Fuel Cycle

Why Virtual Focus Groups Are Essential in Today’s Age

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These days the world has gone largely virtual. Zoom calls have taken the place of in-person meetings, seminars are now webinars, and market research focus groups are now 100% virtual.

Virtual focus groups ensure that companies get the critical information they need, without having to gather everyone in one place. This ensures a process that is convenient for all participants while also harboring a safe atmosphere for all involved.

Let’s look into some key benefits of virtual focus groups and how to ensure their success.

Benefits of Virtual Focus Groups

Virtual focus groups ensure that you get an in-depth look into what your target audience is looking for. They allow you to refine your marketing plan and effectively introduce new products to the market.

Virtual focus groups provide various benefits that aren’t found in traditional methods including: 

Anonymity

The beauty of online participation is you can choose various techniques from group to group. One technique is keeping users anonymous. Anonymity often encourages honesty by allowing them to speak freely, especially if the product or topic in question is of a sensitive nature. 

Geographic Diversity 

Online focus groups are not limited to geographic location. This means you can run your focus group on a global scale, to get a broader range of insights. This wider swath of users can often lead to more definitive answers or highlight differences between one geographical cohort over another. Insights like this can be crucial when presenting a new product or idea to an audience.

Efficiency 

Virtual focus groups are easier to organize than traditional focus groups. There is no need to rent a facility, order food, or organize travel. This cuts costs dramatically. It also reduces the time needed to gather insights since an online focus group can be organized faster than an onsite group. 

How to Run a Successful Online Focus Group 

A successful online focus group enables real-time discussion that results in real-time feedback. While these are similar to traditional focus groups in many aspects, there are specific virtual focus group best practices to keep in mind:

Setting Goals

Before you begin your market research, you’ll need to start with your objectives. Consider what insights you expect to gain or what data you’ll be validating with this research. 

You’ll also need to identify all questions that you need to uncover as well as the population you intend to reach. While setting goals for your virtual focus group as in any research, it’s critical that you try and avoid any bias in your questioning or overall goal structure.

Determining the Technology You’ll Use

When choosing a conferencing platform for “gathering” your online participants, make sure to keep it as simple as possible. Consider technology that all participants will have access to. This ensures that you don’t eliminate participants due to not having the software needed for the online focus group. 

Fuel Cycle’s virtual focus group tools allow for seamless conversations between participants plus advanced capabilities for whiteboarding, screen sharing, prototype testing, sentiment analysis, and more, allowing you to get the most out of your virtual focus groups.

Ensuring Effective Moderation

Moderation is as important in online focus groups as it is in traditional groups and is key to getting the insights you require. 

Effective moderation involves allowing adequate time for all participants to respond, following a script to provide structure, and asking for clarification for any short responses. 

This will help ensure you get the critical data you need, without missing any important aspects. 

Improve Your Market Research with Online Focus Groups 

By conducting virtual focus groups, you’ll reap the benefits of traditional focus groups, while saving time and money. Follow our best practices above to ensure you get the market research insights you need. 

Need more help gathering valuable insights for your business? Learn more about virtual focus groups and other agile research methods, and find out how Fuel Cycle can help.