Using facebook for large-scale online randomized clinical trial recruitment: Effective advertising strategies

Laura Akers, Judith S. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Targeted Facebook advertising can be an effective strategy to recruit participants for a large-scale online study. Facebook advertising is useful for reaching people in a wide geographic area, matching a specific demographic profile. It can also target people who would be unlikely to search for the information and would thus not be accessible via Google AdWords. It is especially useful when it is desirable not to raise awareness of the study in a demographic group that would be ineligible for the study. This paper describes the use of Facebook advertising to recruit and enroll 1145 women over a 15-month period for a randomized clinical trial to teach support skills to female partners of male smokeless tobacco users. This tutorial shares our study team’s experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations to help researchers design Facebook advertising campaigns. Topics covered include designing the study infrastructure to optimize recruitment and enrollment tracking, creating a Facebook presence via a fan page, designing ads that attract potential participants while meeting Facebook’s strict requirements, and planning and managing an advertising campaign that accommodates the rapid rate of diminishing returns for each ad.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere290
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Advertisements
  • Research subject recruitment
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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