$3,189 to enroll 48 healthy adults for a diet study

Since February 2020, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is enrolling participants for a study on meal frequency, timing and beef consumption together with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

This study needs to enroll 48 Adults near Urbana, Illinois.

Wayturn’s digital recruitment services could help them to enroll participants, and this article will outline the investment needed to do so.

Note however that the University of Illinois has not yet chosen, nor yet been given the chance, to work with Wayturn. This article is hypothetical and serves to give an idea of the investment and services Wayturn recommends based on experience from successfully enrolling participants in similar clinical studies.

Overall Strategy

  1. Digital advertising.
    Wayturn shares the clinical study through digital advertising with people who fit the eligibility criteria. This starts with writing the promotional materials, selecting images and editing videos together with voiceovers to create high quality ads.
  2. Prescreening
    People who are interested read about the study, and fill out a prescreening questionnaire based on the eligibility criteria.
  3. Phone screening appointment
    Those who pass prescreening can book a phone screening appointment with the research team. Wayturn makes sure phone appointments come through only when your team is available.
  4. Adjust & Deliver
    Wayturn monitors the rate referrals, enrollments, and adjusts audience targeting, referral speed and remain instantly available

    Wayturn also remains instantly available and flexible to ensure an optimal recruitment process. This entails pausing whenever requested, increasing speed, or even changing eligiblity criteria or focusing more on particular segments whenever needed.

1. Eligibility Criteria Analysis

To estimate advertising costs and construct the questionnaire, all eligibility criteria need to be analyzed. This means estimating pass rates and translating each into simple language that all participants can easily understand.

Full Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 20-40
  • Pre-menopausal
  • Recreationally active
  • Weight stable for prior 6 months
  • Consumption of meat-based diet for >6 months

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Age outside of range (20 – 40)
  • Pregnancy
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Participation in previous research using 2H2O or [13C6]phenylalanine
  • Participation in other ongoing research that interferes with this study (e.g., conflicting diet, activity interventions, etc.)
  • Any hospitalization or surgery for a metabolic, cardiovascular, or neuromusculoskeletal complication within the past year
  • Allergy or hypersensitivity to local anesthetics, latex, or adhesives (bandages, medical tape, etc.)
  • Excess scarring after injury
  • History of excess bleeding after cut
  • Chronic or frequent dizziness/fainting, and arm or leg weakness/numbness
  • Arthritis
  • Tumors
  • Mental Illness
  • Hepatorenal, cardiovascular musculoskeletal, autoimmune, or neurological disease or disorder
  • Predisposition to hypertrophic scarring or keloid formation
  • Physical activity limitations
  • Consumption of ergogenic-levels of dietary supplements that may affect muscle mass (e.g., creatine, HMB), insulin-like substances, or anabolic/catabolic pro-hormones (e.g., DHEA) within 6 weeks prior to participation
  • Consumption of thyroid, androgenic, or other medications known to affect endocrine function
  • Consumption of medications known to affect protein metabolism (e.g., prescription-strength corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or acne medication)
  • Unwillingness to comply with study procedures
  • Weight unstable (variation >5% of bodyweight in last 6-12 months)
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergy to dairy product or lactose intolerance
  • Current or previous tobacco use with last 6 months
  • Obesity (body mass index; BMI > 30 kg m-2)
  • Score of less than 14 or greater than 24 on Godin-Shephard Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire

In summary, this study is looking for 20-40 year olds below 30 BMI who eat meat, are active and healthy with no significant mental or physical illnesses, allergies or dietary restrictions.

See the pass rates below for details on what questions we would ask in the prescreening and their pass rates.

Criteria Pass rates

The pass rate analysis is a process whereby Wayturn determines what percentage of people that answer the questionnaire are likely to pass each eligibility criteria. This helps us estimate the investment needed in terms of adbudget and number of referrals to reach the total enrollments needed.

Digital advertising also has an ace up it’s sleeve when it comes to pass rates. On Facebook, for example, we can choose to show ads to only certain demographics very easily. But we can also target habits and interests. This helps us drastically increase pass rates for some criteria – like sports, certain medical conditions, etc. Especially when excluding interests too – smoking for example is very easily excluded with proper targeting.

