When we consider conducting research, we often face a significant dilemma: should we set up a virtual community or an in-person focus group? We might be tempted to follow traditional methodologies and opt for an in-person focus group.
But is it really the best choice nowadays?
Let’s be clear and specific: without a doubt, we recommend conducting research through virtual communities. It’s a methodology that offers numerous benefits.
Reasons to Choose a Virtual Community Over an In-Person Focus Group
We will explain several reasons why you should opt for setting up an online community for your research over in-person focus groups.
1. Capturing a Greater Variety of Profiles
At We Are Testers, we carefully select participants for our virtual communities from our panel, which consists of over 120,000 consumers in Spain.
This helps us avoid the bias, common in in-person focus groups, of having consumers within the group who regularly participate in all kinds of focus groups.
2. Script: Closed vs. «Live»
In an in-person focus group, the script must be preplanned and closed, with little room for deviation.
If an important theme or insight arises during the discussion that was not previously covered in the script, the time constraints limit the ability to explore this new «learning» without sacrificing some of the predefined information objectives in the script.
A virtual community is open for several days, allowing us to deepen and adapt questions and topics as needed, providing much greater flexibility and the ability to investigate new insights «on the fly».
3. Duration: Do You Choose 2 Hours or the Flexibility to Extend as Needed?
An in-person focus group has a predetermined duration, with a fixed start and end time, regardless of what happens.
The virtual community is also more flexible in this regard, allowing you to establish the necessary duration for the research in question, even spanning weeks.
4. More Valuable Insights
In an in-person focus group, we take the consumer out of their environment to work with them in a closed room. It’s essentially a «laboratory» setting where we ask them to recall memories of when they purchased a specific product/service or had contact with a certain brand.
On the other hand, in a virtual community, participants can engage from their homes via their computers or from anywhere using their mobile devices.
The moderator can request them to upload a photo or video when they buy a product or when they are being influenced by a brand.
The virtual community allows access to the consumer in moments of their everyday life, providing much more authentic and rich information than can be generated in the «laboratory» environment of an in-person focus group.
5. Bonus Track:
We Are Testers offers you the possibility to conduct an online focus group within the virtual community itself
If, despite the advantages of the online community over in-person focus groups, you feel the need to incorporate a focus group into your study to delve into a specific topic, We Are Testers’ online community platform also allows you to create a video call activity within your virtual community.
Thus, in addition to enjoying all the benefits of a virtual community, you can complement your research with online focus groups or in-depth interviews in the same environment with the same people who make up your online community.
All the advantages of virtual communities combined with the potential of online focus groups within the same platform and the option to use them interchangeably.
Are you going to miss out? Request a demo!Update date 22 December, 2023