47 Paid Focus Groups in 2023: Make $150+/hour

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    Participating in paid focus groups is a great way to earn some extra cash to supplement your income. If you are interested in dipping your toe in the waters of focus groups, but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading because I’m going to cover it all!

    What is a Focus Group?

    First things first, let’s talk about what focus groups are. Essentially, focus groups are a method of market research that companies leverage in order to gain valuable insight into their new products, services, or even a future marketing campaign. Due to the exploratory nature of focus groups (meaning the participants are actually encouraged to share their true opinions of a company’s new product or service), they are considered a qualitative method of collecting data.

    Companies like to conduct focus groups because not only do they get important feedback on their products and services, but focus groups also give companies a chance to understand their customer better by providing insight on:

    • What they actually think
    • How they think
    • Why they feel the way they do 

    Focus groups can last anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending upon how the discussion goes.

    Types of Focus Groups

    There are two types of focus groups:

    • In-person
    • Online

    How Do Focus Groups Work?

    two women talking through an online focus groupHow a focus group works really depends on the type of focus group it is.

    In-person focus groups are conducted in interactive group settings that typically consist of 4-10 participants and a moderator. The moderator is reponsbile for facilitating the discussion and encouraging the participants to share their thoughts and opinions about the product or service that is being tested. 

    The location of in-person focus groups can vary. They can be held in a room that contains one-way mirrors for decision makers from the company can watch the discussion as it unfolds. Or, focus groups can be recorded and watched by employees at a later date. Ocassionally, they are held onsite in one of the company’s conference rooms or a neutral location, like a hotel conference room or a library. And, in the case of Google, sometimes they are held in a research van. Yes, you read that right…a research van. I have to give Google points on their creativity for that one. 

    There are six different kinds of in-person focus groups:

    • Single Focus Group: This is the most traditional type of focus group. It involves a single moderator asking the participants questions.
    • Mini Focus Group: This kind of focus group sticks to four or five participants to create a more intimate environment. 
    • Two-Way Focus Group: In this scenario, there are two different focus groups with two different moderators. The first group observes the second group as they hold their discussion. After watching the first discussion, the first group talks about what they learned from their observations. 
    • Dual Moderator Focus Group: There are two moderators. One is in charge of asking the group questions, and the other moderator makes sure the questions are answered and the discussion moves along. 
    • Dueling Moderator Focus Group: Two different focus groups, each with their own moderator, are pitted against each other to explore opposing sides of an issue. 
    • Respondent Moderator Focus Group: In this type of focus group, one or more members of the focus group temporarily assume the role of the moderator.

    And, online focus groups are conducted…you guessed it…online, allowing participants can provide feedback from the comfort of their own homes.. 

    There are a few different types of online focus groups:

    • Virtual Group Meeting: This type of online focus group session is usually conducted using a virtual meeting platform, like GoToMeeting or Zoom. And, like an in-person focus group, a moderator will conduct the session and ask questions to encourage an open and honest discussion amongst the participants.
    • Surveys: Surveys are super easy to participate in. You just fill out a company’s survey and submit it. Warm jammies and slippers are optional. 
    • One-On-One Interviews: This type of online focus group consists of a researcher or company decision maker interviewing a participant in a one-on-one setting. It can be conducted by phone or virtual meeting platform. 

    How much do Focus Groups Pay?

    The pay rate of focus groups vary based on the type of group as well as the amount of time the study takes. Focus groups pay anywhere from $10 to $500 or more, depending on how in depth the study is.

    The most I’ve ever made has been from an in-home study that involved water usage, and over the course of a year paid well over $500. Not bad for attaching some sensors and answering some questions on a regular basis!

    How Paid Focus Groups Pay Participants 

    How a paying focus group pays its participants really depends on the company conducting the focus group. For example, FocusGroup.org pays participants by either Visa gift cards or check. However, other market research companies also pay via PayPal. And, some of them pay their participants in the form of points that can be redeemed for money or gift cards for popular retailers, like Amazon. 

    Are Paid Focus Groups Legitimate?

