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Benefits of Online Chat-Based Focus Groups

Written by: Lang McGilp, Julie Ellis, Marcia DaCosta and Evan Goodfellow

online-focus-groups online-communities qualitative-research

Using focus groups is a great way of gathering insights about your company or product. They allow you to engage participants, probe for deeper insights, and facilitate interaction between individuals. Online chat-based focus groups differ from conventional online discussions since they are conducted at a set time, and moderation happens within this time frame as well. A chat-based focus group project will be conducted and finalized within a couple of hours, versus the extended time frame of online discussions. Hosting an online chat-based focus group adds to the benefits of an online discussion by offering convenience, cost effectiveness and speed.


Online chat-based focus groups allow moderators flexibility to engage with participants virtually rather than in person. This means that both moderators and participants can be anywhere in the world. This removes barriers of travelling (cost and distance), location (venue and its cost) and all the logistics that go along with organizing a group in a physical space (TV, recording equipment, hosting services, etc.). Convenience of anytime/anywhere interaction also better accommodates evening and weekend discussions. The ability to contribute from home or on the go makes the request for participation more appealing.

Cost Effectiveness

As mentioned above, participants and moderators do not have to travel, eliminating transportation costs. Asking participants to participate in something that is convenient for them means that incentives can be less than those associated with an in-person focus group. Eliminating the meeting room means that room rental fees are removed, as well as incidentals for the meetings such as snacks and beverages. Because all posts are saved, the transcript can be downloaded instantly once the discussion is complete. There is no need to bring along note takers or pay to have audio files transcribed.


Conducting a focus group online also helps with the speed of project completion. Moderators can now run sessions with participants in disparate areas of the country all in the same evening – no need to wait for a moderator to fly from one city to another. Tech savviness, typing speed and ease of use of focus group software will have participants contributing their responses faster than you might anticipate, and will have everyone engaging in real-time, without having to wait for people to talk in turn. As a side benefit, moderators no longer need to coax introverted participants to share their feelings or try to minimize the impact of vocal participants, as is the case with in-person sessions.

Online Community software, like Insightrix Communities, has online focus group capabilities and can help you run and complete your research projects faster and easier, for everyone.

If you are interested in learning more about our online focus group capabilities, or other aspects of our software, contact us!

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