Focus groups

Malhotra (1999) noted that the advantage of online focus groups is that they can be used to reach segments that are difficult to access, such as doctors, lawyers and professional people. This author suggests that costs are lower, they can be arranged more rapidly and can bridge distance gap when recruiting respondents. Traditional focus groups can be conducted, where customers are brought together in a room and assess a website;this will typically occurs pre-launch as part of prototyping activity. Testing can take the form of random use of the site or, more usefully, the users will be given different scenarios to follow. Focus groups tend to be relatively expensive and time consuming, since rather than simply viewing an advertisement, the customer need to actually interact with the website. Conducting real-world focus groups has the benefit that the reactions of site users can be monitored; the scratch or slap of the head cannot be monitored in the virtual world!


  • Relatively cheap to create and analyse


  • Difficult to moderate and co-ordinate
  • No visual cues, as from offline focus groups

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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