In college, I was a broke student working $7.45 an hour as a part-timer. So you can just imagine my excitement when I learned that I could earn as much as $30 to $40 just by participating in focus groups.
Though there were some bumps on the road for me, I eventually found a legit firm that helped me earn over $2000 in over 30 paid research studies over the course of 15 years.
Sounds good, right? Stan’s Gigs could help you do that too.
You could learn more about paid focus groups in my guide. In the meantime, let me tell you about the benefits of online focus groups.
What Is an Online Focus Group?
An online focus group is defined by DJS Research as “groups of respondents (usually 8 to 10) who are encouraged to discuss and debate a specific topic via the internet.”
Focus groups are companies’ ways of testing the waters and looking into complicated ideas before investing in a product or service to be offered.
Revising the product’s properties based on the respondent’s claims helps them avoid costly mistakes that may have looked good on the drawing board but falls short in practice.
Conversely, they may also focus and improve on the product’s existing strengths.
Companies put a lot of attention on focus groups. Senior research analyst Tim Gell said that companies may spend around $4000 to $12000 on average for a focus group project.
They spend time looking for people like you who may fit very specific criteria. All you have to do is be honest in answering their questions and provide some meaningful insights for the betterment of their potential product or service.
Tereza Kritickova of Research by Design outlined three general types of online focus group discussions: video chat, text chat, and bulletin boards.
You can think of video chats as virtual focus group discussions. They are useful in cases wherein face-to-face interactions are needed to be as close to the traditional focus groups as possible.
Text chats are useful when face-to-face interactions are not as needed or not preferred due to the sensitivity of the topic. If it’s the latter, this type of online discussion is usually held in a tightly-controlled online environment. The limited access is actually a benefit here, as long as it doesn’t hinder participant interaction.
In addition, text chats, even with the lack of facial expressions, can also be especially useful when researchers want to provide their respondents with more anonymity to battle certain biases.
Lastly, we have bulletin boards that are preferred when the online focus group involves a high number of participants or if the discussions involve more than one session.
There are times when online focus group types can be categorized according to other factors, such as their target audience, focus group format, or even their focus group setting.
As for how they work, online focus groups are generally structured with a focus group facilitator (or moderator), you (the thoroughly-screened focus group participant or respondent), and the optional client observer should a moderator from a third-party research company be hired.
You will be asked various things about a certain product, such as your initial impressions, impressions after use, likes, and dislikes, and other questions related to your answers.
The moderator will try to be as detailed in their questioning as possible to ensure its comprehensiveness. On average, online focus groups may last anywhere between 30 minutes to four hours.
Benefits of Online Focus Groups
Here are the top five advantages of online focus groups:
Distance Is No Longer That Big of a Deal
While traditional focus groups usually happen in a face-to-face setting where respondents are usually limited to the city where the discussion will take place, virtual focus groups help target more qualified respondents in broader areas where they wouldn’t be able to attend otherwise.
This also favors the researchers since it makes respondents like you less congested to a specific area, making the population more representative of their desired sample.
You Can Act More Naturally in Online Focus Groups
Compared to face to face discussions, where you have more fear of being judged when faced with a difficult or polarizing question, online focus groups put you in a more comfortable place of your own choosing, making you answer more naturally and truthfully.
Social desirability bias (a type of bias that makes us want to blend in), kicks in less when more anonymity is placed on the respondents leading to even deeper insights from them.
It Saves Time for You and the Researchers
Online focus groups generally don’t require you to go anywhere else as long as you have a reliable internet connection.
Travel time would be virtually eliminated, making the entire process faster and the data-gathering process more fluid.
It Costs Less Money
Cutting off transportation, facility, and other logistical expenses for both the respondents and the researchers could save the program lots of money, especially if the focus groups last more than one session.
This could also translate to more payoff for you.
Meeting Software Provides Additional Functions Useful to Research
Some meeting applications have built-in recording functions, questioning devices, and other stuff that make the transitions between discussions much more seamless.
Shared online bulletin boards in a high number of online focus groups are useful since they can be edited remotely with the revisions disseminated in real-time.
Raw data from sessions are also easily translated into digestible figures.
Sales are the lifeblood of every company, and to ensure a stable number of sales, companies must know how to listen to consumers like you and what specifics you prefer.
In this regard, focus group sessions are responsible for bringing out some of the most innovative services and products over the last century.
The majority of the most successful companies that you see now are results of consumer-based ideations that proved to have hit the consumers’ sweet spot. That’s how powerful focus groups are.
Now that you know the benefits of online focus groups, let me know if you are interested in taking part in one by signing up for my newsletter.
Stan’s Gigs is dedicated to providing you with the latest lineup of online focus group studies
from trusted companies, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Who knows? Maybe your valuable consumer insights can significantly impact the next product that will shake the world.
I am a father to a beautiful baby girl, a husband and a serial gigster 🙂 I live in Toronto, Canada. My claim to fame: I made thousands of dollars from focus groups and surveys over the last 15 years. Studied Marketing in Ryerson Univerity and worked in Marketing and Marketing Research for the last 14 years+ My mission is to educate others how to be successful with side hustles. You can contact my be email or on Facebook.