All focus groups, both those that take place in-person and online, provide a group environment where in-depth qualitative data can be collected, and social dynamics can be observed in real-time. But online focus groups also provide a variety of specific benefits that their traditional counterparts cannot.
Geographic Diversity - Without ties to a physical location, online focus groups can more easily represent a wider geographic spread of individuals. Not only that, but the abundance of online sampling and recruitment options makes it easier to reach a greater volume of potential participants - such as those who might have schedules too busy to commit to an in-person session.
Speed and Flexibility - The end-to-end process of setting up, recruiting, fielding and analysing the results from an online focus group is fast. So fast, in fact, that it can be done in a matter of days. This is a big departure from in-person alternatives, which can take weeks or months to complete. With speed comes the flexibility to adapt research on the fly too - adding or extending the scope of groups as requirements change.
Natural Environments - Research has shown that participants are more relaxed, more comfortable and more likely to share their true opinions in their natural surroundings. Participants who take part in online focus groups do so from their own homes, which is often conducive to a better experience and, ultimately, more honest reflections.