There are many real benefits and advantages to using online qualitative research over traditional face-to-face focus groups. In fact, in today’s tech savvy world where most people are online every day expressing their opinions and views, online qualitative research is a must to consider to uncover relevant and motivating insights.
10 key benefits of Online Forums vs Focus Groups:
1. Fast turnaround – to put it simply online forums are more efficient, it’s faster to set up, faster to recruit as people are more willing to participate from the comfort of their home and reporting is more streamlined and efficient. We can recruit respondents nationally and run the equivalent of 3 focus groups from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in one evening! And reporting is more efficient too, which delivers a faster to client report with actionable validated insights, without any compromising of quality. Most of our online forum projects are completed from brief to final report in 2 weeks!
2. Cost savings – because of these efficiencies, there are significant cost advantages to running an online qual project compared to a face to face research project. Generally a typical online forum project costs around a half of an equivalent project using face-to-face groups. So clients get a lot more value for their research dollar.
3. Convenience – online qualitative research is convenient for participants, moderators and clients (viewers). Participants can take part in the comfort of their own home, in their own environment. Moderators and clients can take part either in the office or at home, or potentially even out on the go via a mobile device. There is significant cost and time savings as people don’t need to travel to a central location (a group viewing room).
4. Client involvement – often clients can find it difficult to get to focus groups (particularly during the day). With an online forum project, clients can login during the day at work, at night at home, any time 24/7 throughout the period of the project to view the live discussions and activities.
5. Flexibility – an online qual project can be delayed by an hour, a day or even a week if needed with little disruption or financial cost, unlike delaying or postponing a focus group project. Also an online qual project can be extended with little disruption or additional cost.
6. Access to high quality participants – the quality of respondents in a research project is critical, if you’re not talking to the right people at the right time than the findings aren’t relevant. That’s why we use the same phone screening recruitment approach that we would do for a face to face focus group or any other qualitative style of research groups.
7. Detailed feedback and insights – experience has shown us that participants, taking part in their own environment and anonymously encourages greater honesty and depth of feedback and allows participants to give a considered opinion. Our clients who are exposed to an online forum for the first time are always blown away by the depth of information participants provide, the level of insight gained. With the social media explosion, consumers today are very comfortable expressing their opinion and how they feel about a topic or issue in an online environment.
8. Full participation – there is a greatly reduced risk of one or two participants dominating the discussions as can often happen in a focus group, all participants provide their feedback equally.
9. Realistic environment to open up and view advertising –people watch advertising and videos online all the time, so showing these in the live whiteboard area is more natural than viewing this sort of stimulus in a research facility room. We can also share live websites for optimisation testing within the forum live whiteboard environment.
10. Ease of getting hard to reach participants – online qualitative research means we can get hard to reach respondents, like Males, Millennials or B2B’s who typically are challenging to recruit for face to face research. We can also reach a broad representation of geographies, and regional areas in Australia without the need for expensive travelling and room hire fees.
We’re seeing a lot more clients who are using online forums, rather than face to face research as it offers so many benefits, it’s an ideal platform to connect with your target audience to uncover relevant and actionable truths. Through deeply engaged conversations Truth-Serum enables its clients to make fast and informed business decisions through timely and responsive feedback. As well, this method of qualitative research allows our clients to get greater value from their research budgets.
At Truth-Serum, we have run many short term online qualitative forums, for clients including Kraft Foods, Fosters CUB, Tyrepower, Open Universities, Select Harvests and Olivia Newton John Cancer and Research Institute amongst many more. 2017 is the time to embrace the efficiencies and quality insight outcomes of online qualitative research approaches. For more information about the Truth-Serum online forum and how it can help your business decisions, click here, or for a free demonstration about how the online forum works, please contact