One of the main challenges of clinical trial participant recruitment is to get in touch with eligible people. This is especially true if you are looking for specific demographics, age ranges, BMI, or people with rare diseases.
A shotgun approach has you putting up fliers in your local supermarket, emailing students at your local university and running newspaper ads. These strategies can only take you so far.
But using digital advertising, we can target people directly based on a variety of factors – such as age, location, interests, and behaviors. But despite these options, it can be difficult to reach the specific population that is eligible for your clinical trial.
Another challenge is that even if the ad is shown to the right audience, there may not be enough people who are interested in participating. Clinical trials often have strict eligibility criteria, and not everyone who sees the ad may meet those criteria or be interested in participating. Wayturn analyzes the size of your potential enrollments in an area, and recommends adjustments to your strategy if needed.
There are several ways to overcome these challenges:
- Use the best targeting available: Targeting in digital advertising is all about narrowing down the audience we show ads to. Even if a particular condition cannot be isolated, we can still make our ads more likely to appear to almost any medical conditon by clever use of targeting.
- Use multiple audiences and compare costs: Digital advertising offers many ways to target people other than basic demographic factors and interests. Lookalike audiences, and retargeting are two options.
- Use targeted messaging: The messaging in the ad should be tailored to the specific audience and highlight the benefits and importance of participating in the clinical trial. This can help to increase sharing of the post, even by people who do not know if any of their friends are eligible to join. Many people share clinical trial ads if they appear trustworthy and altrusitic.
- Monitor the effectiveness of the recruitment strategy: It’s important to track the success of the recruitment efforts and make adjustments as needed. This can help to identify any challenges or bottlenecks in the recruitment process and find ways to overcome them. Sometimes, the issue is that very few people click the ads, other times people need more information up front and this can be reflected in a low landing page sign up rate. Constant analysis is important.
- Use multiple digital advertising platforms. Some platforms have more users of specific demographics, or allow for different targeting data. Facebook for example has an aging userbase, whereas Instagram is generally young. The audiences we can reach through each are very different.
- Utilize multiple recruitment strategies: Digital advertising may not be the most effective way to reach the right audience, especially if the target population is small or difficult to reach. In these cases, it may be helpful to use a combination of recruitment strategies, such as partnering with patient advocacy groups, reaching out to healthcare providers, or utilizing organic social media.
Overall, reaching the right audience through digital advertising can be a challenging aspect of clinical trial recruitment. It’s important to carefully consider the target population and the most effective ways to reach them when developing a recruitment strategy.