Enhancing Patient Recruitment: Online Advertising

Online advertising is becoming more and more prevalent for attracting patients for clinical studies. Unfortunately, online advertising requires a lot of responsibility and regular maintenance in order to remain successful. Below are a few tools and tips you can use to take your online patient recruitment to the next level.

Google AdWords

This tool is used by businesses of all sizes in every industry to receive hits on their website on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. With Google AdWords, you can create customized ads that link to a study description page. Along with this, you can select certain keywords your link will appear on when someone searches that term in Google. From there, you can limit when your ad appears by geographic location, and you can set a weekly budget to adhere to. AdWords is a great tool to use to gain access to those people in your area who are looking to be in trials. AdWords also allows you to ensure you have the most effective keywords tied to your ad and you can adjust your budget accordingly over the life of the ad.

Google Analytics

This is another great software from Google that can be integrated onto your website. Using Analytics, you can see which pages are generating the most traffic and determine if your study pages are actually engaging readers (based on a multitude of metrics). From there, you can also see where your visitors are coming from (Google, partner websites, websites you pay for advertising, etc.). Google Analytics will help give you a clearer picture on which recruitment tactics are actually performing, and how well they are doing.

Link Tracking

Link tracking is a tactic that helps you specifically understand which links or which ads on what websites are actually getting clicks. Link tracking can be done with advanced marketing automation software, but websites like Bit.ly can give you the ability to submit links, create numerous unique URLs and track the number of tracks they get. This tools is great if you are paying for advertising on company websites or if you have study listings on multiple websites.


A CTMS can help track recruitment effectiveness, in addition to a million other features, by giving your team the power to ask and record where the patient heard about the trial. You can then extract this information to determine the impact your online advertising has on your trials. While online advertising may not be the way to reach every audience for each trial, you can expect to use it more each year!