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8 Paid Focus Group Opportunities to Make Money Online

Last updated: June 25, 2019
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Of all the gig jobs out there, simply giving your opinion may be one of the easiest opportunities we’ve heard of.

Everybody has an opinion. You might really love certain products and you might absolutely hate the features of other products. You’ve taken a stance, why not get paid for sharing your thoughts?

That’s what focus groups provide for side hustlers like you — a chance to receive compensation for sharing your thoughts and opinions on products, services, advertisements, and everything else in between.

In this article, we’re going to explain what focus groups are and how you can make money by being a focus group participant. We’ll also give you the eight best focus group companies you can look into in order to start making extra money on the side.

What Is a Focus Group?

When companies need to gather opinions and recommendations from consumers, they enlist focus groups to receive feedback regarding their products, services, or advertisements. If a company is developing a new product, this feedback will help better develop their product or service.

For example, if an automobile company is in the process of creating a new cutting edge autonomous vehicle, it’s going to run several focus group sessions to receive real thoughts, opinions, and ideas from actual consumers who will likely purchase the car.

Depending on what the opportunity is, some paid research studies may be looking for a particular type of respondent. For instance, if a company wants to further develop an item for children, the researchers may only want to interview mothers who can help answer their questions.

When you sign up to be part of a focus group, you’ll be asked a series of questions over the course of one to three hours, typically as part of a larger group. Through your participation, you’ll be compensated for your time and honest opinions.

So how much can you get paid for participating in a focus group?

How Much Do Focus Groups Pay?

In exchange for being part of a focus group, you’ll be compensated for your time and the information you provide. Focus group studies pay respondents anywhere from $20 to $200 per session, sometimes even more.

Every focus group you join will have a different level of compensation. This compensation will be dependent on how long the focus group lasts, the type of company commissioning the focus group, and the subject of the study you’re participating in.

Typically, compensation for your participation will be through cash, PayPal, gift cards, or Visa prepaid credit cards. It’s important to know how much you’ll be paid and how you’ll be paid before taking part in any survey or focus group.

Let’s get into which types of focus groups are out there to give you an idea of what you can expect to find.

Types of Focus Groups

In many cases, focus groups are carried out by third-party research companies. Many times, a focus group is anonymously unbranded, but in other cases, respondents will know which company they’re being asked about.

These consumer market research studies offer a few different focus group opportunities for you to make money on the side. The two most popular types of focus groups are in-person and online.

In-Person Focus Group

In-person focus groups are what most people think about when they hear about these types of opportunities. They consist of being interviewed in-person at a focus group facility as part of a larger group of participants.

During your focus group, a focus group moderator will prompt the group with questions and stimuli that are intended to get you and other participants to engage in a small group discussion. In the meantime, the moderator will be listening carefully, taking notes, and recording responses.

If you’re in one of the following major cities in the U.S., then there’s a good chance you’ll be able to track down some in-person focus group studies:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Phoenix
  • Dallas
  • Atlanta
  • Minneapolis
  • Boston
  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • St. Louis
  • Philadelphia
  • Columbus
  • Kansas City
  • Indianapolis
  • Denver
  • Las Vegas
  • Baltimore
  • Richmond

One more thing you should note — typically in-person focus groups will be a one-time meeting, but don’t be surprised if you are required to attend multiple sessions. You shouldn’t worry though, you’ll be compensated for every session you attend.

Online Focus Group

As the name implies, online focus groups are pretty much the same thing as in-person focus groups, besides the fact that you’ll participate in an online forum rather than go to an in-person location.

Instead of driving to an office building in your area, you can log onto an online focus group platform on your desktop, tablet, or mobile phone. Once logged in, you’ll be part of a group chat which will likely include video conferencing. If you need to download specific video conferencing software, you’ll be given instructions beforehand.

Since hosting an online focus group is easier on participants and organizers — and is much cheaper to boot — they’re becoming more popular and replacing in-person focus groups.

Focus Group Companies

There are so many focus group opportunities and research firms out there for you to choose from. One way to find local focus group opportunities in your area is to check your Craigslist board. While this may lead you in the right direction, it also leaves you vulnerable to potential online scams.

Instead, you can find plenty of focus group opportunities in this list of consumer research companies below.

1. Respondent

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.22.33 AM

Summary: Respondent is the modern take on market research. This platform enables you to connect your LinkedIn and Facebook pages to automatically pull your demographic and employment data in order to send you specific studies that are applicable to you. You can also browse through the list of available studies on your own, which take 30 minutes on average.

Location: Online

Pay Rate: Average hourly payment of $140

Apply Here

2. User Interviews

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.23.00 AM

Summary: User Interviews is a market research company that simplifies the focus group and survey-taking process. After creating a profile, you can begin searching through studies you might be interested in. Once you find one that seems like the right fit, you can take a screener survey, and then get paid for completing the full survey.

Location: In-person, telephone, and online

Pay Rate: $20 to $350

Apply Here

3. American Consumer Opinion

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.23.53 AM

Summary: ACO is a national market research company that pays participants on a point-based system. The average survey takes 10 minutes to complete and you’ll be able to take several surveys per year.

Location: Online

Pay Rate: $0.05 to $0.50 for screener surveys, up to $50 for longer surveys

Apply Here

4. Survey Squad

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.24.24 AM

Summary: Survey Squad is an aggregate of cheap, paid online surveys and more in-depth consumer research projects that pay substantially more. Some surveys pay “Survey Squad points” and others pay cash, gift cards, or prepaid Visa cards.

Location: In-person, telephone, and online

Pay Rate: $50 to $250, less for point-based online surveys

Apply Here

5. MindSwarms

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.24.52 AM

Summary: This is a unique take on collecting consumer insights. With MindSwarms, consumers record their insights on their smartphone, tablet, or webcam for researchers to dissect and optimize products, product names, advertising, and design. Studies take about 10 minutes to complete and ask only seven questions.

Location: Online

Pay Rate: $50 via PayPal

Apply Here

6. Survey Feeds

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.25.38 AM

Summary: Survey Feeds aggregates an online bulletin board of focus group and survey opportunities around the country. You can use the site to scroll through opportunities in certain locations or filter for only online studies. The site makes it easy to sort through the types of opportunities out there and see all of the payment information up front.

Location: In-person, telephone, and online

Pay Rate: $20 to $300

Apply Here

7. Plaza Research

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.25.56 AM

Summary: Plaza Research partners with major manufacturers to conduct market research panels across the United States. The market research firm has locations in 14 different cities but offers phone interviews and online focus group opportunities as well.

Location: In-person, telephone, and online

Pay Rate: $50 to $200

Apply Here

8. FocusGroup.com

Screen Shot 2019 04 23 at 12.26.28 AM

Summary: FocusGroup.com is run by a company called Focus Pointe Global that performs consumer research on a variety of consumer products and services. You can sign up for Focus Group and browse through a range of surveys, focus groups, telephone interviews, and product testing opportunities. You’ll find that there’s no shortage of studies for you to pick from.

Location: In-person, telephone, and online

Pay Rate: $70 to $250

Apply Here

Make Money Giving Your Opinion

By being a routine focus group member, you can pull together quite the side hustle. While we don’t recommend up and quitting your day job, participating in focus groups can definitely be your part-time source of income.

Make sure to look at each platform carefully to see the types of surveys each offers, how much they pay, and how you’ll be paid. After that, the only thing left to do is sign up and begin giving your opinion on everyday products and services.

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