Need extra cash to pay for your expenses, save, and invest? Online focus groups may come in handy.
Online focus groups pay you decent money to share your opinion about businesses’ products and services. You can earn up to $100 per hour and more just for telling companies what you think about their stuff.
With that in mind, we put together this guide on online paid focus groups and a list of the 15 best focus groups that will pay you a nice chunk of change.
For other opportunities to earn quick money, sign up for two of the best online survey sites right now: InboxDollars and Branded Surveys. Both sites give you a sign-up bonus and are available in the U.S. and Canada!
Best Online Focus Groups in 2021
Respondent.io offers both in-person and online focus group opportunities. They pay extremely well and opportunities regularly pay between $150-$250 per focus group opportunity.
Respondent.io offers positions for people all over the world so even if you do not live in the US you can find focus groups to participate in.
They pay participants via PayPal but you need to have a Facebook or Linkedin to create an account and start browsing for opportunities.
The kinds of opportunities they offer are fairly selective so you might have to apply to a few first before you find a hit.
2. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is mostly geared towards taking online surveys but every now and then they have opportunities for better-paying focus groups and product test studies.
These kinds of opportunities on Survey Junkie pay up to $74 per hour. Those who use the site regularly report making up to $30 a month for just 15-30 minutes of their time.
3. User Interviews
User Interviews is a website that lets you browse and sign up for focus group opportunities.
You must first create an account and supply some basic info like your name, city, age, race, and other demographic information. After joining, User Interviews will pair you with potential groups.
User Interviews pay starts at $75 for 30 minutes all the way up to $450 for some on-hour groups.
The focus groups on Unser Interviews are very diverse and include software, pets products, sports, beauty products, social media, and more.
Making an account is free and takes two minutes so it’s a good idea to sign up.
4. Ipsos i-Say
Ipsos i-Say is another survey-based research firm in the world and offers focus groups and online surveys for participants all over the world.
Most offers are small, offering $0.40-$1.50 per survey and take around 5 minutes to complete. Occasionally, they offer higher-end gigs that offer $50-$100 but they are not incredibly common.
The best part is the mobile app so you can take surveys while on the go. Ipsos pays participants in points. You can redeem your points for gift cards of cash once you have at least 500 points.
Fieldwork runs focus group opportunities in a wide range of cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, and more.
Most sessions on Fieldwork last for 1-2 hours and compensation begins at $75. Most opportunities on Fieldwork pay in Visa gift cards which you can transfer to cash or some other gift card such as one for Amazon.
Fieldwork offers focus group opportunities in a wide range of industries like fashion, beauty products, tech, software, sporting goods, and more.
Related: You can also sign up for American Consumer Opinion (ACOP) to earn up to $50 per market research survey.
PingPong is a relatively new online market research group that is based out of Europe.
They mostly specialize in user testing for apps, websites, and software and offer payments ranging between €40-€100 per hour (about $45-$110).
Given that they are based in Europe, you might be wondering whether PingPong allows Americans. The answer is yes, PingPong welcomes testers from all over the world so you can browse for opportunities if you are an American.
Sign up for Ping Pong.
7. Survey Feeds
Survey Feeds is a US-based focus group platform and offers online opportunities and in-person focus group opportunities in major cities all over the US.
The opportunities offer between $50-$450 per hour of work and they allow web conferences, one-on-one interviews, clinical research studies, phone interviews, online surveys, and more.
You can either create an account and browse their boards or you can take a look at their Facebook feed to find new opportunities.
Mindswarms offers a relatively streamlined product reviews site and will pay you $50 to answer 7 questions about some product or service, or $10 per question.
You can browse Mindwarms on your desktop/laptop or with the Minsarms app for iOS or Android. When you sign up you will have to record a video first to show that your camera works then you can start applying to surveys.
Mindswarms is great because you can answer questions within minutes. You will get paid automatically by PayPal in 24 hours once you complete a set of questions.
9. Experience Dynamics
Experience Dynamics mostly focuses on product testing and focus groups related to user interface testing (UX and UI).
Companies pay them to get data on their products and they pay you to take product services, test products and participate in focus groups.
Experience Dynamics hosts field studies, diary studies, phone interviews, online surveys, and online focus groups. They recruit users worldwide and pay between $50-$150 per study.
Related reading: How To Earn Free Google Credits.
10. Google Usability
Google Usability, as the name implies, is a survey and focus group platform run by Google.
The payment starts at $75 per hour but you only get gift cards or you can choose to donate the money to a charitable organization. However, you can find a way to turn those gift cards into something you can use anywhere.
Google Usability is not the best product focus group site but they have a ton of opportunities so you can find something if you look hard enough.
11. Brand Institute
Brand institute has excellent reviews on both Glassdoor and Facebook, boasting a 4.6 out of 5 and 4.5 out of 5, respectively.
The company offers product focus groups all over the world and specializes in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
When you sign up for an account, you register your details and they just wait until you are contacted for some study. Brand Institute pays participants via PayPal every 30 days.
Related reading: How To Make Money For Teenagers.
11. Inspired Opinions
Inspired Opinions is owned by Schlesinger market research company, so they have their fingers in several brands around the world.
When you register, you can start applying to online, over-the-phone, and in-person surveys, product reviews, and focus groups. They have 16 physical offices around the country where they conduct in-person reviews.
Inspired Opinions pays participants with a points system where 100 points are equivalent to $!. You need at least 1000 points ($10) before you can redeem anything.
