Disadvantages of Focus Groups (And How to Avoid Them): The Complete Guide (2024)
Disadvantages of Focus Groups (And How to Avoid Them): The Complete Guide (2024)

Disadvantages of Focus Groups (And How to Avoid Them): The Complete Guide (2024)

Simone Somekh

Simone Somekh

Jan 29, 2020 ‧ 5 MIN.

Becoming a fly on the wall in your customer’s conversation is every consumer insight dream. The need to truly understand your customer’s voice is paramount. Can it be done?

Yes, there are several ways to collect customer feedback. One of the most popular methods is focus groups. However, there are certain problems with the manner in which focus groups are carried out. The results obtained can lead to inaccurate decisions. 

In this article, we will learn what focus groups are, what are the disadvantages of focus groups, and we will also discuss an innovative solution that is far better than this traditional method of data collection.

Let’s begin.

What are Focus Groups?

Focus groups are a demographically diverse group of people who participate in an open discussion to share their views on a specific product or issue. During the conversation, the researcher asks a set of questions to the participants who are free to interact with each other. All the opinions of the participants are noted down to draw conclusions. 

Focus group surveys are a qualitative research method where a group of people is put together in a room for a discussion on a particular topic. Often, a market research company recruits the participants, conducts the meeting, and evaluates the data. Nowadays, online forums and chat platforms are used to conduct focus group surveys.

Conducting A Focus Group Survey

Focus groups are used in those cases when you need answers that aren’t sufficient to be captured via surveys. They are also used to supplement the results obtained via research surveys. Focus group surveys are conducted by a skilled and knowledgeable leader who has relevant experience in the field of discussion. Besides, the participants must be chosen carefully who are willing to share their opinions on the discussed subject.  

A focus group survey is conducted in the following manner:

  • The topic of the discussion is chosen.
  • The agenda of the group meeting is decided.
  • A good leader is recruited.
  • Participants are selected carefully, who can represent the real views of the population in general.
  • Questions are asked on a group discussion basis.
  • The same set of questions are asked differently to reassess the conclusions.
  • All the discussions are recorded.
  • Interpretations and calculations are made based on the data patterns that emerge.

The Disadvantages of Focus Groups

Focus groups represent a traditional method of research, and the investment required to host them is high. Here are the significant disadvantages of focus groups:

1- More Expensive to Execute Than Surveys

Focus groups are more expensive than market surveys because participants often expect to receive compensation to participate in the discussion. Hence, you need to spend money to prepare the set of questionnaires, and additional payment has to be given to researchers and the participants.   

2- Participants Can’t Voice Their Opinion Freely

Focus groups always have the “feeling” that you are under a microscope. People with introverted personalities find it difficult to voice their opinion freely. Hence, the quality of the information obtained is poor, and the investment gets wasted. 

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3- Hard to Get Honest Opinions For Sensitive Topics

Focus groups are not effective in the case of sensitive topics because participants are hesitant to answer such questions. Hence, getting them to share their honest opinion is complicated. Besides, the moderator conducting the discussion might be skeptical regarding the views of the participants because usable information is hard to obtain.  

4- Results Are Biased

Focus groups have become a traditional market research method because they are biased and usually provide a motivated answer. Moderators can intentionally or unintentionally change the perception of participants because they might not want to disappoint the moderator. Hence, focus surveys might provide false information regarding your product or service. 

5- Might Not Be a True Representation of Your Target Group 

Focus groups consist of a sample of the audience, which is not an accurate societal representation. The opinions expressed by the participants might not represent the views of society as a whole. Hence, additional research is always required to cross-check the results of focus groups. 

6- Not Ideal For B2B Research

Conducting B2C focus group discussions are more manageable when compared to B2B talks. It is challenging to convince participants to share their views about B2B products because professionals are hard to convince. Besides, they might demand a good compensation to share their opinions. Moreover, creating an atmosphere for useful discussion could be challenging because such debates often have intense conversations. Lastly, an experienced moderator is required to handle the participants’ views smoothly to generate worthwhile insights. 

Do We Have A New Solution To Replace Focus Groups?

Now that you have understood how problematic research surveys and focus groups are – what can you do? Can you replace them? And if so, with what?

Meet Revuze, A Generative AI-Based Solution For Focus Groups

Focus groups are good, but the way they are conducted and the conclusions are drawn often lead to wrong decisions. It is not easy to organize focus group discussion, data is biased, and the cost involved is also high. The best way to run a focus group is to be “fly on the wall.” You should tap into customers’ conversation without customers knowing you are present in the room because it will affect their answers.

Your business needs a generative AI-based solution like Revuze for focus groups that can offer you real insights within days. The platform is replacing the need for customer surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews. It collects consumer review data from multiple online retail source like Amazon, Target, or Walmart. The collected data is then cleansed and organized across the entire product category in a granular manner. Behind the scenes Revuze’s generative AI engine is ensuring the highest degree of data accuracy by creating a unified taxonomy and then merging product families and names. The screenshots below from the various online sites highlight the challenges with different product names, categories, and images. In addition, data is deduplicated and irrelevant products are removed.

Amazon: data accuracy and the disadvantage of focus groups Target: data accuracy and the disadvantage of focus groups Walmart: data accuracy and the disadvantage of focus groups

You can get insights related to your brand, your competitors, and your products. Data is processed faster using NLP, computational linguistics, and text analysis to gather consumer insights in the best possible manner. The generative AI engine adeptly identifies the topics of the various product reviews and assigns them sentiment within the product context in an unbiased manner.


Focus groups are not always the best solution for market research. Such methods have become outdated and are time-consuming. More often, they offer data that might not reflect the information that you actually need leading to poor business decisions resulting in losses.

Revuze  generative AI provides a company one-stop-shop of “old school” solutions such as focus groups. Instead of living in the past, embrace the power of generative AI & NLP – save money on focus surveys, analysts and also receive unbiased answers within days instead of months.

Simone Somekh

Simone Somekh

Simone Somekh is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in marketing and communications for B2B SaaS companies. He teaches Communications at Touro College and he is the author of an award-winning novel published in four languages.

Simone Somekh is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in marketing and communications for B2B SaaS companies. He teaches Communications at Touro College and he is the author of an award-winning novel published in four languages.