Have you ever wondered who thought those TV commercials were a good idea? Are you a person that enjoys taking paid surveys, but you do not feel like they are paid enough to be worth the time? Somewhere between the concept and the final edits, it is likely that focus groups were involved.
Focus groups are similar to paid surveys that you have taken, but they are usually a lot more in-depth and, what is most important, they pat a ton more money.
From paid surveys, you should not expect more than a few bucks for your time. But, with focus groups, you can sometimes earn anywhere from $50 to $100+ for your participation. The amount that you can make often depends on the length of the focus group.
The focus group facilitators try to find out what the ordinary consumer thinks of a product or service, whether the product is already in stores or it is still on the drawing board. By taking just a sample from a specific demographic, researchers, together with developers, can tweak their tactics to target their audience as carefully as possible.
And, for some average consumers, participating in focus groups can lead to just a little extra cash.
What are Focus Groups? Are they more exclusive than paid surveys?
Focus groups can vary in size and type. Most of them provide some compensation – a check in the mail, as well as a PayPal deposit or even a gift card. The more formal the focus group is, the more you can expect to be paid. If it is well-paid, nearby and does not conflict with any of your appointments, you will for sure participate in a more extended focus group.
Focus groups are also more exclusive than paid surveys. Lots of times the market research company conducting the focus group is going to have a very specific demographic they need. Even more specific than what you will find with paid surveys. It makes sense. If they are going to pay out the big bucks, they will need to know that they are getting opinions from the right people.
A lot of focus group facilitation companies are turning to online tools for their work, which makes participation even more accessible for many candidates. A significant portion of the work that you are doing as a participant takes place before you reliable in an actual focus group.
Marketing, as well as research teams, seek people from specific demographics for their focus groups. So be prepared to answer a lot of different questions before you are offered a spot.
Focus groups can be done online like paid surveys, and this is sometimes possible via chat. But, not all of the time, in fact, the majority of focus groups requires either in-person or telephone participation.
In-person participation works in a way that most likely, you will have to join a group of other people for a round-table conversation at a location in your living place. There will be a moderator that will ask you precise questions about the product or the service that they need feedback on. When ending the discussion, you will be awarded the amount that you were promised as thanks for your participation.
How can you know if a focus group request is legitimate?
Here is a list of legitimate companies which regularly conduct focus groups.
- 20|20 Research is a company that hosts online and in-person groups in Nashville, Miami, and Charlotte. Live focus groups usually involve 8 to 10 people who discuss with a moderator.
- Focuscope is a company that serves the Chicago area but has recently added Atlanta-based projects to its offerings too. The opportunities in this company range from standard focus groups to taste tests and in-home studies. The participants can earn $75 to $250 for participating.
- Mindswarms is a company that permits participants to log in online and submits answers to surveys via webcam. After successfully submitting responses, which usually takes an hour, participants receive $50 via PayPal.
- Shugoll Research is a company that hosts focus groups in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Their focus groups often consist of about 10 participants, and those that are qualified applicants can expect to be invited to take part in a focus group once or twice per year.
- Mediabarn Research – even though in-person studies take place in Arlington, Virginia, remote participants can participate in online focus groups. The participation takes about one or two hours, and compensation varies too.
Some other companies are Adler-Weiner Research, Aim Research, Athena Research, Atkins Research, Brand Institute, Consumer Opinion Services, FieldWork, Focus Room, Hagen Sinclair, Research, Metroline – For Canadians and possibly US, Nichols Research, Probe Market.
Is it finding local focus groups hard?
Generally, the market research companies have focus groups going on all over at different times. And, even if a focus group is not being held inside your town, just a little bit of a road trip may be worth it if the compensation is high enough.
The best way to know when focus groups are being held in or near your place is to register yourself with a few different companies which conduct focus groups, search Craigslist and via a site which is called Find Focus Groups.
Things to remember.
First of all, some companies are going only to let you participate in one or two of their focus groups per year, no matter how many they have open. This is why it is very significant to be registered with more than just one company if you want to be able to do these on a regular basis.
The second thing to keep on mind is that this is not going to be dependable income, as you never know how often you are going to get to do it. So, you have to be glad to get to participate when you can and enjoy whatever your incentive is.
The third thing to remember – if you live in a rural area, you may not be able to participate very frequently. As we already mentioned, if the compensation is enough, you may find it worth driving to attend. Sometimes, you may also luck out and find an online or telephone focus group you qualify for.
Do you want to sign up for focus groups?
If you are interested in making a few extra bucks by sharing your opinions, register with one of the companies which we already mentioned. One note of caution as you look for focus groups near you: commercials that ask you to pay a fee for access to focus groups are often scams. A credible company will ask you to pay to participate.
Have you participated in focus groups? What is your experience with them? Was it worth spending your time for the money that you have earned?
Image Credit: Shutterstock (licensed)/By alphaspirit