I’ve participated in over 50 online focus groups and helped brands like Microsoft, Lyft, Samsung, Toyota, Caviar, and Blue Apron refine their products, services, and marketing. And I’ve made a bunch of extra money doing it.
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to leave home to participate in a focus group, making it a pretty appealing side hustle.
If you want to start getting paid for sharing your opinion, keep reading.
Top 15 Online Focus Groups
I’ve researched and reviewed the best online focus groups to give you a few recommendations for your next side hustle:
- Survey Junkie
- User Interviews
- Survey Feeds
- American Consumer Opinion
- Recruit and Field
- Inspired Opinions
- Rare Patient Voice
- Brand Institute
1. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is one of my favorite sites for online surveys and focus groups. Its main focus is online surveys, which usually pay out $1-$3.
But the more surveys you take, the more likely you are to get an offer to participate in a higher-paying focus group, extended phone survey, or product testing.
These opportunities don’t come up all the time, but when they do, they pay up to $75, with some in-person focus groups paying up to $150.
Signing up for Survey Junkie is free and only takes a few minutes. If you’re particularly interested in focus groups, you can set up email notifications to get alerted anytime one is available.
Survey Junkie is the most reputable online survey company and an easy way to make some extra money in your free time.
Ipsos is one of the biggest online survey platforms in the US, where you can earn cash or gift cards for doing online surveys and focus groups.
The average Ipsos survey has a lower payout than Survey Junkie, offering an average of $0.10-$1.00 per quick survey. But its focus groups and in-depth surveys can pay up to $100 per hour.
You are awarded points when you complete a survey or focus group, and they have a low payout threshold, which means you can cash out easily.
Ipsos has high customer reviews on Trustpilot, and it has a user-friendly mobile app so you can get paid to contribute your opinion on the go.
Want to start earning some extra cash in your spare time, try out i-Say, earn rewards by taking online surveys or even participating in online focus groups.
3. User Interviews
User Interviews is an international consumer research platform that puts out over 2,200 studies each month. The market research company offers in-person and online focus groups and surveys across a wide range of topics and industries.
Their average payout for an hour-long focus group is $50-$75, but some users report making over $400 for participating in more in-depth studies.
And the company makes it easy to sift through focus group opportunities on the website, clearly outlining the timeline and payout for each listing.
To get the most out of your time on User Interviews, link your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. This step can help the company to connect you to relevant opportunities you’re eligible for.
Respondent is another legit consumer research platform that regularly pays more than $100 for hour-long focus groups.
Creating an account is simple, and once you’ve registered, you can start scrolling through all the current studies you meet the requirements.
If something catches your eye, you can easily complete a quick screening survey to officially apply. Respondent’s researchers will review your responses and send you an email invitation to participate if you’re chosen.
Respondent pays out via PayPal, so you’ll need an account to get paid for your time. You can make decent extra money on generic focus groups that are open to everyone, but the real money lies in niche professional groups.
5. Survey Feeds
Survey Feeds is another solid option for paid online survey groups. But it’s especially rewarding if you live in an eligible city and are willing to participate in in-person focus groups.
Survey Feeds regularly launches focus groups in Los Angeles, New York, San Fransisco, Boston, and Miami, which could be in the form of groups, clinical research studies, or interviews.
Online studies pay up to $450, and some of the more extensive in-person studies can earn even more. You can explore open studies on the Survey Feeds website and their social media accounts, which are regularly updated with new opportunities.
FocusGroup.com, which is backed by market research giant Schlesinger, is another popular focus group site that’s open to participants in the US.
When you filter open research opportunities to national studies, you’ll be connected with focus groups and interviews that can be conducted over the phone or on your computer with video chat.
Research topics are all across the map, from banking to dining, and you can sort through available studies once you sign up. Then, you complete quick screening questions to determine if you’re eligible to participate.
While qualifying for a study can take some time, the opportunities are lucrative, paying out an average of $75-$250.
7. American Consumer Opinion
American Consumer Opinion has more than 7 million users. While its biggest emphasis is on surveys, you can also find focus group opportunities on the site.
It’s important to note that the site doesn’t directly pay out in cash. Instead, it uses a points system, where $0.01 is equal to one point. Once you reach a set amount of points, you can redeem them via PayPal or a paper check.
The site pays up to $50 for its focus groups and longer surveys. When you complete short screening surveys, your name also gets entered for ACS’ monthly lottery drawings, which could net you $50.
Mindswarms is pretty unique from the other consumer research platforms in this roundup.
For every product or service up for review, Mindswarms asks you to upload a video that answers questions about it. And their payment structure is super straightforward—you get $50 for answering 10 questions about the product or service.
Once you submit your answers, you’ll get paid directly by PayPal. The best part? These studies take an average of 10 minutes to complete.
To put your hat in the ring, you need to register and complete screeners for the studies that interest you. Easy.
9. Recruit and Field
Recruit and Field has been in business since 1977, and it has an exceptional 4.9 rating on its Facebook page from consumers who’ve made money participating in focus groups on the site.
The site is a good fit for participants of all demographics and professions. You can participate in general consumer surveys, or more specialized ones for professionals like medical personnel.
Recruit and Field works with major brands like Netflix, Apple, Spotify, Grey Goose, and Clinique, so you could end up testing anything from beauty products to a new TV series.
The company pays out via PayPal or gift cards, and you can make up to $250 per study.
Fieldwork mainly conducts focus groups, but you can also participate in phone interviews, product trials, shopping, and taste tests.
