Case Studies

Using social media channels to recruit market research participants

25 June 2024

The background

Ever thought about using social media channels to recruit market research participants?

When sourcing market research participants for market research studies, we often draw on several main sources:

  1. Dedicated market research panels, where participants have ‘opted in’ to provide their feedback in exchange for points, cash, or entries to a prizedraw.
  2. Client’s owned databases or pre-screened communities.
  3. Telephone, using pre-purchased lists or random digit dialling.
  4. Sometimes intercept or opportunity surveying triggered via QR codes.

We’ve often been asked the question about the viability of social media (particularly Facebook) as a recruitment tool.

Our client was a local council, home to 100,000 residents and 98,000 workers (or just 1.5% of the total Victorian population). Council was looking to conduct a survey of community sentiment, including health and social indicators. Alongside traditional telephone interviewing, we sought to understand the potential of social media as a recruitment tool.

The approach

We approached our friends at SixPointOne: marketing and advertising experts to assist. We developed a learn, iterate and deploy framework.

Learn: We started by generating multiple creatives, using a mix of talent, reflecting a range of ethnicities, family structures, engaged in a range of activities (from young women playing footy, to families having a barbeque, to father and son flying model planes). A mix of copy and call-to-action combinations were tested.

Iterate: Over a period of several days, we varied the combination of imagery, copy and call-to-action to determine which generated the best completion rates, using a Meta Pixel deployed at the start and end to measure progress and tune accordingly.

Deploy: We then used the optimised combinations, with Meta Pixel and Meta ad-targeting tuning as it went to optimise the conversion rates.

It’s worth noting that creative was co-branded with both the Vibrant Insights branding, and local Council, to reassure of legitimacy.

Results and RoI

This social media recruitment resulted in a positive outcome in terms of sample.

While the overall cost per survey completion was higher than traditional market-research panel surveys, we were delighted with the result. Specifically:

  1. Number of interviews conducted: We were able to achieve nearly three-times the best estimate provided by traditional market research panels. This meant that a non-viable online approach to community surveying could be made viable through use of social media channel recruitment.
  2. Quality of responses: We found this convenience sample to be superb quality, with very few failing attention and quality checks (where traditional panels would see dozens needing to be replaced).
  3. Value for money: Despite the investment in creative, ad campaign and management, we found the RoI to be fair. While the cost per interview completed exceeds that of traditional market research panels (which would have only delivered one-third the number of respondents), the cost per completion was far lower than traditional telephone interviewing.

With a less targeted demographic target, economies of scale may have worked moreso in our favour, and delivered even better RoI.

The takeaway

In summary, we were delighted with this as an approach.

Using social media channels to recruit market research participants can be a powerful way to reach specific audience targets, particularly when panels may not be able to supply a sufficient pool of respondents.

It is not necessarily a technique engaged in lightly – proper creative must be deployed, alongside targeting strategies, Meta Pixels to allow the algorithms to adapt, with sufficient incentive; done well it is another toolkit for marketers and researchers to recruit specific audience cohorts.

If you’d like to explore social media recruitment for your next market research, insights or strategy engagement, reach out today.

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