Payment starts with as little as $3 per 15-minute survey but they have some opportunities that pay up to $125 per hour.
12. Plaza Research
Plaza Research has physical locations in 14 US cities and specializes mostly in in-person focus groups, but they also offer online focus groups too.
Plaza Research pays participants between $50-$200 per participant and holds groups during the day and night. They cover a wide range of products and you might be asked to sample some product, watch a new TV commercial, or something similar.
You get paid immediately after the session either in cash or check. Unfortunately, they do not offer online payments like PayPal.
Related reading: Best Online Proofreading Jobs for 2021.
13. Recruit & Field
Recruit & Field has incredible reviews on review sites and social media with an outstanding 4.9 out of 5 ratings on Facebook. They offer product focus groups all over the US as well as online studies and groups.
Recruit and Field is always looking for new participants from all kinds of demographics. They typically pay participants via PayPal but you can also opt for Amazon or other digital gift cards.
Payments for studies typically fall within $100-$275 per study, although some might pay even more.
FocusGroup.com offers in-person and online focus groups in all states around the US. Most studies pay between $75-$250 but a handful pay around $300.
Many of the research studies you will participate in are related to consumer topics like cell phones, pet products, entertainment, sporting products, and more.
They also offer more business-specific and medical-related topics. One annoying thing about FocusGroup.com is that they pay differently depending on the kind of study.
Some pay by prepaid Visa card and others might pay via PayPal, gift cards, or cash. Make sure you know exactly how you will be getting paid before signing up for an opportunity.
What Is an Online Focus Group?
Companies have a vested interest in getting feedback on their products. They need this feedback so they can get a general feel of what the public thinks and what kinds of things they could change to make their products and services more appealing.
To that end, companies will pay people to participate in focus groups so they can give their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions about the company’s products, services, or solutions.
Focus groups consist of sequences of controlled interviews with a target audience that is selected based on certain demographic features such as age, location, income, race, socioeconomic status, and more.
The point of a focus group is so that companies can get valuable feedback on their products and services. That data is then used to improve or make changes to those products and services or gauge how effective certain marketing strategies are. Participants also get paid for their time.
How Do Focus Groups Work?
Most focus groups consist of a 30-80 minute long discussion that is facilitated by a moderator. The moderator guides the participants through a predetermined list of questions that are meant to solicit certain types of responses. The point of having the moderator is to make sure that everyone is sharing their experiences and ideas.
The participants of a focus group are carefully selected based on certain demographic features and are more or less random. It is also important that focus group members do not know each other previously so there is no risk that they coordinate or affect each other’s responses previously.
Most of the time, companies will host multiple focus groups in several different cities so they can get a wide range of responses and ideas. 3-4 groups per city are fairly common.
Focus groups can be online or in-person. In both cases, they proceed mostly the same, the location is just different, With an online focus group, you can participate on either a smartphone or computer.
Most of the time, you will get sent a link to the focus group room where you can participate. In some cases, companies will use specific platforms for their focus groups. You will have to download the app of software in these cases.
More companies are switching to online focus groups because they are cheaper than running in-person groups and can be just as effective. This is good for you as you can participate in online focus groups from the comfort of your own home.
How Much Do Focus Groups Pay?
It depends on the exact focus group, but the majority of them pay anywhere between $50-$150 per hour. Some focus groups will even pay participants up to $400 an hour. The exact amount depends on how much time you spend in the group and most groups last between 1-2 hours.
Most of the time, you will get paid via cash, check, PayPal, or gift cards. In certain cases, you will get paid with points that you can then redeem for different rewards. It is important to do your research to make sure you know exactly how much you will be getting paid and how you will be getting paid before participating in a focus group.
Pros & Cons of Focus Groups
Here is a quick list of the pros and cons of participating in an online focus group
- Decent payment. Even if you participate in a smaller focus group, you should still get paid a decent amount. Very few focus groups pay participants less than $30 for an hour of their time. $30 an hour is definitely a decent rate and not anything to snub your nose at.
- Easy to do. You do not need any special training, education, or skills to take part in a focus group. All you need is an opinion and not be afraid to speak your mind.
- Can be done from home. The good thing about online focus groups is that you can do them from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to go anywhere and spend money on transportation. You can do a focus group while sitting in your pajamas.
- You learn about new things. By participating in a focus group, you might learn about some new product or service that you would not have discovered otherwise.
- Relatively inconsistent. It can be hard to find a consistent string of focus groups to partake in. At most, you will probably be able to find 1-2 a month, maybe 3 if you are lucky.
- You may not fit the demographic. Focus groups are usually tailored to specific groups based on age, socioeconomic status, race, income, etc. You may get rejected from focus groups if you do not fit the demographic that they want to poll.
- Variation of payment. Some focus groups will only pay $30 while a small handful pay up to $300-$400. So if you do a lot of focus groups then you will be getting paid all kinds of amounts and there may be little consistency.
Online Focus Groups FAQ
Focus groups are meant for companies to get valuable feedback on the perceptions and attitudes that people have toward their products, services, or solutions.
It depends on the specific group, but focus groups can pay anywhere between $50-$300 per hour of focus group activity.
There are several platforms online where you can apply for focus group opportunities. These platforms collect opportunities so you can browse and apply for them.
Again, it depends on the specific group but most focus group activities last between 1-2 hours. Some may extend to 3 hours.
On average, 10-15 people take part in a single focus group. Rarely will there be more than 20 people per focus group.
Yes, they are very easy, You do not need any special skills or knowledge to participate.