Paid surveys are great for making extra money at home. But, most surveys pay an average between $1 to $5. But if you want to make more money, Focus Groups are what you need to look into.
An average Focus Group lasting 20 minutes can make you $50 to $200!
Let’s get started…
What is a Focus Group?
Market research forms an integral component of any fresh product or service launch preparations.
Many research companies actively use focus groups to further their research.
Focus groups are nothing but closed discussions about any particular product or concept that is about to be launched.
The companies do this in order to get an idea of what consumers think of their concept at different stages. Paid focus groups keep aside a specific portion of their budget for compensating the participants.
A focus group is basically a kind of qualitative research where a certain set of individuals need to answer questions about their
- and beliefs related to any product, concept, service, idea, packaging or even advertisement.
These questions are floated in a setting that is highly interactive and encourages participants to talk and discuss with fellow members.
This marketing research concept first came about at the Bureau of Applied Social Research in America and was conducted by its associated director, the renowned sociologist Robert K. Merton.
The term ‘Focus Group’ itself was formulated by marketing expert and psychologist Ernest Dichter.
How it Works
A focus group is basically a discussion panel steered by a moderator where the participating individuals need to air their feelings and opinions about different products and services.
The concerned product can be anything ranging from vodka, anti-ageing creams, migraine medication to even holiday bread and cellphone services.
Basically, the marketer is interested in knowing the motivation behind any purchase by the customer.
Usually, a focus group is conducted in a space reminiscent of conference rooms but including a two-way mirror, which is the area meant for the people behind the product/service (owner or representative).
And almost every time, the proceedings in a focus group are recorded to facilitate analysis through playback later on.
During a focus group gathering, which typically lasts around a couple of hours, participants are required to perform different tasks like creating ad mockups of a sample product, drawing a picture, or even writing a short essay.
Sometimes, they are even asked to discuss the possible names for a yet unnamed and publicly withheld product.
Also, focus group tend to keep the nature of the product/service away from participants till the very end as otherwise, there is a danger of the panel developing a bias of some sort.
The kinds of questions that are asked in a focus group vary wildly from group to group and the product/service that’s being evaluated.
However, to help you get an idea, here are some sample questions that are usually common across a majority of focus groups:
- What’s the first thing on your mind when you hear about X?
- What’s the best thing about a product X according to you?
- Which issues and problems do you associate with product/brand X?
- What brands you can think of?
- What bothers you about X?
- Would you consider buying/using X in future?
The participants for a focus group are chosen from the targeted demographics.
For example, for a focus group concerning anti-ageing solutions, the marketer knows it needs to cater to a certain segment of women, i.e. older women and baby boomers, women to whom wrinkles and lines are a cause for concern.
Research has already provided the marketer with information about the average incomes of their intended audience and their respective spending patterns.
A screening process involving a round of specific questions over the phone is further used to finalize the participants.
All this is done to locate the typical and ideal consumer for a particular product/service.
All qualified people are invited to be part of the group, which usually features between 8-12 people.
Focus groups benefit more from spirited and live people as they make for an interesting discussion panel and as such, avoid selecting reserved or shy participants.
Once the discussion gets over, participants are compensated through a stipend. And depending on the focus group’s budget as well as the product/service in question, the compensation can be through checks or even in the form of the product itself.
The typical compensation you get ranges between $30-$250 or even higher depending on a session’s length.
Difference Between Online Surveys & Focus Groups
- Focus Groups offer higher compensation (usually)
A huge difference between focus groups and paid surveys is the amount of pay!
For paid surveys, you are compensated anywhere between $1 for a 10 minute survey to even upwards of $40 for a 30 minute survey.
For focus groups, the rate of pay is quite high. On average, a 30 minute focus group session nets you around $40. For sessions lasting till the 2 hour mark, compensations of close to $200 are routine.
- Focus Groups are conducted in real physical locations (this is true for most occasions)
While a few are conducted online, a majority of the focus groups are held offline in meeting rooms owned by the researching companies.
Unlike paid surveys, where you can answer and make money with surveys from any location, focus groups need their participants to be local residents as they are conducted in real locations most of the times.
After all, where is the sense in driving 5-6 hours to reach a focus group and be paid $50 for the same!
- Finding legitimate Focus Groups is harder
This is a stark difference as although the web is full of deceitful and illegitimate paid survey sites, you can still manage to find the good ones as they tend to promote themselves constantly.
However, this is something that focus group companies do not do. Because of the lack of such active online promotion, it’s much harder to locate legitimate focus groups.
List of 10 Legit Paid Focus Groups
Below are names of some popular and reliable companies that conduct focus groups for the purpose of market research:
Has a focus group presence in Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas, Manhattan, Philadelphia, London, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Paris.
Has focus groups present in Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Los Angeles, Fort Lee, Westchester County, and Phoenix.
Provides focus group facilities in St. Louis, MO; Appleton, WI; Atlanta, GA; Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Kansas City, MO; Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Philadelphia, PA.
Boasts of focus groups in Spokane, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Boise, Seattle, and Portland.
The company offers in-person focus groups in Charlotte and Nashville, NC apart from online bulletin boards and focus groups featuring chat capabilities.
Has focus groups available in Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA.
They offer internet surveys as well apart from in-person focus groups in St. Louis, MO.
It conducts studies that comprise of 1 on 1 interviews, focus groups, and telephonic interviews. The pay is normally between $50 and $250 for durations of 30-120 minutes.
9. Atkins Research INC
Focus groups based in Los Angeles, CA.
Has focus group presence in Miami, Florida.
Finding Local Studies to Participate in
When scouting for focus group companies, remember that these discussions are mostly held offline, i.e. in real locations.
As such, you must select a company that conducts such focus groups in your vicinity.
Information regarding the same can always be obtained from sources like Craigslist and FindFocusGroups.com.
Focus group income will not replace the money you earn from you regular job. However, this does not mean that one can’t earn good money by participating in focus groups. You actually can!
As things stand, there are loads of people out there making decent amounts of money by being panelists in focus groups.
Many more earn to a level where the income equals that made from conventional part-time jobs. But that is also how far you’ll be able to stretch this money-making avenue.
Making a living by participating in focus groups is just not possible.
However, getting paid for your opinion is not a bad way to earn money. Because of this, you must make use of any earning opportunity via focus groups that presents itself to you.