Thomson, & Ito (2014)

Thomson, R., & Ito, N. (2014). 
Facebook advertisements for survey participant recruitment: Considerations from a multi-country study. 
International Journal of Electronic Commerce Studies, 5(2), 199-218.
doi: 10.7903/ijecs.1175
Facebook’s global reach suggests good potential for recruiting research participants and collecting objective behavioral data for cross-cultural research. Previous literature suggests the usefulness of Facebook advertisements to recruit participants in single-country studies. However, Facebook advert use in multi-country studies has not yet been reported. Nor are there any reports about soliciting Facebook user data (via Facebook applications) using Facebook advertisements. This paper contributes to this gap in Internet research, reporting on the effectiveness of Facebook advertisements to recruit participants, and for soliciting anonymized Facebook user data, in a 20-country study about privacy concerns on Facebook. Over seven days, 399 Facebook users from 18 countries responded to country-targeted advertisements in 13 languages. Response rates (ratio of advert clicks to valid responses) per country varied from 0% up to 14%. Overall, two-thirds of the country response rates were below 5%, and many country samples were gender-biased due to confounding societal factors. We conclude that for multi-national studies, Facebook advertisements may have potential for simple participant recruitment for surveys, but has limitations for soliciting Facebook user data. For user data collection, methods such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and snowball sampling may be more effective, but can be limited in their international reach.