February 25, 2014

'Born in Michigan? You're in the biobank': engaging population biobank participants through Facebook advertisements.


'Born in Michigan? You're in the biobank': engaging population biobank participants through Facebook advertisements.
Public Health Genomics. 2013;16(4):145-58
Authors: Platt JE, Platt T, Thiel D, Kardia SL

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Despite a broad call for biobanks to use social media, data is lacking regarding the capacity of social media tools, especially advertising, to engage large populations on this topic.
METHODS: We used Facebook advertising to engage Michigan residents about the BioTrust for Health. We conducted a low-budget (<USD 5,000), 26-day social media campaign targeting Michigan residents aged 18-28. We placed 25 Facebook advertisements and analyzed their performance in terms of reach and cost across 3 engagement types: passive, active and interactive. We compared engagement before, during and after the campaign.
RESULTS: The Facebook page was viewed 1,249 times during the month of the advertising campaign, versus once in the month prior. 779,004 Michigan residents saw ads an average of 25.8 times; 4,275 clicked ads; the average click-through-ratio was 0.021%. Interactions included 516 'likes' and 30 photo contest entries. Cost per outcome ranged from <USD 0.005 per exposure to USD 182 per photo entry. The average cost per click was USD 1.04.
CONCLUSION: A social media strategy to build public awareness about biobanking is not likely to be effective without a promotional 'push' to distribute content. Social media advertisements have the capacity to scale-up engagement on biobanking while keeping costs manageable. Facebook advertisements provide necessary access points for unaware participants, with implications for public trust.

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