Background: Social media is a popular and convenient method for communicating on the Web. The most commonly used social networking website, Facebook, is increasingly being used as a tool for recruiting research participants because of its large user base and its ability to target advertisements on the basis of Facebook users’ information. Objective: We evaluated the cost and effectiveness of using Facebook to recruit young women into a Web-based intervention study (PREFER). The PREFER study aimed to determine whether an educational video could increase preference for and uptake of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Methods: We placed an advertisement on Facebook over a 19-day period from December 2017 to January 2018, inviting 16- to 25-year-old women from Australia to participate in a Web-based study about contraception. Those who clicked on the advertisement were directed to project information, and their eligibility was determined by using a screening survey. Results: Our Facebook advertisement delivered 130,129 impressions, resulting in over 2000 clicks at an overall cost of Aus $918 (Aus $0.44 per click). Web-based project information was accessed by 493 women. Of these, 462 women completed the screening survey, and 437 (437/463, 95%) women were eligible. A total of 322 young women participated in Surveys 1 and 2 (74% response rate), and 284 women participated in Survey 3 (88% retention rate), with an advertising cost of Aus $2.85 per consenting participant. Conclusions: Facebook proved to be a quick, effective, and cost-efficient tool for recruiting young Australian women into a study that was investigating contraceptive preferences. However, Web-based recruitment may result in sociodemographic biases. Further research is required to evaluate whether Facebook is suitable for recruiting older study populations.
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