Facebook, Twitter, & Qr codes: An exploratory trial examining the feasibility of social media mechanisms for sample recruitment

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This study examined the effectiveness of three social media based recruitment channels for sampling rural adolescent populations for online health research. At present, there is no consensus on the optimal social media based vehicle for recruiting adolescents due to limited research. This exploratory study compared Facebook ads, Twitter, and QR code postcards at three different but demographically similar rural high schools. The results showed that QR codes had the highest response percentage and the lowest cost per recruited participant, whereas Twitter had the lowest response percentage and Facebook had the highest cost per recruited participant. Although this is the first time QR codes were examined in this context, it seemed to show potential in online health research. The findings are interpreted from a variety of theoretical and conceptual frameworks. Applications of each recruitment channel are discussed and suggestions are provided for future research.

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Computers in Human Behavior