For this diet study, the prescreening questions and pass rates would look something like this:

QuestionPass rate
How old are you? ( 20 – 40, inclusive)99%
Has your weight changed more than 5kg in the past 6 months? ( No)88%
How much do you weigh? What is your height? (BMI < 30)80%
Has your diet included meat for the past six months or more? (yes) 95%
If female: Are you currently pregnant? ( No)85%
If female: Do you have regular menstrual cycles? (Yes) 85%
Are you currently, or have you ever been, a participant in another research study? (No)

if Yes: Did that study contain diet, activity, 2H2O or [13C6]phenylalanine? (No / Unsure)
Have you been in the hospital for metabolic, cardiovascular or neuromuscoskeletal complications in the past year? (No)95%
Are you allergic to any local anesthetics, latex, or adhesives? (bandages, medical tape, etc.) ( No)95%
Do you have any Hypertrophic Scarring after an injury or surgery? (No)97%
Do any of the following apply to you?
– Frequent dizziness/fainting;
– Arm or leg weakness;
Are you clinically diagnosed with any of the following?
– Arthritis (No)
– Tumors
– Mental Illness
– Hepatorenal, cardiovascular musculoskeletal, autoimmune, or neurological disease or disorder
Do you have any physical activity limitations? (No)99%
Are you currently eating any supplements that directly affect muscle mass (creatine, HMB), insulin-like substances, or anabolic/catabolic pro-hormones (e.g., DHEA)? (No)98%
Are you currently eating any thyroid, androgenic, or other medications known to affect endocrine function? (No)98%
Are you currently eating any medications known to affect protein metabolism (e.g., prescription-strength corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or acne medication)? (No)97%
Are you allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant? (No)85%
Do you smoke cigarettes now, or have done in the past 6 months? (No)92%
During an average week, how many times do you do the following kinds of exercise for more than 15 minutes? (Include Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Table) (Score >14 and <24, inclusive)75%
Total pass rate estimate:17%

This leads us to an overall pass rate of 17%. In the next section we will look at what that means for our advertising budget.

2. Promotional Strategy

Total Advertising Costs & Reach

We know that we need 48 enrollments for this study. So, counting from those 48 enrollements and up, using estimates, we can calculate the required number of people at each stage of our recruitment strategy:

Participant Stage% Pass rate# PeopleSource
Seen ad66430Calculated here
Clicked ad2.3%1528 Internal statistics
Completed Prescreening Questionnaire33%504Internal statistics
Passed Prescreening Questionnaire 17%86Estimated above
Passed Phone Screening70%60Client / Internal statistics
Passed Clinic Screening80%48Client / Internal statistics

Reaching ~66,500 people is going to cost $2,657 based on current digital advertising costs. But it’s not enough to reach people – we need to ensure we actually get 2.3% of people to click the ad after seeing it. That comes down to experience, high quality promotional materials, and testing. The majority of Wayturn’s work starts here.


As part of the investment, Wayturn writes promotional materials tailored for each clinical study. All material is subject to an extensive approval process (internally and with each client) before it is sent to the relevant IRB.

Here is an advert that could run on Facebook to find people for this clinical trial:

Example Facebook ad

Promotions are also sent to Wayturn’s database of people interested in clinical research, spread through Facebook, Instagram, Google, Youtube, Spotify, Linkedin, and to other special online interest groups.

Study Webpage

All advertisements lead to a webpage with more information. The client logo, some background information, a map of where to find the research site, lead researchers and other essentials can all be found before deciding to start the prescreening questionnaire.

Wayturn’s webpages are made to be accessed on all devices, with no disturbing design elements or any links other than to the questionnaire. Here is an example of the first thing someone would see after clicking an advert:

Example webpage

Prescreening Questionnaire

The prescreening questionnaire contains all the eligibility questions outlined above and is always part of Wayturn’s services. There is also an overview document with graphs and statistics on completions, passes, failures that is accessible to the client. All data is gathered through Jotform’s HIPAA compliant databases.

Example prescreening questionnaire

Phone Booking System

Phone bookings can only be made by prescreened referrals. This ensures that the client does not spend any time on people known to be ineligible.

Any calendar can be synced with this booking system to give the client control over when bookings are made. It’s very flexible and can be customized.

3. Results Overview

Wayturn’s services are priced at the cost of advertising plus 20%. So this dietary research study would be $2,657 + 20% = $3,189. This small margin motivates us to always do better than our estimates. Dividing each column by the total investment of $3,189 gives us this table:

Participant stagePass ratePeople leftPrice per person
Completed Prescreening Questionnaire100%504$6
Passed Prescreening Questionnaire19%86$37
Passed Phone Screening70%60$53
Passed Clinic Screening80%48$66
Total: $3,189


An investment of $3,189 is needed to:

  • Create a promotional material package with videos, images, texts, automatic emails, questionnaire details and website layout to send for IRB approval.
  • Program an online prescreening questionnaire according to the eligibility criteria to ensure high quality referrals.
  • Design a webpage containing all study details to inform visitors fully before they can fill out the questionnaire.
  • Manage advertisments, send database emails and work with influencers, special interest groups and websites to get people to sign up.
  • Handle the phone booking system that saves your time by allowing only prescreened referrals who meet all eligibility criteria to continue.
  • Allow for sufficient advertising budget to find all enrollements needed within the recruitment time frame.

The first step to working with Wayturn is to get a free recruitment plan and cost analysis. Click here to get started.