Ultimate moderator’s guide: online focus groups.

There are typically two forms of real-time (live) online focus groups: the popular text chat online focus group and the video and audio online focus groups. Chat or text based online focus groups are a great way to start realising the benefits of using online focus groups. they are easy to set up and are very satisfying for participants who feel they are more part of an experience than a process. Reports and transcripts from the group discussion are available immediately. Webcam or video and audio based online focus groups are growing in popularity as internet speed and capacity increases. Video and audio groups require the participant to have access to a web camera and a set of earphones and a microphone. Not everyone is comfortable appearing on camera, but audio and chat focus groups provide a hybrid method for those topics which may require a little more personal sensitivity. How to plan a real-time (Live) online focus group discussion. Stay informedsubscribe First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit The success of your online focus group is determined by the time you spend preparing your research plan /discussion guide. Like most online research projects, putting together an online real-time group typically adheres to an 80/20 rule, with 80% of your time spent planning and the remaining 20% actually conducting the group. The GroupQuality® built in Plan Manager provides you with all the help and tools you need to design an online discussion guide. A discussion guide includes topics you post to the group to both initiate and guide the groups discussion....

How to reward online research participation

The most common question we get asked is how do you incentivise (reward) consumers, or participants, who have agreed to take part in an online research project. What do we pay them to maximise the contribution and ensure ongoing engagement? First of all let me say there isn’t any easy one-size-fits-all solution, or secret formula, to ensure people log-in regularly to an over-time discussion board, or turn up to a live online focus group. Even though incentive payments are important, as equally important is the regularity of contact you have with participants before and during your online research project. Typically, online focus groups, or online interviews, run between 60 and 90 minutes. When considering the incentive the first rule of thumb is to think about how you would incentives these people if they were participating in an old style face to face (physical) focus group. The message here is don’t assume because people are sitting in front of the computer at home, or in the office, you can reward them as little as possible. You need to incentivise individuals based on time, complexity and targeting of your project. But, I do acknowledge that participants’ save time and money not having to organise travel to a physical location. So let’s look at it this way, if you were to incentivise individuals $90 to be at a physical location for an hour, then you might decide to incentives 20% to 30% less. However, in the case of a group of professionals a reduced rate may not be appropriate. Online discussion boards, or mini communities, are a little bit different as they...

Moderating focus groups – the online moderator

It’s easy to be intimidated by the idea of moderating or facilitating research in a focus group setting, but in reality moderation can be as easy as ABC when a focus group is conducted using the Group Quality™ online environment. The Internet has given marketers and researchers a unique opportunity. We can now conduct effective focus groups in a completely web-based environment. Even though a chat or webcam-based online focus group is a lot easier than moderating a traditional focus group, online focus groups are still subject to many of the same rules. Even though the format might have changed, and conducting a focus group just got a whole lot easier, the core principles of moderating a focus group hasn’t. Moderating the focus group discussion An online focus group is a structured conversation. During the group discussion, the moderator extracts the insights needed to make important decisions. Even though participants open up more readily in a anonymous chat based focus groups, people are not inclined to discuss intimate thoughts and feelings with those they don’t feel comfortable with. For that reason, the first thing any focus group moderator should do is build some basic rapport with the group participants. This can be done by simply saying “hi“ and asking participants to share a common experience. Often referred to as a warm up exercise, introductory discussion by text chat, or video and audio, helps to quickly break the ice. If a moderator appears calm, open, and friendly, the group members are likely to behave in a similar fashion. The moderator can launch a page in the focus group workspace to set down...

Importance of user experience & usability testing

The investment made in your website’s user experience ultimately determines the success or failure of your online venture. When was the last time you asked yourself if the money you invest in your online channel is effectively converting website visitors into online customers?  A positive online consumer experience will improve not only the conversion rate of your online channel, but help you propel your brand’s profile by turbocharging your website’s net promoter score (A net promoters score is a measurement which reflects the likelihood a online consumer will recommend your websites, and its product or services, to friends, family and acquaintances). Acquiring customers online is by no means an easy task! It requires a great deal of time and investment to pull in visitors to your website, engage with them in a meaningful way, and ensure they don’t leave your site without first investing the time to evaluate your offer.  Unfortunately the majority of websites are created without any consideration given to the actual individuals who might be using it! Simple questions like: “how and why would consumers connect with this brand online?”, and “are we helping or hindering consumers in achieving their online goals?”,  are more often than not just a reactive afterthought! Your online consumer experience can be tested using techniques like group based online website usability testing. Bringing a group of people together in a real-time virtual environment to find out if the website message is too complicated, hard to read, poorly organized, and if the proposed layout is as intuitive as your developers tell you it is. All of these very important user experience attributes...

Online Surveys & Online Focus Groups Play Together

Anyone who interacts with people understands that human behaviour can some times seem as unpredictable as the weather. But by combining online surveys and online focus groups you can go along way in understanding why people do the things that they do. For a business you might want to understand how people react to a particular marketing message, or how you should effectively engage with employees. When combining the convenience of online surveys with the effectiveness of online focus groups you can answer many questions like these, and discover a whole new world of actionable insights! It’s easy to see the differences between quantitative online surveys, and qualitative research methods like online focus groups, but how can they be combined, and why would you consider doing so? Quantitative research is primarily done for statistical purposes. For mathematical reasons, it’s necessary to take a little bit of data from a large group of people. It’s good for things like opinion polls, where the emphasis is more on the quantity of respondents that fall into a given group, as opposed to what those respondents think. Quantitative research, for example, can tell you how many people in your capital city might choose vanilla over chocolate milkshakes. Qualitative research is primarily done for the purpose of understanding why people think they way they do. It is not purely mathematical, since the groups involved in qualitative research are far too small for significant statistical analysis, and the information gained from them isn’t the kind that can be easily broken down like survey answers can. It’s good for things like new product or advertising development,...

Agile online market research revitalises a brand

Background: The client has been successfully operating in the home loan broking industry for over 2 decades. Due to shifts in the industry, they were looking to increase their market-share in more profitable markets, however, there were concerns that opportunities were being held back due to the current perceived market positioning of the brand. Objective The principal objective of this research was to identify the true perceptions of the brand within the market, establish the current positioning in relation to competitors and provide recommendations on brand ‘renewal’. It had to be done quickly and on a tight budget. Not all participants would be available to travel, so online discussions and focus groups where a perfect match. Target groups Clients: past, present and potential clients who have or are looking to refinance, upgrade their home, or buy an investment property. Partner channels: industry partners such as Solicitors, Accountants, and Real Estate Agents who may refer customers. Home loan team: current staff who nurture and manage the customer and channel touch points. Methodology Clients Target Audience: Past, present and potential clients who are looking to refinance, upgrade their home, or buy an investment property within the next 12 months. Method: 5 day online discussion board. Participants: 15 Objective: To gain feedback on the service offering of the home loan service provider. Including opinions on current branding and marketing, and market position. Partners Target Audience: Industry partners, such as Solicitors, Accountants, and Real Estate Agents. Method: 5 day online discussion board. Participants: 11 Objective: To gain feedback on the service offering of the home loan service provider. Including opinions on current branding...