    Yes, most paid focus groups are legitimate. However, before signing up for a paying focus group, there are a couple things you should keep in mind:

    1. Do your research.

    Check out reviews about the market research company conducting the focus group to make sure they are legitimate. Indeed.com is a good place to start because it gives you a chance to see what the company’s own employees think about them. You can also look to see if they have a social media or facebook page and the kinds of comments users have made on their account. One place you shouldn’t really rely on is the Better Business Bureau. CNN published a story about them back in 2015, and it uncovered that many companies that were proven to be scams or that were in trouble with the government had A ratings with the BBB. So, use them at your own risk.  

    Also, check out paid focus groups reddit for real feedback on the best focus group sessions to join, and which to avoid.

    2. Determine how you want to get paid.

    If you are strapped for cash, don’t participate in a focus group that pays you in points or gift cards. Look for one that will give you a check or send you money via PayPal or Venmo.  

    Popular Paid Focus Group Companies

    While you can find a lot of paid focus groups online just by searching “Paid focus groups near me,” it’s important to remember that not all focus groups are created equal. You definitely want to beware of scammers. Because I love my readers oh so much, I did the research for you and compiled a list of reputable focus group companies. 

    Online Survey Companies

    If you’re looking for short online surveys that you can quickly complete while watching TV in the evenings, try one of the following. They all pay out in gift cards, PayPal, or prepaid Visa cards and are easy to do. You won’t make big bucks doing them, but you’ll cash out several times throughout the year to snag some gift cards for the holidays:

    Paid Online & In-Person Focus Groups

    These are the heavy hitters that pay the most for online or in-person interviews. I’ve detailed what type of focus groups they include, how much each pays, and how they pay out.


    20|20 Panel (or 20|20 Research)

    20|20 Panel provides a nice mix of options for participation, including:

    • Quick surveys that pay out anywhere from $1-$10, depending upon the content.
    • Survey with a chance at an online chat interview
    • Online discussion forum, where you log in and participate for 45 mins or so for several days
    • Online webcam discussion that lasts 30-90 mins with other participants
    • In-person study for those living near Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, and Miami, FL.

    Payout: $50-$350; prepaid Mastercard, or virtual or physical Visa; also started paying out via e-gift cards to places like Amazon, Best Buy, Fandango, iTunes, Starbucks, Walmart, and more.


    Apex Focus Group

    Apex gathers focus group listings from various market research companies all in one spot, so you don’t have to dig and chase potential leads. The work that Apex offers is very specific, and usually fall into clinical trials and paid surveys, with a few focus groups thrown in there.

    Read my review of Apex Focus Group here.

    Payout: Varies, paid via cash or gift cards


    Brand Institute

    Brand Institute helps companies build their brands. From naming pharmaceuticals to market research, they cover anything that involves branding. The site is very dated, and I understand it can be hard to qualify for surveys. However, if you do, they pay out very well!

    Payout: $30+, via PayPal or check


    Craigslist

    Surprisingly, there are a lot of focus groups listed on Craigslist. I searched Google for “craigslist focus group,” and the results brought back many focus groups in specific cities. When I checked locally, I found several online focus groups and had links to legitimate focus group websites. Please remember to use caution and always question anything too good to be true!

    Payout: Varies


    dscout

    dscout is an app that companies can use to gather feedback and data from users. They offer online studies as well as video interviews and surveys. You’ll complete tasks and answer multiple choice , short answer, photo, and videos questions.

    Payout: $2 to $200, paid via PayPal


    Engage in Depth

    Engage in Depth offers focused studies to consumers as well as business and healthcare professionals. They provide both online surveys and focus groups.

    Payout: $50-$250 via PayPal or check


    Experience Dynamics

    Experience Dynamics is looking for a wide variety of focus group participants, including people new to the web, IT professionals, users with disabilities, and even people across the world (we do regular global usability studies). Incentives are between $50-150 dollars per review, depending on the scope of the study.

    They have several types of studies that they conduct, including:

    • Field Studies: Visiting you at home or work for a 1-2 hour interview (about a topic such as an MRI, mobile banking, or hospital visit)
    • Diary Studies: Providing a diary for you to record your thoughts over 1-2 weeks
    • Usability Testing: Inviting you to our facility to review a Web site or software application (across the United States or globally) or asking you to join a live web conference
    • Phone interviews: Speaking with you over the phone for 30-60 minutes
    • Online Focus Groups: Participating in an online focus group study
    • Online Surveys: Getting your thoughts from an online survey

    Once you fill out a profile and get added to their database, they’ll reach out to you as new focus group opportunities arise.

