Online Focus Groups

Focus groups consist of multiple participants sharing their opinions. Rightfully popular within qualitative research, the study method brings a few critical strengths to market outreach.

  • Variance: Focus groups may concentrate on specific products or content, but the opinions can be diverse as possible. From selecting a market to expanding one, focus groups allow R&D to consider their full range of options.

  • Consensus: Gathering insight is important, yes, but so is finding popular consensus. Doing so alerts researchers to the most pertinent trends and expectations within their markets.

  • Controls: Setting and interaction are incredibly important when gathering information. Focus groups allow researchers to become more creative with their study controls, including interaction and feedback.

How Online Focus Groups Bring More to R&D

In-person, online focus groups became a must during COVID and are now firmly in the tool kit of insights and CX professionals – both brands and agencies. Specific benefits really depend on the service, however. At Discuss.io we hone our platform to make the setup, execution and sharing of insights from Online Focus Groups as easy as possible. Folks that were forced to use Zoom or Teams in the short term, but then discovered Discuss.io dramatically improved their mental health because we are built specifically for consumer intimacy conversations.

Size

Traditional focus groups typically limit participation to a dozen persons or less. Accommodation, time, and a bearable pace are all prime reasons for these confines. Online, we recommend smaller groups – maximum 6 with 2 backups. Larger groups create an opportunity for 1 or 2 people to dominate the conversation while smaller groups allow for deeper exploration.

Brands and agencies working through Discuss.io can have more focus groups with smaller sizes and get higher quality feedback.  Our agile approach means that you can evolve the discussion guide, update/change the panel make-up, control feedback, introduce select stimulus, and share highlights. Such capabilities make paid online focus groups particularly excellent for quant/qual hybrid research.

Participation

Geography and budget limit who traditional focus groups can include. No such problems exist online, enabling organizations to better pursue their true targets. Discuss.io sources from a worldwide pool of over 20 million volunteers, great for investigating current markets and expanding into new ones. The online approach means that you can reach a more diverse audience, hard to recruit respondents (rural and single parents that work in particular) and over 100 countries without flying there.

Just as important is the inclusion of executives or different functional groups as observers. We see a lot of really great conversations happen in our back room chat between people that are anonymously watching consumers in real-time. Ideas are sparked, questions can be sent to the moderator and topics can be explored in real-time – while the executives stay in their office. The power of this experience is tremendous.

Accommodation

Online focus groups enable researchers to dodge costly facility rentals, temp hires, and jet lag. Even more importantly, Discuss.io and similar platforms bypass such inconveniences without discomforting participants. Far from it, in fact. Our cloud-based platform allows focus group members to share from wherever they choose and in fact, we see a deeper level of intimacy with online consumers because they are talking to you from the comfort of their own home vs a sterile facility..

Analysis

Processing and analyzing data is at the heart of all qualitative research. Traditional focus groups are perfectly capable of recording sessions, yes, but doing so requires familiarity with a range of equipment and computer programs.  Platforms like Discuss.io include a comprehensive set of tools, minimizing processing time and complexity. Search through video archives via synchronized transcripts, cut video clips, add feedback notes, and more from wherever.

Online platforms can provide either automatic transcriptions and translations or we can bring-in a transcription/translation resource for a 100% accuracy. Connecting the transcript with the discussion guide and  important points in the video mean you go from interview to insights much more quickly.

Time

Along with costly, traditional focus groups also require months of advanced scheduling. Travel, lodging, facility rentals, and coordination with participants all take their toll on timing. Not good, as markets shift at increasingly fast rates. Months turn into days using Discuss.io. Our system arranges studies in little as 48 hours, the fastest within the industry. You can turn a project from price quote to recruiting to execution and analysis in as little as a few days, but more realistically 1-2 weeks. Compare this to the 1-2 months for in-person.

Key Takeaways

Our world has changed and we are now digital first. Delivered restaurant food, shopping, telemedicine, etc. is the new normal as is the connection with consumers through online focus groups and IDI’s.