Yes, you can get paid for consumer research studies that are done online. Online focus groups are my absolute favorite side hustle. And I’m not talking about taking online surveys for pocket change to cash out at your local Coinstar.
In our opinion, online surveys (in the traditional sense) have their place and should be done only when you don’t have any scheduled paid market research on your calendar.
I mean where else can you get paid extremely well to share your opinion from the comfort of your own home? Over the past two years, I’ve participated in over 60 paid research studies and no two were exactly alike. What they all had in common is they were fun, no-pressure ways to make money fast.
Most were done in the privacy of my home.
Here’s a sample call for participants for paid market research:
Because I’ve done my research, I also know when paid focus groups near me pop up, it simply means a short drive to the research company’s office to voice my opinion for pay.
Either way, the pay has never been less than $50/hour. Many paid studies average $100 an hour. High-paying research studies are the norm as far as I’ve seen.
Before we go any further, I want to make sure you know that the term focus “groups” may include paid studies where it’s just you and the market researcher. I know that this is a bit confusing but the main thing to remember is researchers often combine the data collected from your research session with other participants.
As you’ll see in a few moments, the lion’s share of paid consumer research studies are not found on paid survey sites like Swagbucks – even though I love that site as a way to earn extra cash. When you participate in the type of focus groups I’m talking about here, the payout has nothing to do with earning points.
How do I get selected for paid market research surveys?
Most companies use online screeners and telephone interviews to select survey participants. “Online screeners” are a series of questions that determine your initial eligibility to participate in the study. Sometimes these are still followed up by telephone interviews to solidify your eligibility.
You’re not paid for these online screeners or telephone interviews. It stinks, but sometimes you can go through both to find out that you’re ineligible for the study.
SCAM ALERT – The screener should never ask for your social security number or your credit card number.
If participating in focus groups is something you want to do right away, then we suggest the following:
Complete a participant profile with at least 50 market research companies. The more companies that have a participant profile for you, the better your chances of being selected on a fairly regular basis. It’s partly a numbers game.
A participant profile assists the researchers in determining whether to send you an online screener. This doesn’t mean that you should wait for an email invitation or phone call.
Don’t worry if you’re not local. Market research companies often have multiple offices across the country AND recruit for national studies too!
Participant profiles gather the following types of information:
- Complete Home Address
- Contact Phone Numbers
- Education Level
- Industry in which you work
- Member of Household (Ages and Gender)
- Vehicles owned or leased
- Other Interests
- And a ton of other information so they can match you with studies that fit your profile.
You decide how much information you want to provide.
How and when do I get paid for paid market research?
Each company has its own policy regarding payment. I’ve been paid via PayPal, Visa/Mastercard/AMEX prepaid cards, and Amazon gift cards. When you first learn about the study, payout information is provided so there are no surprises. The one thing that varies greatly is when you’ll receive payment. When I participate in local studies, I receive payment immediately following the study. When the study is done online, I’ve been paid as soon as the next day. The longest I’ve waited for payment has been 30 days even though they’ll say it can take up to six weeks.
Each company has its own policy regarding payment. I’ve been paid via PayPal, Visa/Mastercard/AMEX prepaid cards, and Amazon gift cards. When you first learn about the study, payout information is provided so there are no surprises.
The one thing that varies greatly is when you’ll receive payment. When I participate in local studies, I receive payment immediately following the study. When the study is done online, I’ve been paid as soon as the next day. The longest I’ve waited for payment has been 30 days even though they’ll say it can take up to six weeks.
Again, these study details are made known before you even apply for the study. If they neglect to disclose this vital information upfront, simply ask.
Required Equipment For Paid Online Studies
It should be fairly obvious that you’ll need online access to participate in an online study. Now, here’s the not-so-obvious part. Many of the studies also require you:
- Participate in a quiet environment
- Have a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam
- Have an Android or iPhone with updated software
Market Research Companies Near Me
I’ve found that local companies that conduct paid market research studies don’t have a strong social media presence. The ones that call me on a semi-monthly basis don’t seem to bother with a Facebook page or Twitter account. The best way to find local studies is to perform a Google search using “City Name” + “market research”. Call each and ask how they find participants.
Online Focus Groups – What You Need To Know
Lying during the screening process in an effort to get selected will most absolutely backfire. Remember, these are research studies that screen participants for this sort of thing. Trying to game the system will get you banned from participating in any future studies. It’s simply not worth it nor is it necessary.
It may take some time to snag your first paid research survey, but it will happen.
Scams are out there. Some scammers will post fake studies using a real company’s logo. We recommend you always follow links that lead directly to the company in question. If in doubt, contact the company directly to confirm that are hosting the posted study.
50+ Places To Find Paid Focus Groups
We strongly recommend that you register with at least 50 focus group companies. Here is a list to get you started.
- Accellerant Research
- Alder Weiner Research
- ConneXion Research Studies
- Consumer Centers of New York and New Jersey
- Consumer Opinion Services
- Consumer Viewpoint
- Destination Analysts
- Elevated Insights
- Elliot Benson
- Engage In Depth
- eSearch Panel
- ESMT Research
- Eureka Facts Panel
- Fieldwork NRC
- Focuscope, Inc.
- Hagen/SInclair Research
- L&E Research Panel
- Matrix Research, Inc.
- Media Science
- Media Barn
- Microsoft User Research
- Mindseye Research Group
- Murray Hill International
- Nielsen Choices
- Peters Marketing Research
- P & K Research
- Portable Insights
- Probe Market Research
- Recruit & Field, Inc.
- Research Match
- Research Worx
- Reveal Research Studio
- Revelations Research Panel
- RMS Research & Marketing Strategies
- Schlesinger Group
- SIS International
- Spencer Research
- User Interviews Panel
- User Research International
- Video Chat Network
- VuPoint Research
Are these the only companies that allow you to participate in research studies online? Of course not, but this is a great start.