What are focus groups?
Here are more ideas for making money on the Internet as a virtual assistant. Focus groups don't give you a stable income or a steady job, but it makes it possible to earn extra money and that's always good, especially these times. It's a lot of work to get in one or more focus groups, and you need to know what it actually means before you make the effort.
A focus group is a small group of people that have been invited to share their opinions.
They are normally used for market research for new or existing products, to be able to determine people’s attitudes towards specific branding, usability, packaging or ideas. But they are also used for political campaigns, getting your opinion about certain opinions and how you feel about things in life and some social issues. The focus groups are more in-depth surveys and they are exhausting. But you get paid for it, and paid well.
You get free coffee, maybe some snacks, and you go home tired, but with an extra $50-$150 in your pocket.
More and more companies are now using paid research studies to get a much better understanding of the market and trends, and connect with the consumers, not only locally but around the world.
In-person focus groups
Those are the in-person focus group near you. You need to go in person to those groups and expected to attend the interview in person. You will normally be interviewed within a group where each participant is able to talk to each other. There is normally a researcher or moderator to lead the group and take notes and ask questions, and record the results.
If you join an in-person focus group, you might need to go to more than one session, but you will be paid for each session you attend. Which is of course good.
Online focus groups
An online focus group is very similar to an in-person focus group. You’ll need to join online via chat, on your tablet or smartphone. You’ll normally receive a link to access the focus group and from there you’ll be able to join the discussion and give your feedback.
There are some online focus groups that also use video or specific web-based software. You’ll need to download the software ahead of your focus group research.
More and more research studies are now opting for online focus groups as it’s a lot less expensive for them: they can cut down on money spent for materials and staff, plus it makes it a lot easier to have a bigger pool of possible participants in the research study.
How Much You Can Expect to Earn
Each focus group will be different, but you can expect to make from $30 to $150 per focus group (although some very specific focus groups can pay up to $450 for an hour of your time!).
The amount you will receive will depend on the time you’ve spent, which is normally an hour or two.
You’ll normally get paid in cash, via PayPal, check, or gift cards. Some market research companies pay with points that you can redeem using a specific credit card.
How to join a focus group
They'll screen you before you can join such group. You will have to be a bit patient as you have to go through a screening process before you can participate in any research study.
Consumer research companies are normally looking for people with very specific interests and profiles, and you are not going to be able to qualify all the time. By joining as many companies as possible, you will be able to maximize your chances of qualifying for as many focus groups as possible.
But look out for scammers. There are too many people, who are using the focus groups for bad reasons. You don't want is to waste your time and get scammed online! Read all the fine prints and check their Facebook pages, to find out what kind of reviews they are getting. Like with all survey companies, you’ll never find a 5-star rating from everyone! Some people will love them, some will hate them.
Here are 16 focus groups
Here I put together for you a list of 16 companies that pay the biggest sums, to make the most of your time!
You will find info on how each company pays and if they accept registration from specific countries, cities, or from all over the world.
User Interviews used to be available only in the US or Canada.
But they have recently opened up international studies, and are adding more and more research studies.
The first step to sign up is to create an account by clicking here. You will need to supply some basic information like name, city, and state, and basic demographic information, etc. This information will help User Interviews to pair you with studies. Creating an account takes about 2 minutes!
If you connect via Linkedin and Facebook, you’ll get more chances to participate in focus groups, as they’ll be able to see details in your profiles.
As soon as you sign you, you’ll be able to select between:
- Focus groups
- 1-on-1 interviews
- Multiday studies
You’ll be paid via cash, check, PayPal, or Amazon or Visa gift card. The incentive type and amount are displayed before you select a study, so you can take the payment method into account before applying.
The pay goes from $75 for 30 minutes of your time up to $450 for very specific one-hour studies.
What I like about User Interviews is that their studies are super diverse, covering a slew of topics: technology, food, consumer goods, family, software, hobbies, pets, sports, transportation, beauty, social media, music, you name it! You’ll get to be a part of the conversation as new products, apps, websites, etc. are created, sharing their unique perspectives so teams can build better things.
