This is without a doubt the best experience I've ever had as a Market Researcher working with kids. Yes perhaps I say that after every project but truly there are so many advantages of doing qual with kids online. Here are just a few of the many
1. You can target a much wider age range of kids than you'd ever want in one focus group
2. By managing the way they can post on the topic, they have to give their views without seeing those of the other group members
3. You can simultaneously run groups in different regions, different countries and check out with one group some of the things emerging in the other
4. Kids are in their own space, they feel safe and comfortable and can answer the day's questions in their own time
5. It's easy for them to post a photo or a video of something you might need such as they using or playing with a toy or game
6. By holding an extended group you can build rapport and get to know how children relate to the brand
7. You can drop in a Survey Monkey questionnaire and collect some valuable background information about the category
8. Mums can be asked questions too
9. They don't need to be paid as much as traditional groups because there's little inconvenience to Mum and no travel or time costs, viewing studios etc
10. It's easy to get them to do small tasks during the course of the research and report back such as watch a TV show, check out a website, download an app
Having said all that, the amount of data you get is huge which is great from the clients' point of view but you do have to charge for your time. Imagine, in a normal one hour focus group with say 6 kids the maximum talk time per child is 10 minutes maximum. In reality it's more like 5 minutes once you've deducted time for the intro and warm up, rules an regs and wrapping up. With an extended focus group online say over a week of half term each child is likely to give you 10 minutes per day! That is 10 x 5 days x 6-10 kids per group. I'm sure you can see how this will end up costing the same as your focus group project.
Next time you have a kids research project give me a call and we can look at it as a potential online group....or not. There are times when the traditional focus group will be a better fit to your brief.