    Payout: $50-150 a study


    Facebook

    Believe it or not, I see a lot of local focus groups advertising on Facebook for research study participants. Start by checking out any of these focus groups’ Facebook pages, and the ads should start appearing for you.

    Payout: Varies


    Fieldwork

    Fieldwork seems to be a more hands-on approach to focus groups. They do taste tests, product trials, in-home interviews, shop-along interviews, and online research. While they do most of their focus groups in 14 locations, they also have a national database for broader studies. Focus groups are conducted in 1-2 hour interviews or a survey panel that range from breakfast cereals to video games and everything in between.

    Payout: Starting at $75


    Field Voices

    When I checked Field Voices out, there were no current studies at the time. They offer paid studies, focus groups, online communities, and interviews. Also, I’m not keen on the payout being Tango cards, which I’ve never heard of. I would suggest only signing up for this one if you know someone that’s had a successful run with them.

    Payout: The only example I could find was $150 for a two hour chat; paid in Tango cards, which are a type of e-gift card


    FindFocusGroups

    FindFocusGroups is an aggregate of other focus groups. They pull together available studies that they find from different companies, making it easier to find ones that are a good fit your profile. You can search by city, state, or scroll their listings. They also offer paid surveys as an additional option.

    Payout: $100-$375+


    FocusGroups.org

    When I checked out FocusGroups.org, they had 185 available studies ongoing. They cover everything, including focus groups, clinical research, mobile app installs, online surveys, usability testing, and mystery shops. You can search by city or review studies that take nationwide applicants.

    Payout: $100-$400+; Prepaid VISA or check


    Focus Forward / Survey Squad

    Survey Squad is powered by Focus Forward and provides opportunities for focus groups, phone interviews, online diaries, and other types of marketing research. They’re a highly specialized marketing group, therefore they’re looking for consumers as well as business and medical professionals.

    Payout: Surveys pay $1-$5; studies pay $100-$300; paid via cash, check or gift card


    Focus Insite

    Focus Insite is a great opportunity for medical professionals, patients, caregivers, technical and business professionals, as well as consumers to earn money. Take surveys, test new products, taste test new snacks and beverages, even watch new TV shows!

    Payout: The current opportunities listed varied from $150 – $500; paid via digital payment of your choice


    GLG Insights

    Join opportunities with GLG Insights via phone calls, in-person events, and online surveys. This research group is perfect for people with expertise in a variety of fields and industry topics. It’s also great if you’re between jobs, retired, or just need some supplemental income.

    Payout: Paid an hourly rate that is typical billed in one-hour increments; paid via direct deposit


    Google Usability

    You can help shape the future of Google with studies conducted in Google’s offices, research van (interesting), your home, business, or online via your computer, phone, or tablet.

    Payout: Paid via gift cards or donation to your favorite charity


    Mindswarms

    If an in-person focus group freaks you out, check out Mindswarms. Once you qualify for a study, you record yourself answering ten questions. That’s it! Use your smartphone, webcam, or tablet to participate.

    Payout: $50 via PayPal


    MintVine / Branded Surveys

    Formerly known as MintVine, Branded Surveys offers online surveys to earn points.

    Payout: 1000 points equal $10; paid out via PayPal, prepaid Visa, or Amazon e-gift cards


    PingPong by HotJar

    PingPong is a global tester community, similar to UserTesting.com (see more below). You’ll test the latest in digital products online, all from the comfort of your own home. All sessions are one-on-one video calls, and pay out seven days after completion.

    Payout: €10 up to €200 euros per session


    Plaza Research

    Plaza Research conducts focus group discussions, phone interviews, in-home interviews, and online surveys.

    In-person focus groups are conducted in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Metro New York (Paramus), Metro Philadelphia (Marlton), Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Tampa.

    Payout: Focus groups payout immediately following the session and range from $50 to $200 for a 2-hour session.


    Probe Market Research

    Get a sneak peek of upcoming products and advertising campaigns when you participate with Probe Market Research. They conduct in depth interviews via focus group, online, or through phone calls on popular products and concepts for their clients.

    Payout: Between $50-$400 in cash


    Product Report Card

    Participate in online surveys, in-home product testing, focus groups, or in-depth interviews with Product Report Card. Some of the products you’ll be able to test include VR games, wearable technology, food, drinks, pet supplies, and more.

