, and throughout our reminder communications. 

During the follow-up phone call

First, the recruiter should make sure the participant has either a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet with a webcam and microphone and internet access. 

Without a device with such equipment, participating in an online focus group would be impossible. The recruiter will also explain that they should have a quiet place to be for the entire duration of the group discussion.

To ensure the participant is prepared, you should also explain the logistics of the remote focus group such as the software you’ll be using, how participants should join the group, and when/how they’ll receive payment (if an incentive was promised). 

Sending the confirmation email

After explaining how the remote focus group will work, the recruiter will send a confirmation email shortly after the phone call. 

The email will contain all of the important information discussed during the phone call, such as:

  • Date and time
  • Expectations
  • The link to join the focus group
  • Any other terms and conditions

The participant must reply to the email with a “yes” to confirm their seat in the online focus group and agree to the terms and conditions. 

Drive Research’s key to success: Reminder calls and texts 

Drive Research completes reminder calls the day before the group and sends out reminder texts the day of. In our experience, these reminders are essential to a perfect show rate for remote focus groups. 

During the reminder calls and texts, the recruiter is given another opportunity to explain the logistics of the online focus group and answer any questions. 

Typically, we’ll remind participants they need to log on 10 minutes early to avoid any technical difficulties, to be in a quiet place for the entire discussion, and to use a desktop or laptop with internet access, camera/webcam, and microphone.


Contact Drive Research

Conduct online focus groups? Need to find participants who are a good fit for the study? Our market research company can help with all aspects of your remote focus group.

Let’s talk! 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

Focus Groups Qualitative Recruiting