Focus groups

Focus groups allow participants to combine experiences and perspectives to explore ideas in depth. Commonly used during creative and conceptual development, they help you understand your customers’ needs, perceptions, and beliefs.

A focus group discussion typically comprises 6 to 8 participants plus a moderator and lasts between 60 and 120 minutes. The moderator is there to keep the discussion on track, encourage participants to explore ideas and prompt interactions. Focus groups provide immediate, rich feedback on things like design, packaging, pricing, and the messaging of any product or service. They can also be used to undertake creative tasks, such as developing mind maps, with each participant able to build on the inputs of the others.

Focus groups can be held face-to-face or online. Online is convenient and makes it possible to hold focus groups with people from different countries or when social distancing restrictions make it impossible to bring people together in a group.

When face-to-face focus groups are possible, the benefit is that our trained moderators can read body language and non-verbal reactions to unlock deeper insights behind the discussion. Face-to-face focus groups are often held in a dedicated market research viewing facility where clients can observe the research as it happens from behind a one-way mirror, or via live video streaming. FieldworkHub has partnerships with trusted viewing facilities around the world and we are happy to offer advice and make the arrangements on behalf of our clients.


Three young Moroccan women holding cups and talking in a cafe

Recruitment of Moroccans in London for focus groups

A Moroccan bank wanted to conduct two focus groups with ex-pat Moroccans living in London to learn more about their banking requirements and how they could be served. The Moroccan ex-pat community is one of the small minority ethnic communities in the UK (official statistics estimated it at 34 000 or 0.05% of the total population in 2015). Nevertheless, FieldworkHub managed to recruit for both groups in under two weeks and the client was pleased with the insights that the groups were able to provide.

Female moderator writing on a flipchart during a focus group. Two male and one female respondents are also visible

Focus groups with brand and ad agency executives in London, Frankfurt, Mumbai, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore and Toronto

A technology company that operates an online content and advertising platform was proposing to make some changes to the way it interacts with key accounts. FieldworkHub was asked to recruit one focus group of senior brand managers working for major online advertisers and one group of senior advertising agency executives working for brands that advertise online for a discussion about online advertising, their relationships with various online platforms and their reactions to some of the changes that the end client for this research was proposing. We recruited over 80 people in total for these focus groups in Canada, Germany, India and the UK (including screening calls with some potential participants identified by our client), liaised with the viewing facilities, and arranged moderators in Mumbai and Frankfurt. In a subsequent phase of the same research programme, we arranged focus groups with more junior brand managers and ad agency staff in the Brazil Germany, India, Singapore and South Korea, recruiting almost 100 respondents across the five markets.

A healthcare professional takes part in an online focus group. Other professionals are visible on her laptop screen

Online focus groups with dieticians and payers / commissioners in the UK

Our client was working with a manufacturer of specialist nutrition products to help them develop marketing messages for dieticians and payers/commissioners working in oncology, which had not previously been regarded as a primary target segment. We arranged a two-hour online focus group with eight oncology dieticians and a second group with eight payers/commissioners working in the National Health Service.