Platforms for Online Focus Groups

13 Aug 2018 | Research & Business Knowledge

A round up of the strengths and weaknesses of various online platforms available by members who have used them… if you want to add your own experiences, or have other platforms, please get in contact.

Visions Live (

  • a reasonable platform, and are very well priced, they also have support here in the UK (although not at weekends)
  • Jacky Clark, the business development manager there is very responsive and helpful Direct: +44 (0)1524 912 133 24hr: +44 (0)20 7788 7821
  • They are also fully GDPR compliant
  • Good for live chats – multiple people talking at the same time

Civicom (trialled but not used live) –

  • They really work with you to ensure you understand the technology
  • Eastern European based support (speaking excellent English), they are also available, apparently, throughout the sessions should there be any technology issues for you, clients or participants.  


  • clunky as while you have the stimulus and webcam on screen, you dial in (or they dial you and the participants in) over a landline… this is causing us some problems on the current project as many of our relatively young participants don’t have landlines…
  • being FocusVision it probably costs an arm and a leg
  • IDIs using InterVu platform need careful scheduling – otherwise we get charged extra fees for extra ‘rooms’. 
  • It does also work with multiple respondents (not used)


  • A relatively new online interview platform for focus groups and one-to-one in-depth interviews
  • There are no downloads required, works across all browsers and respondents simply need to follow the link to enter and take part 


  • good for asychronous/ bulletin board chats


  • Good for asychronous/ bulletin board chats
  • Some improvements in stimulus functionality would make it more user friendly
  • Easy for both respondents and clients to use
  • Good reporting for moderator – relatively easy to identify what needs doing (we have had up to 40 respondents – split into sub groups – and it is quite straightforward to identify who said what to which question etc)
  • Very good technical support

Web Creator Suite

The pricing structure is better for short term online qual, rather than longer term online communities ( ).  It has very good functionality, and is quite powerful in terms of what it can do (especially routing respondents according to their previous responses etc.). I’ve recently done straightforward open question qual, had participants upload photos, have created heatmaps to get feedback on creative, added mini-surveys/polls etc.  The pricing is also very competitive compared to Further and Recollective. £600 for a week’s community of up to 200 people. On the downside, some of the set-up is not as intuitive as it could be, and there are a few niggles when moderating that annoy me – but on the whole I quite like it and it has worked well on a range of projects for me.


Not great for analysis reporting (so I wouldn’t use it for larger samples), but available for mobile (which helps with consumer engagement).

Further (formerly Dub)

Good for the creative use of online; their tool is like child’s play, so much so that we recently considered them for a community with kids


A powerful platform, which I believe is the only insights community able to host thousands of participants, and which integrates Qualtrics survey platform seamlessly.

ICG member Mike Stevens has also collated a list of providers and outlined their different functionalitiy – to reivew this list, visit Mike’s site here.  There is also a good list of community platforms here.