skip to Main Content

The Bay Area is known for Silicon Valley (both the show and the real place) and the enormous impact that companies headquartered in the Bay Area have had on the world’s technology usage. Innovation goes hand-in-hand with companies that plant themselves in the Bay Area – from the caliber of talent to the wealth of ideas coming out of Silicon Valley office buildings. When it comes to testing out ideas and products in the Bay Area, and, specifically, using qualitative methodologies such as focus groups, we often get asked whether companies should conduct focus groups in the Bay Area.

InterQ is headquartered in San Francisco, and the majority of our clients are high-technology providers. However, even though the Bay Area is well-known for its outstanding innovation, we sometimes recommend that companies don’t host focus groups in the Bay Area. We’ll explain which use-cases are best for testing products in the Bay Area, and which products/services/ideas should be vetted in other markets.

Pros to doing focus groups in the Bay Area

If your company is in a B2B technology space, and you need to understand how to either refine your product, do product concept testing, or get feedback from specific job types (such as engineers or highly-specialized roles), then the Bay Area can be a great location to have focus groups. With a plethora of highly-skilled tech workers, recruiting the right job titles is easier because of the density of high-tech workers. We’ve conducted successful studies for companies in cybersecurity, data analytics, and B2B software in the Bay Area when we needed to find concentrated populations of specific engineers and analysts.

Pros to doing focus groups in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is easy to get to for our clients who want to fly in, either nationally or internationally. With three major airports in the Bay Area metropolitan area, access to top-notch focus group facilities is easy in the Bay Area. Moreover, with a mild Mediterranean climate, the Bay Area is especially appealing to travel to during the winter months, without concerns of weather-related airport closures.

Cons to doing focus groups in the Bay Area

Even though the Bay Area has many positive attributes for companies who want to do focus groups with tech workers, there are some projects when we don’t recommend that companies run their usability tests and focus groups in the Bay Area. For B2C studies that involve testing a concept or service, keep in mind that the Bay Area is a bit of a “bubble,” meaning that your average worker/student is more tech-aware and savvy than other areas in the company. Since so many people work in tech, and with the proliferation of ideas and concepts that are piloted in the Bay Area, the general population (even if they don’t work in tech) is more exposed than other markets to new ideas. What resonates with Bay Area residents may fall flat in other markets that have more diverse economies. Even the “lingo” and norms in the Bay tend to be different from other markets. For this reason, we recommend testing new consumer products in cities outside of the Bay Area. Typically, we prefer to sample in an East Coast, Midwest, Southern, and West Coast (non-Bay Area) market for more accurate results.

Cons to doing focus groups in the Bay Area

Finally, we recommend avoiding the Bay Area for focus groups if your project is highly budget-sensitive. Recruiting and compensating Bay Area focus group participants is more pricey than other markets, as is facility space. For budget-conscious projects, we recommend smaller urban markets outside of high Bay Area prices.

Interested in conducting focus groups in the Bay Area? Request a proposal today >

Back To Top