Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 134–137 | Cite as

Research Recruitment Using Facebook Advertising: Big Potential, Big Challenges

  • Julie M. KappEmail author
  • Colleen Peters
  • Debra Parker Oliver


To our knowledge, ours is the first study to report on Facebook advertising as an exclusive mechanism for recruiting women ages 35–49 years residing in the USA into a health-related research study. We directed our survey to women ages 35–49 years who resided in the USA exclusively using three Facebook advertisements. Women were then redirected to our survey site. There were 20,568,960 women on Facebook that met the eligibility criteria. The three ads resulted in 899,998 impressions with a reach of 374,225 women. Of the women reached, 280 women (0.075 %) clicked the ad. Of the women who clicked the ad, nine women (3.2 %) proceeded past the introductory page. Social networking, and in particular Facebook, is an innovative venue for recruiting participants for research studies. Challenges include developing an ad to foster interest without biasing the sample, and motivating women who click the ad to complete the survey. There is still much to learn about this potential method of recruitment.


Research recruitment Facebook Advertising 



This project was funded by a University of Missouri Research Council grant [URC 11–009 Kapp]. The funding source had no involvement in data collection or interpretation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the University of Missouri. We are grateful to the women who participated in this study and shared their views. We thank Robert Blake, MD from the University of Missouri for his helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie M. Kapp
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Colleen Peters
    • 3
  • Debra Parker Oliver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family and Community MedicineUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Psychology, Research and EvaluationUniversity of MissouriSt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Washington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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