How to Effectively Conduct Focus Groups Online

Jul 27, 2022, Jiten Madia

Online focus groups have created a powerful new opportunity for companies to reach more diverse populations more rapidly. 

What is a Focus group Online? 

  • Focus groups online are a great way to conduct research in the digital world. They have been used for decades, and they have become more popular in recent years. In an online focus group, participants gather together in a web-based chat room or forum to discuss a topic of interest with one another. 
  • Online focus groups have become a popular research tool in recent years. They offer a cost-effective and convenient way to gather insights from a group of people. 
  • While this method of communication can be effective for research purposes, it does have some drawbacks. 
  • You do not have the same physical control over the environment as you would if you were conducting a focus group in person. 
  • It can be difficult to maintain an ongoing dialogue between participants over time without having them interact with each other more frequently than they might otherwise do when conducting an in-person focus group. 

How do you moderate an Online Focus Group? 

Focus groups are a great tool for conducting market research and collecting feedback from customers, but they can be tricky to manage if you're not familiar with the process. When it comes to conducting focus groups online, moderation is key. There are a few key things to keep in mind: 

1. Set an agenda 

Before the focus group begins, it can be helpful to set an agenda of what you want to discuss. This will help to keep the discussion focused and on track. It can also be helpful to send out the agenda in advance so that people can prepare for the discussion. 

2. Keep your group small 

With an online focus group, you have the advantage of being able to target a specific group of people. Make sure you have a good mix of people in the group. This can be helpful if you want to target a specific market or demographic. Keeping your group small will make it easier to manage and keep track of the discussion. 

3. Be prepared to manage discussion 

In focus group moderating, pace is essential. The questions should ideally follow a coherent, linear structure, with each inquiry aiming to elicit a particular insight. Avoid double-barreled questions and make sure to comprehend the distinction between closed- and open-ended questions. You risk missing opportunities to compile your data if you lose track of time throughout the debate. 

4. Keep it casual 

Always keep in mind that the moderator's job is to foster conversation, not questioning. The best moderators mimic the respondents' tone. To create a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere, try to relate to your responders. The likelihood of genuine, comprehensive comments from participants will increase. Hopefully, this will prepare your data for the research's post-analysis component. 

5. Be participant-centric 

Your respondents' initial reaction won't always be the best indicator of what they'll ultimately think or feel. Allow your responders time to reflect on their responses. This entails paying attention to the full sample when conducting an in-person focus group and observing the environment to determine when it is best to move on.  

6. Be decisive 

Keep in mind the research that led to the initial creation of this focus group. Don't be hesitant to follow the conversation as it progresses, even if it's crucial to stick to the plan with your planned questions. Take the initiative to research a certain subject further if you have any questions or concerns that could cloud your analysis. 

7. Analyze and prepare the discussion guide 

A conversation guide can help you get ready for a research, but it won't let you know what a customer is thinking. However, you can produce a discussion guide that lucidly guides participants through industry trends, perceptions of products, perceptions of competitors, consumer behaviors and preferences, mergers and acquisitions, onboarding procedures, and much more when combined with background information from secondary data.

Focus groups online are a great way to get feedback from a large number of people quickly and easily. The future of research will undoubtedly involve conducting focus groups online. However, to ensure that the focus group is effective, it is important to moderate it effectively. In order to do this, you should make sure that the group is organized and that the participants are engaged. You should also make sure that the discussion is on track and that everyone has a chance to participate. 

Jiten Madia
Jul 27, 2022