They have some incredible clients, including Pinterest, Spotify, Vistaprint, Wayfair, Thumbtack, and more.
It’s really a no brainer, you have to sign up here!
Respondent is my favorite option for in-person and online focus group studies and the one that got me the $150 focus group.
Their payout is great, up to $250 per research, sometimes more!
And they accept respondents from ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Respondent.io has projects that are available to US Residents as well as International. This means you don’t have to be in the US to join and earn from $50 to 250$ per research.
All you need to join is a PayPal account, and either Facebook or LinkedIn to connect your profile to.
This is how it works:
- After you have created your account you’ll be able to browse all the open studies.
- You apply to participate in studies that you think are a good fit for you.
- The researcher/sponsor of the study reviews responses and sends invitations to respondents that are the best fit.
- If you receive an invitation to participate, you choose a time that suits you from those made available by the researcher.
- After you have completed the study, you are paid via PayPal.
Respondents are paid the cash incentive amount advertised by the researcher, less a 5% (or a $1 fulfillment fee whichever is higher). Example: If the cash incentive is $150 you will receive $142.50 via PayPal.
I know you’ll love it, and you’ll soon find something that’s right up your alley! Just sign up here.
With an outstanding 4.9 out of 5 on Facebook, Recruit and Field offer US nationwide online studies as well as focus groups in different locations.
They look for participants from any gender and age for their studies, including professionals and medical professionals (doctor, nurse, lab technician).
They normally pay via PayPal but also offer Amazon or digital gift cards.
Their payments range from $100 to $275 per study.
Survey Junkie is a great legit website to make some extra cash! It’s mostly a survey company. With their surveys, you can earn anything between $0.5 to $5 (although the average is probably around $1-$1.50). But once you have signed up, you can opt-in for some great focus groups and studies.
Survey Junkie offers:
- Product testing: up to $50 – you get sent a free product to test, plus you’ll get paid for it! You just need to fill an online survey after you’ve used it.
- In-Person focus groups: up to $150 – after an initial online survey, if you are selected, you will have to attend an in-person focus group in a location near you.
- Phone Survey: up to $100 – you will go through market research questions on a phone call.
The only catch is that some of these higher-paying options are available only once a month (or less, depending on your profile).
I really like how easy Survey Junkie is to set up and it doesn’t cost anything to subscribe. Just sign up here.
Ipsos is the third largest survey-based research firm in the world and its consumer survey platform accepts people from all over the world.
Most of the offers available here are for small surveys where you can only earn $0.40-$1.50 per survey, but they do offer from time to time high-end surveys and focus groups that pay $50-$100 for an hour of your time.
They also have a mobile app that allows you to take surveys on the go.
When you complete a survey or focus group, you’ll earn points instead of cash. Points vary depending on survey length. You can redeem your points when you have at least 500 in your account.
You’ll get paid with gift cards (including Amazon and iTunes), or you can also choose a prepaid Visa or PayPal cash.
If you are in the US, sign up here.
If you are in Canada, sign up here.
Click here to sign up from anywhere else in the world.
And if you want to know more about Ipsos Isay, you can read my full review here.
Survey Feeds is US-based and has opportunities in many US cities (Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami to name a few) and online. You can earn anything from $50 to $475.
Survey Feeds Specializes in:
- One-on-one Interviews
- Focus Groups
- Clinical Research Studies
- Web Conferences
- Online Surveys
- Phone Interviews
Their Facebook page is updated quite often with great market research opportunities.
FocusGroup.com offers both in-person and online focus groups all over the US. You can have a look at “Available studies” to check how much you can get paid. Most studies pay between $70 to $250.
Most of the research studies you’ll find interesting are probably under consumer topics, which includes:
- Child-Related Products
- Cell Phones
- Dining Out
But they also run business-specific topics and medical topics.
Their payment methods are different for each research study. Make sure you check if you are happy with the payment method before you apply!
They normally pay either via pre-paid Visa card (normally valid 180 days), check, gift card, or cash.
American Consumer Opinion is a big survey company for people from the US with over 7 million users. It’s free to sign up and you can receive money in two ways: PayPal or a check.
