Background: Web-based approaches, specifically social media sites, represent a promising approach for recruiting young gay and bisexual men for research studies. Little is known, however, about how the performance of social media advertisements (ads) used to recruit this population is affected by ad content (ie, image and text). Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different images and text included in social media ads used to recruit young gay and bisexual men for the pilot test of a Web-based human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination intervention. Methods: In July and September 2016, we used paid Facebook advertisements to recruit men who were aged 18-25 years, self-identified as gay or bisexual, US resident, and had not received HPV vaccine. A 4x2x2 factorial experiment varied ad image (a single young adult male, a young adult male couple, a group of young adult men, or a young adult male talking to a doctor), content focus (text mentioning HPV or HPV vaccine), and disease framing (text mentioning cancer or a sexually transmitted disease [STD]). Poisson regression determined whether these experimental factors affected ad performance. Results: The recruitment campaign reached a total of 35,646 users who viewed ads for 36,395 times. This resulted in an overall unique click-through rate of 2.01% (717/35,646) and an overall conversion rate of 0.66% (241/36,395). Reach was higher for ads that included an image of a couple (incidence rate ratio, IRR=4.91, 95% CI 2.68-8.97, P<.001) or a group (IRR=2.65, 95% CI 1.08-6.50, P=.03) compared with those that included an image of a single person. Ads that included an image of a couple also had a higher conversion rate (IRR=2.56, 95% CI 1.13-5.77, P=.02) than ads that included an image of a single person. Ads with text mentioning an STD had a higher unique click-through rate compared with ads with text mentioning cancer (IRR=1.34, 95% CI 1.06-1.69, P=.01). The campaign cost a total of US $413.72 and resulted in 150 eligible and enrolled individuals (US $2.76 per enrolled participant). Conclusions: Facebook ads are a convenient and cost-efficient strategy for reaching and recruiting young gay and bisexual men for a Web-based HPV vaccination intervention. To help optimize ad performance among this population, researchers should consider the importance of the text and image included in the social media recruitment ads.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21CA194831. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
© Paul L Reiter, Mira L Katz, Jose A Bauermeister, Abigail B Shoben, Electra D Paskett, Annie-Laurie McRee. Originally published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance (http://publichealth.jmir.org), 02.06.2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
- Gay and bisexual men
- HPV vaccine
- Social media
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article