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Facebook Local Ads Hits NHS Target

222 Patients Joined the Trial

In early spring 2015, Dr Will Storrar, a Clinical Research Fellow at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, contacted Tillison Consulting to discuss the possibility of using Digital Marketing to help publicise a clinical trial for asthma patients, The LASER Trial (www.lasertrial.co.uk), with a view to increasing recruitment to the trial.

The Laser Trial is aiming to assess whether a new treatment device, Airsonett, might help to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks in patients with severe allergic asthma. The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA) programme and is sponsored by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. Participants have been recruited to the trial in Portsmouth and 13 other hospitals across the UK. In order to determine whether the treatment device is effective, the trial was looking to recruit 222 participants in the UK.

Facebook Local Ads and Twitter Local Ads Achieved the Goals

Initial discussions took place in March to determine whether Digital Marketing could be effective in increasing recruitment to the trail. After gaining a good understanding of the trial and also looking at the type of end user that the NHS trial team was trying to engage with, the key Specialists at Tillison assessed the different possibilities.

With the target audience being so varied, Tillison needed to adopt a strategy that would get the maximum exposure for the trial to enable them to reach their recruitment goals. From many years of experience working in the Digital Marketing sector, the team recommended using Social Media advertising and promotions as the best engagement tool as it could reach a large audience cost effectively with great targeting options.

Great Results

The Social Media campaign focussed on Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook campaign initially ran for 2 months and the Twitter campaign for 1 month. Advertisements on Facebook and Twitter directed potential participants to the trial website where they could register their interest in the trial. The trial team then contacted participants directly to discuss their participation. Both campaigns produced really good results but, although participant numbers increased, the 222 target was not achieved. The trial team decided to try different advertising platforms to increase participation, but after running newspaper and radio advertisements with very limited success, the team re-engaged with Tillison and the Social Media campaigns were resumed.

By November, the recruitment target was achieved and the social media campaign was viewed as a tremendous success with Twitter Ads contributing 1,467 website clicks and Facebook PPC Ads doing even better with 4,640 website clicks. In addition to this, there were 611 post likes, 83 page likes, 207 post shares and 118 post comments.

  • 222

    Patients Joined the Trial

  • 4,640

    Visitors from Facebook Ads

  • 1,647

    Visitors from Twitter Ads

Laser Co-Ordinator Dr Will Storrar stated "Most clinical research trials have ambitious targets and strict timelines for recruitment. Many struggle to reach their targets to time and within their pre-agreed budgets. With the help of Tillison Consulting the recruitment target for The Laser Trial has been achieved and we now look forward to analysing the results of this important trial for patients with asthma.  I believe that Social PPC has contributed considerably to reaching the recruitment target and would recommend Tillison to other businesses and public sector organisations”.

Dr William Storrar Trial Coordinator

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth, is one of several hospitals serving the city of Portsmouth. It is owned and administered by the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and co-ordinates a number of patient trials.

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