Did you know you can get paid market research jobs online?
Quite often when I see side hustlers post their monthly earnings, some of the highest amounts turn out to be from online market research companies. Certainly appearing to be good earn rate per hour of work.
So when I saw Jo from Instagram account debt_free_me_by_2020 I asked if she would be interested in sharing her passion for earning extra money from paid market research. She kindly agreed to do so and if you are remotely interested in this line of extra income, this post will prove very useful!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate or referral links that earn me some commission if you sign up through them. However, this is at no extra cost to you. Read more here. Thank you if you do use them as they help to support my blog.
Hi, my name is Jo and I talk about my journey to debt freedom over on my insta (debt_free_me_by_2020) – nice catchy short name there! Adam asked me to write an intro to market research as it can be a handy way to make some extra cash. I’ve been on both sides of this having carried out market research but also taken part in it.
What Is Paid Market Research & How Does It Work?
The simplest definition of market research is that it’s a way to gather information about consumers needs and preferences!
Businesses invest lots of money in developing new products and services and they need to make sure that they’re meeting consumer needs.
Market research is a tool that helps them understand what a consumer wants or how a consumer will use their product or service.
So What Does Paid Market Research Involve?
There are several different methods that market research companies use to make sure they understand what a consumer needs – and they’ll probably use all of them in developing a product or service.
A lot of people looking to make some extra cash already do these.
The advantage of surveys for a market research company is that they are easy and cheap to do (after all we only earn pennies for completing them).
It’s very simple to analyse any data they get. (You might sometimes see this referred to as quantitative data collection – because it’s all about numbers.
The other types of research below are qualitative because they’re not about the number but feelings and emotions).
These are usually a one to one interview between a researcher and a customer.
They’re often done face to face – but at the moment are being done remotely using Zoom or Webex.
An interview will have some standard questions but it allowed the interviewer to see how you react to things and then ask some “deep dive” questions which gives them a much better understanding about how customers FEEL about any product or service.
Paid research focus groups bring together a number of carefully selected people (who will fit the company’s target market for their service/product) to have a group chat.
Focus groups are usually led by a trained moderator – someone who has the experience to be able to manage lots of people wanting to talk about their views and experiences.
It’s a great way to gather information – because when you get people in a group they often give each other ideas and talk about things people in one-to-one interviews might not.
But it can be tricky from the research side, for example, one person may try and dominate the conversation!
Observation / User Testing:
Observation and User Testing is the most powerful way for a researcher to understand a consumer’s experience.
The market researcher will step back and watch you test their product. This could be anything from you describing how you feel about a new food product or how you found using a new shampoo, to testing an app for a mobile phone or a website.
The key thing here is you need to be happy to talk about what you’re doing and how you are feeling and give lots and lots of detail! (There are a lot of companies who specialise in user testing – but that needs a whole separate post).
How Long Do Market Research Tasks Take?
It all depends on the project. Surveys – as we all know from experience – can be any length.
Most interviews and focus groups will be between 45-90 minutes – and the researchers are very good about making sure interviews don’t overrun. Some focus groups may overrun slightly as it’s easier to go off on a tangent when several people are involved!
There are projects which run over several weeks or months – these tend to be better paying but you must be sure you can commit to the tasks otherwise you won’t get paid. These can be short term (2-3 weeks) or run for up to 6 months.
They often involve a company sending you a new product try at home (for example a new kind of washing up liquid, a new shampoo or moisturiser). You might have to fill in a daily or weekly survey, weigh how much of the product you’ve used, or send in a daily or weekly video talking about your experience.
Who Is Paid Market Research Suited To?
The beauty of market research is that anyone can do it!
If you look at market research companies websites they’re very clear about who they’re looking for.
Some projects are based around specific areas (for example they may be looking for people in the UK, or London or Durham or Newcastle) and some are based around age groups (for example they only want to interview people aged 18-25, or people with kids, or people over 55).
But it’s very easy to visit a market research site and see which projects you qualify for.
Most sites are also very clear about when the research will need to be done – so they let you know the days or weeks it will be happening and the times when the interviews will take place.
Some are daytime only interviews, often they have interviews running into the evening too.
What Do You Need To Get Started?
I’d say the basics would be a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Because most interviews are being done remotely you need to have a device which has a camera so that you can be interviewed and recorded. Often this is much easier on a laptop or tablet.
Again each project will usually tell you what the requirements are – some can be done on smartphones but some will need a laptop.
You do need to be happy to either use or download things like Zoom or Webex or one of the many other types of similar software out there.
And you may need to download software like Qualtrics which lets you take pictures and videos and send them to the market research firm. Again this will be stated in the project requirements before you apply.
How Do I Know Its Safe Company?
Most legitimate market research firms in the UK will be members of the Market Research Society, the professional body for market research firms.
