Best Paying Online Focus Groups for Your Side Hustle

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Are you looking for a side hustle with which to earn extra money? Participating in online focus groups can be an easy way to generate some cash. While you may not make a ton of money, you will certainly be able to earn enough to supplement your regular income.

What’s a Focus Group?

A focus group is a group of individuals that have been invited to share their opinions about a number of different brands, products, ideas, and more.

Focus groups may be conducted in-person or online.

Focus groups are used as market research for new and existing products, services, organizations, political campaign, and issues research, in order to generate ideas and general feedback, test usability, evaluate concepts and data, and/or understand customer perceptions. A focus group is typically led by a moderator.

How Online Focus Groups Work

In a traditional, in-person focus group, a moderator leads the discussion. Each participant answers questions and shares their opinion with others in the group.

With an online focus group, the discussion takes place via the web, video, chat, or your mobile device. 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 in which 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 pay minimally in an effort to incentivize participation, and others pay more. Earnings typically range from $30-$300 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, upon which you may meet regularly for a few weeks or months. Participants are usually paid in cash (via PayPal, for example), check, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards. Other focus groups pay in points, which can be redeemed for a prepaid credit card or other prizes.

Check the Details

Before you sign 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 that the company running the group is legitimate before you share your personal information.

As with any website that pays for participation, avoid scams. 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 what 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 that you’re clear as to what you can expect to earn and what you’ll need to do to get paid. Survey Police has a list of reviews for survey sites you can use to decide whether a site is worth trying. Also, read the reviews on a particular site's Facebook page for the ones 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. This is to ensure you’re a good match for the group.

For example, (see their Facebook page here) 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 legitimate websites you can use to find opportunities to participate in paid focus groups, along with their Facebook pages so that you can read reviews and find the latest groups seeking participants.

1.   2020 Research (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 market research studies, and pay ranges from $50 to $250. You'll need to pick one category in which you'll participate. 

4.   Mindswarms (Facebook) pays $50 for your insights. You’ll need to answer seven questions using a video software.

5.   User Interviews (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 certain projects online, including phone, in-person, and at-home paid opportunities.

6.   Probe Market Research (Facebook) pays $50-$400 for group, telephone, and online interviews for their clients’ advertising campaigns, products, and/or services.

7.   Recruit + Field (Facebook) holds nationwide webcam studies, as well as focus groups in a variety of locations.

Another opportunity that works slightly differently than the firms listed above is Google’s User Experience Research program. You will not earn a lot of money, but you’ll get a token of Google’s appreciation or a donation to your favorite charity.

More Ways to Find Focus Groups, and list current focus groups seeking participants, some of which are online. If you have 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,” and make sure that Craigslist is set for your location.

You also can search Facebook for “focus group” to find a list of pages of companies seeking applicants. As always, be sure that you investigate each opportunity on Craigslist or Facebook to determine it's not a scam before joining. 

Article Sources

  1. "Focus Groups," Accessed Oct. 4, 2019.

  2. "How to Make Focus Groups Your Next Side-Hustle," Accessed Oct. 4, 2019.