Online focus groups are often overlooked by companies looking to conduct in depth research, compared to the traditional face-to-face version.
This is often a missed opportunity – since what we say in person differs from our innermost thoughts, whether that's due to social pressures, the company we find ourselves, or perhaps just coyness.
Reach niche Audiences
Focus groups are particularly useful in gaining in-depth opinions from the target demographic you're aiming to reach – but in some instances, getting all the right voices into one room can present a challenge.
Participants may be unable to travel to a venue due to illness or other practical considerations. On other occasions, the focus group may require the participation of individuals from niche demographics, making it impractical for them to travel a great distance to take part in a physical group discussion.
In both instances, an online group discussion offers the participant flexibility and the opportunity to participate from the comfort of their own homes or workplaces.
Concealing is revealing
Online focus groups are especially useful when considering a potentially controversial or personal topic. Examples include discussing health conditions and debt, or views on benefits or political intentions.
The anonymity provided by a computer screen helps respondents feel more comfortable about voicing an opinion to what is essentially a room of strangers. Therefore, participants are more likely to be truly open and truthful in their responses.
What’s more, the trained moderator overseeing the session is able to talk privately to any individual should the need arise, as well as signpost them to relevant support services.
This means that when the participant feels safe and relaxed, the client is in an advantageous position, and may well garner findings that are even more useful than anticipated.