Webinar Online focus groups - Take that, social distancing!
  • John Oppenhimer, Research & Community Manager QuestionPro

Social interactions play a major role in everyone’s lives. There is a constant need to interact with others and people like to talk about their views and opinions. In these unusual times, there is an even bigger need for human connection and interaction. Researchers too, are scrambling for respondents to derive insights from. In times of social distancing, online focus groups is one of the most reliable and heavily used research tools to continue gathering insights. The time is now to switch over and let people come gather as a group - online rather than in person.

Join John Oppenhimer, Market Research Community Manager at QuestionPro, as he dives deep into the finer nuances of online focus groups. Learn the purpose of running online focus groups, how they are conducted, and what process and best practices we recommend to follow to generate actionable insights.

  • doneHow to leverage and use the tool to effectively manage online focus groups
  • donePros and cons of online focus groups vs traditional offline focus groups
  • doneTips to manage increased participation to collect greater insights
  • doneExamples of brands that have made the switch and key research methods used


Speakers: John Oppenhimer, Market Researcher & Community Manager, QuestionPro

Top five questions & answers from this webinar
Q: This sounds like Bulletin Board groups. What about online focus groups - then you can capture facial expressions and the group will also 'bond' better.

Answer: That is correct - with video, you as the moderator are able to notice things like body language, or facial expressions as well as other types of hints or gestures when you watch the recording. This is certainly more of a barrier when you’re running online focus groups within a platform that communicates through text, where responses are purely thought-provoked. While I don’t recommend using Zoom for focus groups (for technical or bandwidth reasons), if you have contact information for your prospect-participants handy, you can utilize Zoom as an alternative avenue, as long as you take the right security measures with the Zoom application.

Q: I would be interested to hear when you would not conduct an online focus group discussion.

Answer: So long as you have the budget, the space to invite people into, and the representative target-audience, you can conduct a in-lab or in-office focus group for any study. They’re specifically useful if you’re running a Product Testing study in which you really want members to all be in the same physical space so that the insights you obtain are done through dynamic interactions among your participants. Especially too if you’re trying to get reactions and perceptions on something that participants haven’t seen before, like a product or service that you want evaluated early in its lifecycle, or if there are potential prototypes or new designs of already-existing products or services that aren’t yet available in the market.

Q: On your slide of disadvantages, what about security issues for some people to participate?

Answer: The moderator will have security tools to enforce structure and security. Participants are to be vetted prior to the live session.

Q: Some of my clients are reluctant to do online focus groups for all the reasons John mentioned about the advantages of live feedback. How does he convince his clients that remote feedback will provide quality results? What has been the engagement level on these online focus groups?

Answer: Within our platform, most clients choose to incentivize participants in points, which can be redeemed for various rewards. We also make sure to communicate that in-advance, as long as each participant is consistently providing insights in the chat, and that they’re responses are both appropriate and relevant to the study. If participants know that right off the bat, they’ll make sure to invest both their time and yours in providing feedback that leads to quality results.

Q: How do you recruit the right/most relevant people to join your focus group? Any best practices?

Answer: Whether you decide to recruit your members from a survey that you’ve already conducted, through social media, or through customer lists or research panels. You want to make sure you pre-screen your members in advance so that they fulfill the criteria that would represent the target-audience of the brand, product, service, or concept that you’re trying to test. *If you’re recruiting your audience based on data from a past survey that also includes open-ended questions, select those respondents who give high-quality open-ended responses. This will give you higher confidence that the participants you recruit will provide genuine insights and that their motive to participate is brand-forward or product-forward.