The Impact of Advertisement Messaging on Enrollment of Young Men Who Have S*x With Men for Web-Based Research: Observational Study

Background: Recruiting young men who have s*x with men (YMSM) in
community settings is difficult. The use of Web-based social
networks and dating apps for recruitment can be successful
approaches, although little work has been done on the impact of
study advertisement content on recruitment. Objective: The aim of
this study was to evaluate the effects of advertisement message
content on the recruitment of YMSM (aged 18-26 years) for a
Web-based focus group study, examining perspectives and preferences
for a mobile app that was designed to support s****l health among
YMSM. Methods: Between March and April 2017, a recruitment campaign
to promote human papillomavirus vaccination was launched on a
popular social networking and dating app for YMSM, with 3 different
text-based advertisement themes (technology, cancer prevention, and
s****l innuendo). The campaign recruited YMSM across 3 states
(Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania). We examined the
click-through rates, conversion rates, and enrollment rates of each
of the advertisements and examined differences in views and clicks
by age, state, and time of day. Results: The s****l innuendo
advertisement had the highest click rates when compared with both
the technology (click rate ratio [CRR] 2.06, 95% CI 1.74-2.45) and
cancer prevention (CRR 1.62, 95% CI 1.38-1.90) advertisements. The
s****l innuendo advertisement also had higher study enrollment
rates compared with the technology (CRR 1.90, 95% CI 1.23-2.83) and
cancer prevention (CRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.37-3.13) advertisements. No
differences were observed in clicks or enrollment by age, state, or
time of day. Conclusions: Our marketing campaign, targeting YMSM,
was effective in recruiting participants for a qualitative study,
using Web-based focus groups. The s****l innuendo advertisement was
the most effective and cost-efficient advertisement of the 3
approaches trialed. Different populations need different targeted
strategies for study recruitment. Researchers should work with key
representatives to develop and test culturally relevant messaging
and approaches that utilize current and popular technologies.

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The Impact of Advertisement Messaging on Enrollment of Young Men Who Have S*x With Men for Web-Based Research: Observational Study