You can get in on in virtual groups no matter where you live by entering the company’s national database. If you live near one of the thirteen cities across the country where they’re active, you can unlock more focus group opportunities in person.
Fieldwork conducts focus groups for just about any topic you could imagine, but it specializes in the medical industry. The company is always looking for doctors, physician assistants, medical techs, nurses, and other medical professionals for specialized surveys.
The company usually pays its participants with Visa gift cards, which start at around $75 for a one to two-hour focus group.
11. Inspired Opinions
Like some of the other focus group companies in this review, Inspired opinions offers in-person focus groups in some cities, and worldwide opportunities for at-home focus groups.
It also uses a points system to reward participants, where 100 points are equal to $1. Participants earn an average of $50 to $250 per focus group.
Participating in Inspired Opinion studies is simple. Simply sign up and provide your basic details, let the company match you with studies that look like a fit, then wait for a call or email to screen you for the study. Once you complete the study, you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
The site is highly rated on Facebook, with an average review of 4.4 out of 5 stars, adding to its credibility.
FindFocusGroups.com is a little different from the other focus group websites I’ve included in this review. Rather than offering its own consumer research surveys, the site acts as an aggregator that provides you with a list of focus groups from across the internet.
This is a great option if you’re open to working with multiple survey sites and want to see all of your best options in one place. Some of the trending listings on the site currently pay $100-$325.
The website is user-friendly and makes filtering available studies easy. You can search by location, or set the filter to nationwide. Then, you can see all the study’s details and apply directly on the site, which can be a major timesaver.
13. Rare Patient Voice
If you are a patient or a family caregiver, this one’s for you. Rare Patient Voice aims to give researchers insight into people’s experiences with medical services and products, and to give patients and their caretakers the chance to express their opinions.
They do this through clinical trials, surveys, phone interviews, and focus groups. When I explored the website, I saw opportunities ranging from $35 for a survey to $400 for in-person interviews.
To sign up, you simply need to submit an application listing your medical conditions. You’ll be contacted about studies that are a match.
Rare Patient Voice conducts research in the United States, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and the UK, with most studies taking place in the US.
PingPong is another pretty unique consumer research platform that focuses on user experience testing to help websites and apps improve their usability.
The site has over 175,000 users and pays out around $15 to $220 for most of its studies, depending on how complex and time-consuming the task is.
While PingPong is based in Europe, it’s a global platform that’s open to US participants.
Pingpong relies on 1-on-1 video chats between researchers and participants and requires a computer with a mic and camera and a steady internet connection.
15. Brand Institute
Brand Institute does a lot for the brands it works with, helping to come up with names and company identities, with a focus in healthcare.
One way they do this is through consumer research, where participants get paid to share their opinions on everything from pharmaceutical products to cars to perfume branding.
Brand Institute has a quick registration process. Once you enter your information, the site will determine your eligibility and start matching you with studies.
The website has high reviews from users across the internet, and it partners with reputable brands, so you can trust that it’s a legitimate company.
How Online Focus Groups Work
There are companies out there that are willing to pay you to test new products and participate in group discussions. Some of them you can even do online. No matter what, it definitely beats minimum wage.
While focus group companies are often interested in recruiting participants of all ages, people between the ages of 18 and 30 are a coveted demographic for most companies, so they are willing to pay to talk to them.
You can participate in several types of research. Some of them are fairly standard where you visit the company at their location or someone from the company visits you at your home, and you answer some questions.
You can also take part in online discussions and do everything from the comfort of your computer. There is even something called mystery shopping where participants pose as regular customers, then write down information about the business they are visiting, like their customer service experience and the cleanliness of the location.
Another popular research type is product testing. You could test products like food, drinks, or shaving supplies, such as cream and razors.
How Much Money You Can Make with Online Focus Groups
Most focus groups last between one and three hours and pay ranges from $50 to over $1,000 in some cases. Yes, I actually got paid $1,000 for 3 hours of my time once for a luxury car company.
On average you will likely make between $100 and $200 for your time, but the more in-demand and unique your skills/viewpoint the more money you will get paid.
Ironically, now that I make a lot of money, I get paid more money to participate in focus groups, since I am a relatively difficult demographic to reach. An added benefit is that most companies pay you in cash, prepaid debit cards, or Amazon gift cards, so you can use them how you please. I’m still using the Amazon credit I received from a recent focus group.
How To Increase Your Odds of Being Picked for a Focus Group
When you first sign up, you only need to provide basic information, such as your age and gender. However, before being a part of a paid focus group, you need to fill out a survey to see if you qualify to participate in a particular study.
Typically you will fill out a survey. If you’re a fit, you might receive a call from a recruiter who will ask you some follow-up clarifying questions.
One Recommendation: Answer honestly, because they are looking for your unique opinion. There are no “right” answers and in many cases focus group recruiters are looking for unique perspectives.
Should You Participate in Online Focus Groups?
So are online focus groups the perfect side hustle? I wouldn’t go that far, but I definitely think they are one of the best side hustles. There are very few opportunities where you can make $100-$200+ an hour to sit around and share your opinions from your couch.
In most cases focus groups are actually a lot of fun, because not only do you get paid for your opinions, you also get to make a real difference. Your voice matters and your input is actively used by the companies hiring out the focus group firm, so you get to influence what products may be coming to store shelves soon.
As always, try to invest at least 50% of the money you make so it can grow and compound over time. Every $1 I made side hustling in 2010 is now worth $3.50 today. ✌️