Evaluation of response to incentive recruitment strategies in a social media-based survey

Megumi Ichimiya, Hope Muller-Tabanera, Jennifer Cantrell, Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer, Raquel Gerard, Elizabeth C. Hair, Dante Donati, Nandan Rao, W. Douglas Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to examine varying incentives on acceptance to participate in an online survey on social media and to identify related demographic factors. Methods: The study used Facebook and targeted its users aged 18 to 24 years in the United States. During recruitment, participants were randomized to one of the three types of incentives for survey completion, (1) a $5 gift card, (2) a lottery for a $200 gift card, and (3) a $5 gift card plus a lottery for a $200 gift card. Acceptance rates for survey participation were compared across three incentives using percentages, 95% logit-transformed confidence intervals, and Pearson’s chi-squared tests. The survey asked about cognition and behaviors around smoking and vaping. Results: The ads had 1,782,931 impressions, 1,104,139 reaches, and 11,878 clicks. The average ad frequency was 1.615, and the click-through rate was 0.67%. Males clicked less than females when seeing the ads. The acceptance rates for the three incentives were 63.7%, 37.2%, and 64.6%, respectively. A Chi-square test confirmed that the lottery-only group had a lower acceptance rate compared to those guaranteed an incentive, including the gift card group and the gift card and lottery group. Further analyses indicated that males did not opt into the survey as often as females when given the lottery-only incentive option, and those who did not meet their financial expenses opted into the survey more often than those who had more money than their expenses when given the lottery-only incentive option. Conclusions: This study suggests that incentives guaranteed to all participants, even if the incentive's value is small, may lead to higher acceptance rates compared to a lottery for a greater incentive in social media-based surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDigital Health
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • Digital health
  • behavior change
  • digital media
  • eHealth
  • incentive
  • recruitment
  • smoking
  • social media
  • vaping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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