The Advantages of Virtual Focus Groups

The Advantages of Virtual Focus Groups

With COVID-19 shutting down… well, everything… that doesn’t mean research has to stop completely. Conducting virtual focus groups are a great way to still get insights without endangering you and others to the virus.

What is an online focus group?

An online focus group is conducted entirely through the internet. Both the moderator and participants are given credentials to a platform where participants use their webcam and microphone to interact with the group. There are different platforms available, such as Zoom, FocusVision or even Skype (though we recommend using a platform geared towards businesses and/or market research).

“Virtual groups can cut down on costs and traveling, and improve participation and diversity.”

– Kathryn Burtner, Atomic Scribe

“Virtual groups can cut down on costs and traveling, and improve participation and diversity.”

– Kathryn Burtner, Atomic Scribe
– The Client

The benefits of virtual focus groups for researchers

There are a lot of benefits for researchers who use online focus groups. First, it allows for a more diverse range of participants, as geography is not an issue. This is particularly useful if the researcher intends to get input from people all around a state, country, or even across multiple countries.

Also, for a company, this can cut down on costs for holding a group substantially. Many times market research companies pay to travel to a location, to book a room to hold the focus group, for food for the group, and for other associated travel costs. Those are eliminated when a group is held online.

Virtual groups can also help with analyzing the group as well. For example, you can record the group and watch it back later, and it’s helpful for transcriptionists identifying speakers. Another advantage is this medium usually helps cuts down on crosstalk (multiple people speaking at once) and side conversations, as participants aren’t in the same room.

The benefits of virtual focus groups for participants

A major issue in finding people to participate in focus groups is travel and location. A lot of people do not have means to get to a focus group, live too far from the group location, or just simply don’t want to leave their house. With an online group, participants do not have to pay to travel and can participate wherever they want, so long as they have internet and webcam/microphone access.

Some in the industry believe you actually get more participation and honest feedback from participants when they are in environments comfortable to them who have not had to stress about getting to a new location, worrying about parking, the anxiety of meeting new people in person, and all the other stresses related to focus groups.


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Even with social distancing and working from home, market research can still continue… and, actually, it can even be more accessible than in-person research. And if you need transcriptions and translations for your virtual groups, we are here for you at Atomic Scribe.

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