Bilgen and Burke-Garcia - Social Media and Hard-to-Reach Audiences

Ipek Bilgen and Amelia Burke-Garcia - The Use of Advanced Social Media Targeting Methodology During Recruitment of Hard-to-Reach Audiences
March 9, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Ipek Bilgen and Amelia Burke-Garcia
NORC at the University of Chicago
Dr. Ipek Bilgen is a Senior Research Methodologist in the Methodology and Quantitative Social Sciences (MQSS) Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. Bilgen is AmeriSpeak Panel’s lead research methodologist. She also directs web and emerging technologies strategic initiative at NORC. She has over a decade of experience in applied survey methods and received both her Ph.D. and M.S. from the Survey Research and Methodology (SRAM) Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Bilgen has published and co-authored articles in Journal of Official Statistics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Survey Practice, Social Currents, Social Science Computer Review, Field Methods, SAGE Research Methods, and Quality and Quantity on issues related to interviewing methodology, web surveys, internet sampling and recruitment approaches, cognition and communication, and measurement error in surveys. Her current research investigates panel recruitment and retention, total survey error sources in probability-based online panels, the use of web and emerging technologies in surveys, and questionnaire design and survey implementation issues. Her research also examines studies related to the use of auxiliary data for improved efficiency in surveys that use address-based sampling (ABS) and active survey recruitment through social media and search engines. 
Bilgen is currently serving as Associate Editor of Public Opinion Quarterly (POQ). In the past, she has served as an elected member of American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)’s Executive Council as Membership and Chapter Relations Chair. She has also served on Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR)’s Executive Council as President, Vice President, Conference Chair, and Secretary Treasurer. 
Dr. Amelia Burke-Garcia is a seasoned health communications professional with nearly 20 years of experience in health communication program planning, implementation and evaluation, with specific expertise in developing and evaluating digital and social media communication and research. At NORC, she leads the organization's Digital Strategy and Outreach Program Area, where she designs, develops, and implements new digital and mobile data collection methodologies and communication solutions. Most recently, she acted as director for the award-winning How Right Now/Que Hacer Ahora campaign, which is aimed at increasing people’s ability to cope and be resilient amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently leads two grants focused on exploring vaccine hesitancy amongst communities of color which build on her earlier work exploring messages and motivations of vaccine hesitant or refusing social media influencers (findings from which were published in Vaccine in 2020). Over the course of her career, Dr. Burke-Garcia has spearheaded some of the most innovative communication programs and studies on a variety of health topics including designing a targeted social media intervention with mommy bloggers to help social media users lower their risk for breast cancer and leveraging MeetUp groups and the Waze mobile application to move people to action around flu vaccination and HIV testing, respectively. She is the author of the book entitled, Influencing Health: A Comprehensive Guide to Working with Online Influencers and has been named to’s list of 10 Modern Female Innovators Shaking Up Health Care. She holds a PhD in Communication from George Mason University, a Master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University, and a joint honours Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and Humanistic Studies from McGill University.  
The Use of Advanced Social Media Targeting Methodology During Recruitment of Hard-to-Reach Audiences
One of the major benefits of social media ad-based survey recruitment is the use of various types of data to target ads to users of these platforms. To target users of social media, researchers can use the basic demographic and geographic that social media platforms currently provide, or they can use enhanced data that can be embedded within the social media platforms supplied by third party providers based on external data sources, e.g., historical purchase data. We will examine whether and how much this enhanced data can impact ad based social media recruitment capabilities to reach niche and hard-to-reach audiences.
To investigate the targeting efficiency, quality, and cost differences among these two approaches that can be used to target audiences within social media platforms, NORC piloted a strategic initiative research study in 2020. A web survey was constructed using existing items from national surveys on individual’s health and online habits, as well as new items related to life changes during the pandemic. Two main audience groups that are generally hard to recruit through probability-based studies were targeted – young adults, ages 18-24, and people with low education (defined as anyone who has completed high school as the highest level of education or lower). Five sets of tailored ads with unique URLs that linked to a web-based survey were designed and launched via Facebook and Instagram. Two sets used basic targeting to recruit the sample and the other three used the enhanced targeting. This brown bag will present the design of the study, our approach to the ads and targeting, and what we learned through our examination of the differences between the samples obtained from basic and advanced targeting on the dimensions of recruited sample composition, survey estimates, and recruitment costs.