Clinical Trials and the Benefits of Social Media for Patient Enrollment

More patients check social media than ever before. Seventeen percent of people use Facebook for health-related information, 15 percent use YouTube and six percent use Twitter. Still, only a few medical researchers promote their clinical trials on these platforms. Incorporating social media into your clinical trial marketing increases patient recruitment and retention, and it could provide you with valuable new opportunities.

Here's why.

What Are Patients Doing on Social Media?

Patients use social media for a wide range of reasons including to help inform critical healthcare choices. Forty-one percent of people say social media influences their choice of doctor, hospital or medical facility, while more than 40 percent say information on social media affects the way they deal with their health. Moreover, 90 percent of patients between the ages of 18 and 24 say they trust information shared by friends and family on social media.

People also use social media to read reviews about doctors, hospitals and drug companies. Fifty-three percent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 49 percent of 25 to 44-year olds prefer social media for healthcare reviews.

Eight percent of patients find medical research opportunities on social media -- nearly as many as those who hear about clinical trials from physicians and family and friends.

Using Social Media for Clinical Trials

Social media marketing is a brilliant idea because platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have such a large reach. You can help boost patient enrollment by advertising medical research to a large number of people and increase the visibility of your clinical trial. Promote your trial on Facebook, for example. This social media platform has more than 1.9 billion monthly active users. Currently, around 11 percent of clinical trials in North America include social media communications. Expect this number to skyrocket over the next few years.

And advertising on social channels is cheaper than advertising on TV or radio, and it's great for targeting a young demographic – not just as potential study participants, but because they could be the family member, friend or caregiver of a potential enrollment candidate. Fifty-nine percent of adults aged between 18 and 29 use Instagram, for example -- almost twice as many as 30 to 49-year-olds.

You can also reach an older audience. Seventy-two percent of people aged between 50 and 64 use Facebook -- one of the largest growing demographics on the platform. Recently, we wanted to promote a clinical trial about breast cancer, so we targeted women aged between 35 and 65 on Facebook. People showed greater engagement with our campaign as they progressed in age, with women aged between 55 and 65 the most responsive.

If you want to optimize your trial recruitment by leveraging social media campaigns, we can help. Visit our website to discover how we connect patients with medical researchers.


Sandra Shpilberg is the Founder and CEO of Seeker Health. She founded Seeker Health to harness the power of technology to connect patients to clinical trials. Her mission is to improve patient's health outcomes around the globe by improving information flow about clinical trials and connecting interested patients. 

Seeker Health is a digital health company innovating the ways that patients find out about and enroll in clinical trials. The Seeker Portal, a proprietary software platform, brings efficiency and transparency to the patient journey toward enrollment. Learn more at: