Live labs



Why Use Live labs Online Focus Groups?

Say goodbye to in-person focus groups and limited online group platforms

In-person focus groups usually take weeks to plan, set up and execute, include expensive travel costs for staff and clients, and force you to select participants from among a very limited group of those who live close to the focus group center and ‘show up’, not to mention very high total project costs. Unless you need participants to taste, touch or smell a product, why in a COVID-19 world are you conducting in-person focus groups?

And while all online focus group technologies bring participants, moderators and clients together without travel, most providers have limited or no recruiting capabilities, lack media and message testing tools, do not provide real-time data visualization of results, do not live stream groups, force moderators to become tech experts, and still require long lead times.

With Mercury’s Live Labs online focus groups, we’ve taken all the hassles out of qualitative consumer research.

  • Hold your focus group in the next few days or tonight if crisis response demands it
  • Mercury handles recruiting and connects you with an oversample of precisely screened participants from a specific city, from across the nation, or from around the globe – or we work with your preferred recruiter
  • Moderate with ease as our ‘always present’ facilitators handle every technical aspect of a group’s execution
  • Show videos, print images or messages, or conduct advanced dial-tests, image heatmap tests, or text-highlighting message tests
  • See real-time data visualizations of media tests, crosstabs, word-clouds, and much more
  • Allow clients to watch the Live Labs group’s real-time video stream with observer chatting and critical moment logging
  • See the recorded group video with word-level synchronized and searchable transcript within a couple hours, with highlight editing capabilities that allow you to download select quotes or MP4 videos
With Mercury’s Live Labs online focus groups you’ve got the Mercury team, the best recruiting, the most advanced technologies, at an economical price, with faster, better insights and results.

Live Labs: Superior Recruiting

First and foremost, a focus group succeeds or fails based on the quality of the participants.

Thanks to our network of specialized sample partners, our sample team has access to tens of millions of potential participants across the globe.  For each Live Labs group, we recruit an oversample of 100+ carefully targeted individuals who each precisely match your screening requirements, have webcams, and agree to participate in a recorded focus group. As the group forms, you’ll have a choice of 3 to 4 times the number of respondents you need, allowing you to select the best combination of engaged individuals who collectively represent your desired mix.

We recruit participants in two different ways:

  • When screeners are selective, we Pre-Recruit participants 2 to 4 days prior to a Live Labs group, to ensure you have a large number and diverse mix of fully qualifying respondents, and Mercury sends reminder emails to participants at regular intervals to insure strong group participation
  • When rapid response action is needed, we On-Demand Recruit participants just prior to the start of the group, assuming screeners are not very low incidence, and rapidly drive sample until we have an ideal number and blend of perfectly qualifying participants

If requested, we also work with a client's third-party focus group recruiter.

live labs: select ideal participants 

Regardless of how qualifying participants were recruited, beginning 30 minutes before the start of a Live Labs group, fully screened and qualifying participants start connecting onto the Live Labs platform.

Before gaining access to the Live Labs focus group, incoming participants are placed in a holding state, but pop-up in Mercury’s proprietary Live Labs Focus Group Monitor where they can be reviewed in detail.  The monitor clearly presents all demographic and pre-screen data for each available individual to your focus group moderator and Mercury’s highly trained group facilitator. Based on the pre-screen data, decisions are made collaboratively as to who to admit, who may be redundant and should be rejected, and who should remain in the holding state while waiting to review additional qualifying participants. As a result, a diverse mix of those most passionate or those representing an ideal group dynamic are selected.

Before being admitted into the group, each participant is quickly interviewed by your moderator and Mercury’s facilitator to insure that their webcam and microphone are working, that they are visible, and that they are going to actively participate and contribute to the group. Mercury’s facilitator handles all technical aspects of the group’s execution throughout the event, permitting your moderator to focus exclusively on being a great moderator and not a tech guru. Once the ideal mix of qualifying participants have been selected, the Live Labs focus group begins.

Live Labs


Armed with the Live Labs Focus Group Monitor and its seamless integration with ZOOM conferencing technology, Live Labs provides the ideal environment for focus group execution.  Pre-screened and pre-interviewed participants will all be visible, easy to hear and active, and throughout the focus group, your moderator will have constant insight into each respondent’s pre-screen survey answers and demographics, adding perspective that may better inform focus group discussion.

At any time during the focus group, videos, images, or other media can be displayed and discussed within the group, all technically managed by Mercury’s ever-present Live Labs group facilitator. Additionally, advanced media testing capabilities including Mercury’s moment-to-moment dial tests, image tests, or text highlighting exercises can be administered to Live Labs focus group participants. In real-time, as participants answer quantitative or qualitative questions or complete advanced media or message tests, moderators and remote clients can view crosstabs, open-end analytics, as well as complete visualization of all dial-tests and image or message heat-maps at our secure Analytics Workbench web-portal.

M2M Dial Test


Live Labs Analytics

Every Live Labs group is recorded and privately live streamed in a custom observer room that allows chatting and timed note taking. Once the group is over, rapidly review your focus group video at our Analytics Workbench along with a searchable AI transcript, updated within hours to a human edited transcript, that is searchable and fully synchronized at the word level to the video. Select key quotes and clips and download transcript highlights or full MP4 highlight videos. You can even upload focus group or meeting videos from any platform and enjoy the same transcript and highlighting capabilities.

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