Clinical trial recruitment requires targeted messaging to specific patients. The online space is ideal for reaching these kinds of audiences across geographies,. As a post from EyeOnFDA’s Mark Senak noted, YouTube provides one interesting method to reach them, but the digital medium goes well beyond the opportunity he discussed. In fact, it’s potentially really useful  for fast response since it can be easily updated as information changes.

Edelman has clinical trial recruitment experience, and our offerings include digital tactics.


Most people start their online experience with search engines, and this provides a perfect opportunity to find appropriate patients for clinical trials when those patients are looking for treatment information. Keyword ad buys (search engine marketing) can also be geo-targeted, only reaching people in the markets where the trial is occurring.


YouTube is the #2 search engine, and people enjoy getting information in video format. Videos provide a unique way to educate people about clinical trials and can include real patient testimonials. Pfizer has recently begun a YouTube channel dedicated to clinical trial recruitment called Pfizer Clinical Team.

Online Communities

Patient communities abound online and can be a great audience for clinical trial recruitment for specific diseases. Several sites, including PatientsLikeMe and Inspire, offer ways for pharmaceutical companies to raise awareness of their clinical trials.

Physician Outreach

Patients are only one of the critical audiences in clinical trial recruitment. Another is physicians. Several properties are geared towards the physician audience, such as Sermo and Medscape, and provide opportunities for clinical trial awareness and recruitment.

Advocacy Organizations

Don’t forget your advocacy partners. Almost all of the advocacy groups now have multiple digital touch points with their constituencies and may be willing to provide information about a clinical trial in their email, social media or website properties.

Image credit: Sermo

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