As a focus group moderator, I can’t remember how many times I’ve been ready to start at 6.30pm, with only half a room of mildly hungry participants all quietly waiting for the rest to make it through traffic so we can start talking (and eating). And when you’ve only got 90 minutes, well you want to make sure every minute counts.
So it’s interesting to examine what time conversations happen online, based on what is convenient to our community members. One of the greatest benefits of online research communities is the flexibility for members – they can talk anytime, anywhere so long as they have internet connection.
The graphs at left show it’s possible to have conversations with research participants from 8am in the morning to midnight. Here are some other points of interest:
- Mums with kids at home show a steady presence all day, from breakfast to bed time. There’s not even a real ‘trough’ in the conversations at dinner (proving once again they’re able to multitask by feeding the kids and talking to us)
- Small business owners want to converse during work hours and tend to go quiet after 6pm. Isn’t this when we typically want them to come to groups?
- Our communities with an even mix of males and females, or those which are male dominated show a real dip at around 6pm – usually after a late afternoon peak in visits to the community. This coincides with the commute home, dinner, and other post-work activities.
- People are ready to talk from breakfast time – not when you’d typically participate in market research.
So when respondents say, ‘No I’m having dinner’ they probably mean it. We’ve all got to eat sometime. But there’s 23 other hours in the day to chat if you belong to an online research community.