This blog post highlights the what, how, and why of online focus groups. Online focus groups are a growing trend in the market research industry because of the ability to deliver cost-effective qualitative insights in a quicker amount of time. With online focus groups there is no dealing with the hassle of logistics surrounding normal focus groups (booking facilities, booking in-person travel, etc.)
What are Online Focus Groups?
Online focus groups are exactly how they sound. They are focus groups and they are completed online. Easy to understand right? Instead of recruiting groups of participants to hold in-person discussions around a table with a focus group moderator, participants are recruited into an online forum where they share their feedback, thoughts, and answers to questions as a group. Participants also react to others answers to create a qualitative dialogue within the forum.
Searching for an Online Focus Group Company? Read more about the what, how, and why of online focus groups and contact us at Drive Research if you have more questions.
How Do Online Focus Groups Work?
The process is similar to a typical focus group, however the group is held virtually. Participants are recruited as they normally would be (through phone lists, panels, social media, etc.) and are asked to join an online focus group. The forum could last as short as 1 day but many last several days to give participants ample time to voice feedback.
Participants who are recruited are provided a passcode and link to register on the online focus group site. Moderators create and ask questions much like a normal focus group. Many of them can be pre-scheduled so they are shared across days at different times. Participants then log in and answer those questions, provide ratings, and even record video responses to questions. After providing their answer they are then shown others responses and are encouraged to respond to feedback from fellow participants.
The online focus group company and moderator can assign observers or viewers to the board. Here, the moderator grants access to observers or clients who can go in and review answers and comments from participants. Most platforms allow the observer to write comments on the forum which can only be seen by the moderator. This allows the moderator to follow-up with participant questions based on specific asks from observers.
This prevents the online focus group company from having too many cooks in the kitchen placing comments on the bulletin board. Participants are paid at the conclusion of the focus groups with a reward (gift card, points, etc.) Online focus group sizes range from 10 to 30+ depending on the size and scope of the market research objectives.
Many online focus group companies recommend over-recruiting a bit. So if you'd like 20 people to complete all phases of the focus group, sometimes 25 or 30 need to be recruited to account for drop-out. This is much like a normal focus group. In those situations if your company wants to sit 8 participants, firms will recruit 10+.
Why Are Online Focus Groups Chosen?
They are chosen for several reasons. Most of the drivers to choice revolve around cost savings, time savings, and no recruitment limitations. Each of these is discussed in more detail below.
Benefit 1: Cost Savings
The first is cost savings. Without the need to book a focus group facility or send a large team cross-country to moderate and analyze a session, online focus groups can significantly reduce the overhead on a qualitative project. There is no project management time around booking or securing several aspects of the in-person groups.
Benefit 2: Time Savings
Another reason is time savings. Without any logistics or travel time, the moderator and team can be more efficient spending time reacting to answers and designing strong questions. Because everything is not jam-packed into a 2-hour session, it gives the client and moderator more time to digest the findings and adjust follow-up questions.
Benefit 3: No Limitations
Another reason is there are no limitations with recruits. If you are looking for a nationally representative sample you no longer have to select 2 or 3 cities in the U.S. to host the focus groups. Your online focus group sample can be made up of participants from Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston, Syracuse, and more.
Geography doesn't matter as it would with a facility where you'd need to find participants close by to show up. No one is going to drive from Atlanta to Syracuse to attend a focus group for $100.
Contact Our Online Focus Group Company
Drive Research is an online focus group company located in Syracuse, NY. We have the ability to conduct online focus groups across the country and recruit from any market or audience you need. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 315-303-2040 if you have any questions.