They carry out regulation to make sure studies are ethical and that the methods used are scientific.
They also have a code of conduct they expect their members to follow.
If you ever have a complaint against a market research company you should speak to the company first. If they don’t solve your complaint you can complain about them to the Market Research Society.
What Are the Best Paid Market Research Sites For Earning Money?
There are lots of sites out there and they all offer a wider range of projects which are updated on a daily or weekly basis. Some of the ones I use are:
- Angelfish Market Research
- Focus Force
- People for Research
- RespondentIO (This is my (Jo’s) referral link – She gets $20 dollars if people sign up using this).
- Take Part In Research
If you just want to dip your toes in and find out how things work I’d sign up for People for Research, Take Part In Research and Focus4people and as they have very clear websites which make it easy to see what projects are available.
FocusForce also sends out lots of invitation for projects they have running if you prefer to have everything come to your email inbox.
If you’re interested in projects relating to your work and profession and can verify your work email (I can’t as my IT department blocks market research companies) you may find you get some higher paying projects from RespondentIO.
You’ll need to sign up for more than one site to make sure you have lots of opportunities to get involved with research. If you only sign up to one site you could be waiting months between projects – if you sign up to more you may find you get a project every month or so.
So the more sites you sign up to the better your chances! But you will still have to apply for each project – which usually only takes a few minutes.
How Much Can You Earn From Online Market Research Sites?
Projects I’ve been involved with so far have paid from £20 to around £90 for a 45-60 minute interview, focus group or user test.
I am involved in one longer 6-month project which if successfully completed will pay £450. So it’s very variable!
My experience has been the lower-paid ones are usually for academic research (for example a student doing research for the degree). The higher-paying ones are from businesses thinking about launching a new product or user testing a new product just before launch.
I’ve worked on projects about shampoos, skincare and cat food (good for freebies to test!), and user-tested various apps and websites for things like companies offering loans, managing shares and using collaborative tools for business communications.
It’s difficult to say how much you can make per month doing this as so much depends on what projects are available and what your demographics are (your age, profession, whether you have kids) as each project looks for specific people.
I’ve made £150 in the last two weeks, but before that only made £40 over the previous two months – so it’s very variable and not a consistent income. I view it as an additional boost to savings or money I can spend on treats!
How Much Time Does It Take To Get Paid?
How long each project takes to pay is also variable. So far I’ve not come across any site which has a minimum threshold.
Some firms pay out the same day you do the research, most will take 3-5 days, some take over 10 days and others (for example the 6 months one) only pay at the very end of the project. But this will all be clearly stated in the invitation you receive.
Do You Have Any Extra Tips For Beginners?
- In most cases, you are helping a company test or trial a new product so you will be expected to keep this a secret!
Projects listed on the market research websites are fairly general, for example, “we’re looking for people aged 25-60 to take part in a finance project about loans. You can say that if you’re passing on a referral.What you can’t do is take screenshots of what’s involved and then go on Instagram and tell everyone you’ve just taken part in user testing an app for “name of the company” about loans because that would be breaching the confidentiality agreement you have with the research firm.Any confidentiality agreement will be clear in the invite and some companies will expect you to sign separate documents stating that you won’t talk about the research at all.There can be some severe penalties if you break these agreements so do read them – or better still just resolve not to talk in detail about any of the projects you’re involved with!
- Sign up for a couple of sites first rather than all in one go – that way you can see if it’s something you’re interested in without getting an avalanche of email!
- If you sign up to multiple sites remember to go and check their websites as well – if they list current projects on their websites (some don’t and only send out invitations).
- Because I’m signed up to several sites I check websites weekly (for example I check People for Research and Focus4People on Friday, Respondent on Monday and so on, otherwise you can easily lose a lot of time.
- You will get a lot of email invitations to projects if you sign up to multiple sites. Because I don’t want to miss projects I have these coming into my main email and I do a quick scan every morning to see what’s come up and apply for the relevant ones. You might want to have a separate email.
- Most Market Research teams are working from home at the moment so that has a bit of an impact on how quickly they may be able to respond to queries.
- Even if you are not picked for a project most research companies will offer you a small referral if you get someone else to sign up. These are usually on a project by project basis – RespondentIO is the only one I know which offers a general sign up referral.
These work differently in the market research world – RespondentIO is the only one I know that gives you a generic referral link where you earn $20 for everyone who signs up to Respondent using that link.
What RespondentIO and many other firms do is offer a referral for each specific project.
Jo often shares these referrals on her Debt_free_me_by_2020 Instagram account. Well worth a follow.
So what do you think, does getting paid for Market Research appeal to you as a way to make money from home?
Or have you already tried getting paid work from any of these Market Research companies?
If so, please share which ones you most recommend and if you’d like how much you earn in a month.