    Payout: Amazon gift codes once you hit $25 in rewards; otherwise (for bigger tests that pay $100 – $500), it’ll be paid via a VISA gift card or check


    Prolific

    Prolific is a higher scale, larger research firm that have over 130,000. But don’t worry – there will be plenty of opportunity to earn money. Each job offers an hourly rate, and offers bonuses as well as instant cash outs too.

    Payout: A minimum of $8 an hour, plus bonuses; paid via PayPal


    Rare Patient Voice

    Rare Patient Voice allows patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses, and advocacy leaders to voice their opinions to improve medical products and services. They offer both surveys and interviews and work with pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

    Payout: Between $25-$200 in cash, approx $120 a hour via check or gift cards


    Recruit and Field

    Recruit and Field offer the opportunity to participate in various focus groups, including in-person, phone interviews, online surveys, and in-home testing. Clients include Grey Goose, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Uber, Clinique, Nestle, Netflix, GMC, and Spotify, to name a few.

    Payout: $100-$275+ per study; pay via Paypal and e-gift cards


    Respondent.io

    Respondent focuses on finding business professionals to provide insight into their customers’ products and services. The type of study participants they need include:

    • Software developers
    • Marketers
    • Executives
    • Enterprise software users
    • Business owners
    • Sales and support

    These focus group participants earn a whopping average hourly incentive of $100 to $700 an hour! Users verify their profile, get matched to research studies, participate, and get paid. Then, you can also earn by referring your colleagues!

    Payout: Automatically paid out via PayPal. Respondent only collects a 5% fulfillment fee on the incentive paid.


    Schlesinger Group / Inspired Opinions / FocusGroup.com (Formerly Focus Pointe Global)

    These two focus group companies work together but cover different areas of the globe. If you’re in the US, you’ll apply to Schlesinger Group. If you’re in the UK, you’ll apply to Inspired Opinions.

    These companies are looking for consumers, business and healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers. They offer several different ways to participate in their marketing research studies, including:

    • Online research studies
    • Over the phone (at an agreed time)
    • In-person focus groups or interviews
    • In online communities
    • In-home product testing

    Payout: Depending upon how you participate, you can earn anywhere from $1 to $150. Earnings paid with pre-paid Visa card, check, gift card, or cash.


    SIS International Research

    SIS International conducts some fascinating studies, including mock jury research and online and in-person focus groups in cities worldwide.

    Their focus groups are based in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Washington DC, Miami, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, and many other cities nationwide. Internationally, their focus groups are held in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai, and many more.

    Payout: $25-$200, depending upon the project


    Survey Feeds

    Survey Feeds provides both online and in-person focus group opportunities. I appreciate that you can see what’s available right on their site and how much each pays. It takes the guess work out!

    Payout: $100 – $500


    Survey Junkie

    Survey Junkie has several ways to participate in their offers, including SJ Opinion and SJ Pulse. SJ Opinion lets you share your opinion through surveys and focus groups in exchange for rewards.

    SJ Pulse allows you to share your digital browsing information for rewards.

    Payout: Redeem points instantly for cash via PayPal or a bank transfer. Or, grab e-Gift cards to companies like Walmart, Amazon, Visa, iTunes, and more.


    UserTesting

    UserTesting is my favorite, and I use it often. Every test pays out $10 and takes 10 – 20 minutes to complete. You’ll use a browser plugin to record your screen and voice and walk through a set of instructions while answering questions. It’s a great way to earn good money!

    Payout: $10 per test, via PayPal, one week later


    User Interviews

    User Interviews is unique in that you can see the current focus groups available upfront, along with their pay and the amount of time required. When I checked their site, I saw everything from a mortgage lender survey to test new software to a regenerative medicine research study.

    Payout: $30-$340+ through Amazon gift cards or cash


    WatchLab

    WatchLab is currently running a promotion where you’ll be entered into a $100 raffle upon submitting your profile. Once you qualify for a study, they’ll reach out to you to join the online boards, in-person focus groups, or interviews.

    Payout: $100 – $175+; cash or check mailed to your house

    Now that you know the best online and paid focus groups, let me know which ones you try out in the comments below!

    Looking for other ways to make extra money quickly?

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