There is a perception among clients that online research is cheaper to conduct than in-person research. Is this really true? The answer is “yes and no”. Let us explain…
Both online and in-person research studies include all of the same cost components: recruiting, incentives, moderating, report, and location fee (what you save on facility costs is spent on software licensing). So comparing an in-person group to an online group, the costs are about the same. Where the savings come in is twofold:
- Travel costs (no explanation needed)
- Study design
The true research cost-savings come into play in study design. Let’s say, for example, that you want to conduct research in 3 different regions of the country. With in-person research, you must travel to each of the 3 regions, and conduct a minimum of 2 groups per market (you should never rely on a single group), for a total of 6 groups in order to achieve your research objectives. With online research, each group can be recruited to include a regional mix. So you may be able to conduct only 2-3 groups in order to achieve your research objectives. And therein lies the savings. Six in-person groups compared to only 3 online groups saves you almost 50% while still achieving your objectives.
So, are online groups less expensive than in-person groups? It depends!