Online Focus Groups That’ll Pay You for Your Opinion

by | Jan 30, 2020

Hopping online to make some extra cash is common these days. But avoiding get-rich-quick scams is a skill you have to develop—and so is sniffing out legitimate opportunities that pay more than pennies. Enter focus groups. But what are focus groups?

Plenty of companies are developing products or services that they need your opinion to perfect. You provide feedback in exchange for payment. The best part is you don’t have to leave home to make some extra money with online focus groups. If you’re wondering how to participate in focus groups or how do focus groups work, it’s simple—visit one of the groups on the list below, fill out their intake form, and wait for paid offers to pop up.

Four Focus Groups We Love

These tried-and-true, paid focus groups are excellent opportunities to start a side hustle with. 

1. American Consumer Opinion

 With American Consumer Opinion paid focus groups, you earn points per project that you can later cash out via a PayPal disbursement. You’ll participate in advertising, product evaluation, survey projects, and discussions that range in subject and length.

2. Respondent

 You can create an account with Respondent to check out the opportunities they offer. You’ll verify your profile via LinkedIn or Facebook, then receive matches with research studies you’re a good fit for.

Respondent notes up-front that its focus groups’ participants make an average of $140 for a 30-minute interview. Payment is cash via PayPal, and the high rates make Respondent one of the best paid online focus groups out there.

3. User Interviews

 User Interviews is another platform that lets you sign up for online focus groups with a range of projects. Pay and time commitments vary, but one online diary study paid $200 for feedback on food delivery options. User Interviews also wants to know about your ideas on tons of other topics.

Pay varies based on the company administering the focus groups, and you might receive offers for gift cards rather than cash.

4. FocusGroup.com

For those who feel comfortable with remote and phone interviews, FocusGroup.com has a range of earning opportunities. Not all their online focus groups involve video chatting or phone calls, but some do—and the openings are location-based.

Payment ranges from $75 to $150 for testing new products, while initial surveys and focus group questions help place you in the appropriate groups.

Other Focus Group Websites with Earning Opportunities

Along with our top four picks are a ton of other paid online focus groups. Start your side hustle or earn a bit of extra cash with one of these companies.

1. Plaza Research

 With both in-person research facilities and paid online focus groups, Plaza Research is a reputable company that supports big brands’ research.

The company has 14 research facilities throughout the US, so if you live near one, the odds are better you’ll qualify for a survey opportunity involving group interaction. In fact, the emails you’ll receive asking you to participate in company-matching questionnaires go out based on area codes and county information.

Their paid focus groups typically involve on-site participation, but other scenarios come up occasionally, too. You can earn anywhere from $50 to $200 for a two-hour session.

For online survey takers, or those responding via phone, the payment goes out after everything passes verification. If you go to an in-person focus group or product analysis, you receive payment at the end.

2. Probe Market Research

 Probe Market Research offers lucrative chances to participate in both in-person focus groups and online sessions. People working in healthcare or those who are higher-level executives may find more opportunities to earn, as health and business-to-business studies are PMR’s focus.

When it comes to how to join focus groups, this company makes it easy with a single sign-up form. Whatever your background or perspective on certain issues, the in-depth form provides PMR with everything they need to know about you. The process involves thorough vetting, so being honest about your thoughts is crucial.

Payment ranges between $50 and $400 per opportunity.

3. Fieldwork

 With Fieldwork, anyone can receive payment for their participation in research studies. However, Fieldwork also concentrates on recruiting those in the medical profession for specific focus groups, with group members holding degrees in nursing and technical areas.

You must live in a certain geographical area to qualify for some of the studies. Fieldwork has 11 facilities in big cities across the US, but there’s also an option to join the National Database. This way, you can join online focus groups and phone interview projects.

In-person focus groups center on discussion about a specific topic, product, or campaign. You’ll answer follow-up questions and interact with a focus group facilitator. Panels last one to two hours, and you receive payment at the conclusion.

Payment varies per project, and it’s common for participants to receive gift cards rather than checks.

4. Inspired Opinions

 Inspired Opinions has online focus groups, in-person collaborations, and phone interview sessions. They have 16 offices throughout the United States. Topics range from food and technology to healthcare.

Inspired Opinions is another focus group administrator whose target market includes healthcare professionals. The first question they ask is about your profession, which helps to curate small groups with experience regarding the products and brands in question.

With Inspired Opinions, your earnings add up through Opinion Reward points. You must reach 1,000 points before you can swap them for “rewards.” Each 100 points are worth one dollar. At this rate, it may take a while to earn anything substantial—unless you’re in high demand due to your industry or expertise.

5. 2020 Research

 2020 Research conducts qualitative research projects with online surveys and in-person interviews. Three research facilities in Charlotte, Nashville, and Miami offer a base for researchers and focus group members to meet up.

2020 Research uses two types of focus groups participants to glean data. First, they collect qualitative data via roundtable discussions, either in person focus groups or online. Those in-depth interviews pay between $50 and $350 each. To achieve specific group dynamics, 2020 Research sends out surveys that gauge your attitudes and reactions to certain products or concepts.

Quantitative research involves online surveys that go out to specific target audiences. For those, you receive points that equal $1, $5, or $10 in cash.

6. Survey Squad

 Paid online focus groups like Survey Squad tend to use points systems where you earn small amounts for a collection of responses on a range of topics. You need to earn a ton of points to “cash out” with a check that the organization mails to you.

However, they do also offer consumer research focus groups on an invite-only basis. You must meet specific criteria to participate, but those prospects tend to pay more—up to $250.

Some are in-person focus groups, but others might be phone interviews or online formats. With in-person focus groups, your interaction with products and other participants involves moderating and likely focus group moderators.

Other online surveys and usability studies occur online, but sample sizes vary, meaning you won’t always qualify for an opportunity.

7. UserTesting

 As the name suggests, UserTesting enlists focus groups to try out products, apps, messaging, and other services in usability tests.

While UserTesting utilizes online focus groups, you must provide feedback in real-time as you complete tasks. But you don’t have to hold a conversation with anyone—instead, you’ll use video recording while you’re working on a task. You can speak freely about your perceptions and individual experience with the product or service.

This way, the company or brand can receive your comments and understand consumer perspectives. Such data helps companies improve their products and services. Focus group findings help them adjust their marketing strategies and even improve their consumer offerings.

You can earn up to $60 per test, though UserTesting notes you will typically receive $10 (via PayPal) for each 20-minute video task. Note that the video sessions require webcam equipment, so read through the requirements carefully before you apply.

8. Engage Studies

 Engage Studies is another company that runs paid market research projects. Their focus groups take place online and can also involve website usability studies. You can apply for either their consumer panel or a healthcare panel, depending on your background and professional expertise.

Engage Studies’ database is nationwide, though their offices are in Washington DC. No specific information is available on study participation—IE how long projects last. Like other focus group moderators, Engage uses questionnaires to comb through participants who might be a good match for specific studies.

Payment ranges between $50 and $250 per opportunity.

9. PrizeRebel

PrizeRebel rewards focus group participants for answering surveys. While most tasks are short, you can make ten dollars an hour or more in your spare time. Keep an eye out for lower-paying jobs and skip those—some aren’t worth the time.

Payouts are via gift card, bank payment, or PayPal, but you must earn so many “points” before you can redeem them. The membership structure with PrizeRebel also prioritizes referrals and joining company websites, which can earn you more points but is a bit more involved than taking surveys.

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