Online Focus Groups


Online Focus Groups are today’s money and time-saving choice for organizations in need of qualitative and quantitative market research. They are also the green choice because they allow companies and researchers to connect with consumers without expending precious natural resources.

Real-time online focus groups (using text, audio, video, or all three) are your best choice for quick results when conducting qualitative market research. Not only do they cut down on money spent for materials and staff sent to moderate in-person groups, but they are also convenient because respondents can participate in the focus groups online from the comfort of their own home.

You and your colleagues are also able to witness the entire online focus group session from your own PCs. This means that while participants engage in discussions around your products and services, you are able to collect data from your focus groups online instantly. In the privacy of our Virtual Backroom, you can communicate with the moderator and others on your team, even if you are in different locations. The respondents do not see these backroom communications.

Check out our text-based online focus group facility! Click here to see Respondent View and click here to see the Client View.

For a deeper dive, we recommend the multi-day, threaded discussion, also known as an online bulletin board discussion. You can get an idea of how a bulletin board discussion works by clicking on: The Brainchild Forum. Options include: projective activities, mobile responding, photo responses, video/audio responses, & polling, among other features.

Our Video Diary service is similar to the threaded-discussion approach but adds the dynamism of video. By setting up webcam groups, your capabilities go a step further by allowing you to get needed context with the responses from your participants. In addition, the flow of information between participants and moderators is enhanced as people become more engaged with the online market research process.

Automated Facial Coding

If you need facial expressions and tone of voice, we suggest you consider our Webcam Groups. With automated facial coding techniques, e-FocusGroups is able to deliver a greater depth of knowledge for consumer focus groups. Automated facial coding works by using software and a webcam to determine a participant’s emotions in response to specific stimuli such as TV ads, concept boards, and so on. The system detects a person’s face, and using subtle changes in facial structure, looks for the following emotions:

  • Happiness
  • Concentration
  • Surprise
  • Disgust

By using this technology, the researcher is able to see in real time how a participant is reacting to specific stimuli, in addition to getting the verbal and written responses clients  are after. Organizers can then see all of their participants’ data and compare it to the average answers from the group. This is especially effective because it allows companies to gauge feelings when a participant views or reads a certain piece of material.

Ethnographic Research Using Smartphones

Cost of equipment, personnel, and travel can be a common barrier for ethnographic market research. Instead of needing to send a researcher to a respondent’s home for an ethnographic study or to a store for a shop-along, using the audio/video features of smartphones is a cost-effective alternative that enhances the quality of data collected.

To get the qualitative and quantitative data your company needs, it is necessary to reach consumers where they are most comfortable. When they are at home, people are able to participate in research studies as bulletin board focus groups and real-time focus groups at a time that is most convenient for them. The result is an environment in which they can answer questions and participate in discussions candidly.

Mobile Shop-Alongs

In the past, conducting a shop-along with a consumer was a tremendous drain on time and money. A researcher would be sent to a study participant to follow him or her around a store, noting where he or she stops and what items are found to be particularly appealing. Nowadays, however, a consumer can take his or her smartphone to the store and share this information via audio and video recordings. This cuts down on staffing costs and results in immediate qualitative results.

When these methods are followed up with bulletin board focus groups and/or individual online interviews, clients get the full scope of qualitative and quantitative data needed to make informed business decisions moving forward.

Call today to explore the suitability of Online Focus Groups or our other methodologies for your upcoming research.