It normally doesn’t pay very much, with short surveys making you $0.05 to $0.50, but if you get selected for longer market research surveys you can make up to $50.
You get points for each survey that you take. 1 point is equivalent to 1 penny. When you hit $10.00, you can request your money.
Fieldwork compensation to participate in a focus group starts at $75 and their focus groups normally last one to two hours.
It has locations throughout the US:
- Fort Lee, NJ
- LA-Orange County
- New York City
- San Francisco
But if you don’t live near any of these locations, you can still apply to join their national database. They normally pay with Visa gift cards, but check before you apply for a focus group.
Rated 4.7 out of 5 on Facebook, Probe Research is a US-based market research company and constantly hosts focus groups to get feedback for clients’ new advertising campaigns, products, or services.
Focus groups normally pay between $50 and $400 and in some cases, you may not even need to leave your home! Interviews are conducted in groups, by phone, or online—depending on the amount of time assigned to that particular study.
Mindswarms is quite unique: they will pay you $50 to answer 7 questions about a product or service, or $10 to answer 1 question.
You can create an account using one of two ways:
1) On the web platform using your laptop/desktop.
2) Using the MindSwarms app on iOS or Android operating system with your smartphone or tablet.
You’ll need to record a profile video or two (to verify that your camera works well) and answer a few questions, then you can begin applying to surveys.
Once you have registered, you’ll be able to see studies that might qualify for you, based on your profile. You can apply by answering a few simple questions in less than a minute.
If you are invited to take a survey, you’ll be asked to answer up to 7 questions using the video function on your smartphone, tablet or webcam. It’ll take you less than 10 minutes to record your answers.
Then you’ll get paid automatically via PayPal, 24 hours after you post your responses to a study.
You just need to register your details and reply to some simple questions. Make sure your account is as up to date as possible and you will be contacted if you qualify for any study.
If you do, you will receive an email, so make sure you check regularly.
You will be paid via PayPal (remember to claim your payments within 30 days of completing a study!), or check.
Plaza Research has locations in 14 US cities. It specializes in in-person focus groups and pays $50-$200 to group participants.
Focus groups are normally held both during the day and in the evening. You may be asked to sample a new product, preview a TV commercial, or talk about future products.
You’ll get paid in person straight after the session. You can earn between $50- to $200 for a 2-hour session.
In order to participate in research studies, you just need to be over 18. You can register from all over the world.
You will be asked for some basic information and will be able to create your own personal login and password. Once your profile is complete, they will match you to their research studies. When they find a study that fits your profile they’ll contact you either by email or phone, to see if you qualify.
You can then participate in research studies in a variety of ways:
- In-person at one of their 16 offices across the US
- On the telephone
- Online from a computer anywhere in the world
They have a great 4.4 out of 5 on Facebook. By participating in one of their focus groups, you can earn anything from $50 to $250.
They use an Opinion Reward points system. And you need to reach 1,000 ($10) before you can redeem points for gift cards.
Voted 4.4 out of 5 on Facebook, you can earn from $50 up to $200 for a study (US-based only).
WatchLab has online focus groups, in-person research studies, and in-home studies. You can check out their Facebook page to see the range of focus groups they offer.
I saw focus groups in San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Denver, and Portland. There might be more!
Engage has a pretty old school looking website.
It specializes in consumer and healthcare market research studies (you’ll need to pick one when you subscribe), and they pay ranges from $50-$250.
You can subscribe from all over the world, just select your country when you sign up!
And more ...
You can also search Facebook for “focus group” to find a list of pages of companies looking for applicants. Here are more companies below that might be worth checking out!
- FindFocusGroups.com: will help you to find focus groups near you in the US, by state.
- FocusGroups.org: another US-based website that will help you to find focus groups in your city.
- TakePartInResearch.co.uk: if you are in the UK, this is an amazing focus group finder! You can earn up to £150 for an hour of your time!
- SIS International Research: conducts focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and research studies all over the world.
- Advance Focus: a top-rated website that hosts focus groups and market research panels in New York City.
- Survey Squad: they have some great research studies and focus group opportunities on their Facebook page ranging from $50-$275.