Facebook advertising for participant recruitment into a blood pressure clinical trial

Nash, Erin L., Gilroy, Deborah, Srikusalanukul, Wichat, Abhayaratna, Walter P., Stanton, Tony, Mitchell, Geoffrey, Stowasser, Michael and Sharman, James E. (2017) Facebook advertising for participant recruitment into a blood pressure clinical trial. Journal of Hypertension, 35 12: 2527-2531. doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000001477

Author Nash, Erin L.
Gilroy, Deborah
Srikusalanukul, Wichat
Abhayaratna, Walter P.
Stanton, Tony
Mitchell, Geoffrey
Stowasser, Michael
Sharman, James E.
Title Facebook advertising for participant recruitment into a blood pressure clinical trial
Journal name Journal of Hypertension   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1473-5598
Publication date 2017-07-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1097/HJH.0000000000001477
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 35
Issue 12
Start page 2527
End page 2531
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Language eng
Abstract Objectives:Recruitment of sufficient sample size into clinical trials is challenging. Conventional advertising methods are expensive and are often ineffective. The effectiveness of Facebook for recruitment into blood pressure clinical trials of middle-to-older-aged people is unknown. This study aimed to assess this by comparing Facebook advertising with conventional recruitment methods from a retrospective analysis within a clinical trial.Methods:Conventional advertisements (newspaper, radio and posters) were employed for the first 20 months of a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted in three Australian capital cities from Tasmania, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. With dwindling participant recruitment, at 20 months a Facebook advertising campaign was employed intermittently over a 4-month period. Recruitment results were retrospectively compared with those using conventional methods in the previous 4 months.Results:Compared with conventional recruitment methods, Facebook advertisement was associated with a significant increase in the number of participants recruited in the Australian Capital Territory (from an average 1.8-7.3/month; P<0.05). There was also an increase in Tasmania that was of borderline significance (from 4.0 participants recruited/month to 9.3/month; P=0.052). However, there was no effect in Queensland (from 6.0 participants recruited/month to 3.0/month; P=0.15). Facebook advertisement was associated with a significant decrease in the age of participants enquiring into the study (from 60.9 to 58.7 years; P<0.001).Conclusion:Facebook advertising was successful in helping to increase recruitment of middle-to-older aged participants into a blood pressure clinical trial, although there may be some variability in effect that is dependent on location.
Keyword Direct-to-consumer advertising
Direct-toconsumer marketing
Research subject selection
Social mediums
Web 2.0
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 569519
Institutional Status UQ

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