How to Make the Most of Your Online Patient Recruitment

April Schultz
Content Marketing Manager, Forte
January 10th, 2017

Digital advertising can be an effective tool to increase awareness for your clinical research organization and influence patient recruitment for your trials open to enrollment. However, if you don’t know which websites your ideal participants are using, your efforts may prove fruitless. Identifying where potential participants are most likely to view the content you post online can boost your chances of creating awareness among the right groups of people.

Social media is an area of digital advertising that has gained widespread popularity in the clinical research space as a patient recruitment tool. While it may seem like establishing a presence on all social media platforms is the best way to gain the most attention, it’s often more effective to focus your efforts on two or three of the most popular platforms for your target patient population. Studies conducted by Pew Research Center, show social media use can be broken down by key demographic factors, including age and gender.

Percentage of total internet users on social media platforms:

In its 2016 survey, Pew Research Center found 86% of Americans can be considered “internet users.” These individuals use social media as a source of entertainment, news, and often in the context of work.

Facebook is still the most popular social media platform for the majority of American internet users, beating all other platforms by a significant margin. Nearly 80% of internet users, and 68% of all US adults, use Facebook. Instagram and Pinterest come in second with about 30% of internet users on their platforms. LinkedIn and Twitter show the least use with 29% on LinkedIn and 24% on Twitter.

Social media use by age:

The number of adults using Facebook continued to grow in 2016. Now, 44% of online adults age 50+ are using the platform. Instagram and Pinterest seem to draw a younger audience with a majority of users under 30 years. LinkedIn and Twitter are also popular with younger generations, particularly recent college graduates.

Social media use by gender:

Results found women have a larger presence on nearly all social platforms, with 83% of female internet users on Facebook, 38% on Instagram, 25% on Twitter and 45% on Pinterest. The only platform on which men showed a higher percentage was LinkedIn, with 31% of male users versus 27% female.

Defining these demographic characteristics of your target patient population can give you a better understanding of where your research organization should focus its social media and digital advertising efforts. To learn more about how to use digital advertising as a patient recruitment tool and define your target audience, register for our upcoming webinar “How to Effectively and Compliantly Advertise Clinical Trials to Potential Participants.”

During this free webinar, three expert presenters will outline the basics of advertising for clinical trials, provide guidelines to help you remain compliant with your IRB, and highlight tools to help you prepare for patient recruitment on the operational level. Click the button below to register:


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1 Comment

One thought on “How to Make the Most of Your Online Patient Recruitment

  1. A tactical advertisement on Facebook, however, can be targeted among the site’s hundreds of millions of users. Its offerings for advertisers also can be highly targeted to specific geographic areas. And with such a large population, Facebook can reach a high percentage of potential patients across all levels of income and education.

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