Best Paying Online Focus Groups for Your Side Hustle

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Are you looking for a side hustle to earn extra money? Participating in online focus groups can be an easy way to generate some cash. You won’t make a ton of money, but you will be able to supplement your earnings.

What’s a Focus Group?

A focus group involves a group of individuals who have been invited to participate and share their opinions. They can be conducted in-person or online. Focus groups are used for market research for new and existing products, services, and organizations, for political campaign and issues research, to generate ideas, get feedback, test usability, evaluate concepts and data, and to understand customer perceptions. A focus group is composed of a group of participants led by a moderator.

How Online Focus Groups Work

In a traditional in-person focus group, a moderator leads the discussion. Each participant responds to questions and shares their opinion with others in the group. With an online focus group, the discussion takes place via the web, chat, or your tablet or smartphone. When you sign up or are invited to participate, you will be given a link to access the focus group site. You’ll be able to join the discussion, ask questions, and give feedback to the moderator and other participants. There are similar paid opportunities where you provide individual feedback using video or web-based software.

How Much You Can Expect to Earn

There isn’t a set amount you can earn by participating in a focus group. Some groups offer a token payment as an incentive to participate, and others pay more. Earnings typically range from $30-$200 depending on the company and the time commitment, which is usually an hour or two. Some focus groups hold sessions on a longer-term basis where you may meet regularly for a few weeks or longer. Participants are paid in cash (via PayPal, for example), check, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards. Others pay in points, where users can collect points to redeem for a prepaid credit card.

Check the Details

Before you start signing up to participate in a focus group, take a few minutes to check out the details and the group requirements. It’s important to be sure the company running the group is legitimate before you share your personal information. As with any pay for participating website, it’s important to avoid getting scammed. Carefully read reviews before you sign up to make sure the site is legitimate and a good match for your interests. Be clear as to how, when, and how much you will get paid—is it in cash, check, gift cards, or points?

Is it a set fee or a token for your time?

Read the fine print so you’re clear as to what you can expect to earn and what you’ll need to do to get paid. Survey Police have a list of reviews for survey sites you can use to decide whether a site is worth trying. Also, read the reviews on the Facebook page for the sites you’re interested in. You’ll find mixed reviews for most survey sites. Some people have great experiences; others don’t.

How to Find Legitimate Focus Groups to Make Extra Money

For some virtual focus groups, you’ll need to complete a survey to get an invitation to join. It is to ensure you’re a good match for the group. For example, Focusgroup.com (Facebook) invites participants to groups based on their survey responses. When you click on the survey, you’ll get a list of survey questions to answer. Survey respondents will be considered for focus groups and invited by email if they are selected.

Other sites will let you skip the surveys and register directly to participate in focus groups or online or video interviews for particular companies. You’ll find the newest focus groups that are looking for participants on various Facebook pages.

7 Online Focus Group Listings

Here are seven websites you can use to find opportunities to participate in paid focus groups, along with their Facebook pages so you can read reviews and find the latest groups seeking participants.

  1. 2020|Panel (Facebook) has paid opportunities for participants to share their opinions. You can sign up for local or online focus groups.
  2. Brand Institute (Facebook) seeks participants for pharmaceutical and consumer market research panel groups.
  3. Engage conducts consumer and healthcare (you’ll need to pick one) market research studies, and pay ranges from $50-$250.
  4. Mindswarms (Facebook) pays $50 for your insights. You’ll need to answer seven questions using video.
  5. Userinterviews.com (Facebook) pays you for your feedback on real projects. After you sign up, you’ll be invited by email to complete surveys. If you qualify for a study, you’ll get paid to participate. You can search for online or over the phone interviews, as well as for in-person or in-home opportunities.
  1. Probe Market Research (Facebook) pays $50-$400 for group, telephone, or online interviews for their clients’ advertising campaigns, products, or services.
  2. Recruit and Field (Facebook) have nationwide webcam studies, as well as focus groups in a variety of locations.

You won’t earn a ton of money, but you’ll get a token of Google’s appreciation or a donation to your favorite charity if you sign up to participate in Google’s User Experience Research.

More Ways to Find Focus Groups

FindFocusGroups.com (Facebook), FocusGroups.org (Facebook), and FocusGroupFinder.com list current focus groups seeking participants, some of which are online. If you have the time to spare, there are many opportunities to participate in in-person focus groups. Plaza Research (Facebook), for example, has facilities across the U.S. and pays $50-$200 to group participants. SIS International Research (Facebook) conducts focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and research studies.

You can find a variety of (virtual and in-person) focus group opportunities on Craigslist. Search Craigslist jobs and gigs for “focus” or “focus group.” You also can search Facebook for “focus group” to find a list of pages of companies seeking applicants.

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