If you are into business or work as a business analyst, you would know what focus groups are. It is a research technique where people are brought together in a room for a period of time and asked to discuss a particular subject matter. An analysis will be done at the end based on their opinions, beliefs, and ideas on that specific product or topic.
So, basically, a virtual focus group does the same thing. Still, the only difference is the use of an online platform. The former is the traditional approach to conducting focus groups, the latter is the modern method of the same.
Fortunately, this pandemic has created more opportunities for businesses and researchers to hold more online focus group research. Unlike the traditional method, this online approach has a fundamental effect on the cooperation of the focus group members.
However, many people involved in this line of work are still skeptical of the new change of focus groups. For instance, in a traditional approach, the members can physically review the product at hand and give their opinions on the matter while being watched. But, with the online method, the members can give honest and unbiased Product Insights that would help in collecting promising and reliable results.
Therefore, to know if online focus groups are worth it or not, we need to understand how it actually proceeds and what benefits it provides.
How Virtual Focus Groups work?
If you think about focus groups, both traditional and modern approaches have only one difference. That is the difference in place of meeting. So, however you conduct the focus group research, the process is more or less the same.
To conduct your focus group, you can start by determining the subject matter for the research, setting goals, forming a list of the target audience, and then creating a guide for the proper flow of the group discussion.
Next, you have to arrange a moderator, either from the company itself or from your internal team. This moderator will decide how he will take on the group discussion in the right direction. He should also prepare a set of questions in advance to be used during the meeting. Likewise, the moderator will proceed and end the discussion. Meanwhile, he will also observe if there is any change in the participants’ tone after getting influenced by others.
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What Benefits does Virtual Focus Group provide?
Since we are trying to know whether a remote focus group is worth the traditional method, we will specifically focus more on the practical side of the same. Nonetheless, you cannot ignore the fact that everything has its own pros and cons. The only thing is that one has more weight than the rest.
- Virtual Focus Groups are Cost-Efficient.
In the traditional method, the focus group participants have to travel to the venue of the research. The researcher also has to cater to their refreshment needs. These activities create expenses for both parties.
But, with the modern method, organizing and conducting a focus group requires minimal resources. You can even get participants from a wide geographical area. There is no need to spend extra on arranging the venue as only an online platform is required. The participants should only log in at the set time.
- Virtual Focus Group Participants are Anonymous.
When the focus group participants remain anonymous, there is no possible risk of getting influenced by others’ perceptions. As the members don’t know each other, they cannot give biased answers to the questions thrown at them by the moderator. The focus group members would be more comfortable to voice out their opinions honestly, leading to precise and reliable data collection by the researcher.
- Virtual Focus Group is Faster, i.e., Saves Time.
Since the modern approach is through an online platform, the participants can quickly dip into the discussion and offer their insights as convenient to them. Unlike the traditional method, they have to spend the entire set time on the group discussion and venue. Through an online focus group, the participants should not have to wait for others to fully emerge into the discussion.
- Virtual Focus Group helps obtain Diverse Participants.
Since it is an online approach, you can get participants for the focus group from anywhere. There is no limit on geographical location and timing. People will only need a good internet connection to participate in the discussion. This way, you can broaden your target audience for the subject matter.
You can achieve diverse data collection for your research which is much more reliable than the participants from limited locations around the company. The virtual focus group is also much more advantageous because you do not have to spend to get such diverse participants.
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After understanding the points mentioned earlier, it is safe to say that online focus groups are worth enough to try for your market research studies. It all depends on how you determine your goals.