How to Recruit High Quality Participants for Online Focus Groups

After recruiting participants for thousands of online focus groups, here are some of the top tips recommended by the itracks OnlyQual team to ensure the highest qualified participants attend online focus groups. 

  1. Ask screening questions about technical aptitude.  It is important to make sure that participants are not only able to join from a technical perspective but are comfortable doing so. Depending on the study needs, the study may require a laptop, computer, and webcam or mobile device.  Additional questions to consider may include how comfortable people are on camera, and their comfort level with sharing opinions.    
  2. Use careful, recruit-specific communications. Clear communication surrounding expectations of the respondent is extremely important. Be sure to include the following early on so participants are fully aware of what is required of them.  itracks email broadcast system has several email reminder templates that are perfect for providing the information required. 

Timing – Dates and length. How long is the research, and when is it? Use calendar invites and reminders.  These can be automatically sent out with itracks’ platforms saving time.   

Incentives – In many cases, an incentive will be paid to respondents for participating in the group.  Provide clear information about how much they will receive, how and when they will receive payment, and steps they need to complete in order to receive payment. Inform them during the screening process, and via email so they have a record of it to reference if needed. 

Software/hardware expectations – State any hardware or software required to participate.   

Include anything else that may be required to be fully qualified for and be considered to have completed the specific research project. 

  1. Indicate that a technical check is part of the screening.  There is nothing worse than a fully qualified participant that you must remove from a study at the last minute.  To increase our show rates, we started letting participants know prior to study, that they will not fully qualify for the research until they complete a technical check where we can assess that they have a working webcam and the internet bandwidth available to attend a study.  

Note: The OnlyQual team may also use an itracks homework Board project to complete this check.  Our screeners can move participants right into a Board project where they need to respond to a video articulation question. Upon review, only those participants that have good videos in the board can then be invited to a video interview or focus group. 

  1. Have participants re-confirm their participation after going through automation.  We often request that participants do take some type of action to truly indicate interest in the study. If a participant is not responsive to our requests and communications early on there is a high likelihood that they will not be fully engaged in the research.  We watch for people who do not confirm, respond to text messages, emails, or phone calls, and remove them early to open spots for truly engaged participants.
  2. Use multi-channel strategies to confirm and remind participants. It’s important to meet people where they are at regarding communication.  Employing a multi-channel strategy to confirm and remind participants is important in making sure communication channels are open.  Depending on the audience and project needs, the OnlyQual team uses email, text messages, app based messaging channels (e.g., Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp) and phone calling to reach out and keep participants aware of the project details.

Online focus groups are an efficient way to collect valuable insights, however successful projects are dependent on high quality participants attending on time.  Maximize recruitment success by leveraging a few tips to set your online focus groups up for success! Questions about recruitment strategies and or services? Contact us here!