5 Benefits of Digital Advertising for Clinical Trial Recruitment

For drug sponsors and clinical research sites, it can feel risky to try a new approach to patient recruitment when traditional methods have proved challenging. But rather than increasing risk, digital advertising for clinical trial recruitment can help accelerate enrollment and reduce the risk of extended timelines and unmet goals.

When used correctly, digital advertising and social media can speed enrollment and help trials reach their goals faster. If you're considering digital advertising but are on the fence about it, consider how the below benefits can improve your recruitment efforts.

1. You have more opportunities to reach each patient.

Reaching out to patients in a site database typically begins – and ends – with an email blast. Patients may also receive a follow-up email and phone call about the trial opportunity. With cookie tracking, ads can follow users around the web with different messaging if they don't convert the first time around. This approach is particularly helpful for users who visit a landing page, but don't complete the action. For example, digital advertising can find patients who've visited your trial's landing page but didn't complete a pre-screener or fill out an interest form. Giving patients multiple opportunities to sign up for your opportunity helps increase the chance that they'll take the next step.

2. Digital advertising saves sites time.

While some research sites have a team dedicated to patient recruitment, many don't, and staff members become overburdened with the other work of running a busy site.

Well-run digital recruitment campaigns in particular are time consuming. After launching a digital campaign, it's important to monitor progress daily to optimize the campaign and respond to comments – it's not a set-it-and-forget-it process. Patient recruitment companies offer a range of services that can include copywriting, design, and campaign management to support recruitment efforts, saving sites time. Of course, sites are provided with regular updates on recruitment progress, but with less hands-on involvement in day-to-day monitoring and optimizing.

3. It's easy to test a variety of messaging options to get the best results.

Because patients can see clinical trial ads in so many different places, digital advertising also gives marketers the opportunity to use and test a variety of messages to find out what resonates best with an audience. In our recent patient survey, we found that the top motivations for taking part in a clinical trial varied from condition to condition. For example, we found that kidney disease and multiple sclerosis patients place a higher priority on logistical factors such as transportation than patients with other conditions do. Successful digital advertising relies on regular A/B testing of copy options, including choosing a variety of messaging that may appeal to different patients.

4. Success is not dependent on site performance.

Trial recruitment typically starts with reaching out to patients in site databases. But unfortunately, 48% of sites under-enroll clinical trial volunteers. Though digital advertising can include outreach to existing databases of patients, this method casts a much wider net and doesn't rely on any one source of patients.

For research sites working with recruitment companies, digital advertising can also work in tandem with other methods, allowing for a diverse pool of patients and reducing the risk of enrollment delays.

5. You can target a wide range of patient populations.

While patient databases can be helpful for certain trials, because of the nature of a database, they're not the right fit for all condition areas. For example, if your trial is looking for newly diagnosed patients, a database wouldn't be as helpful as other methods, such a Google Ads related to searches patients typically make when first diagnosed. Diverse targeting methods can also help your team reach specific patients. Antidote's relationship with PWNhealth, for example, allows us to connect with patients who have lab values specific to the inclusion criteria for a trial. While research sites may have that information in their patient database, our partnership allows us to reach out to patients with the most recent lab results. We also work with health nonprofit and patient advocacy partners to reach specific patient groups and communicate trial opportunities through trusted sources.

Learn more about Antidote's unique approach to clinical trial patient recruitment by downloading our case studies.