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Healthy Volunteers Recruitment for a clinical study in nutrition

An increasing number of trials include specific populations of healthy volunteers.

For a nutrition study, a study site needed to recruit a large group of young women (age 20 – 30), studying in a specific city (Leuven, Belgium), and orally defending their master or bachelor thesis. The recruitment window was time sensitive as thesis defenses are only taking place in June.

An additional challenge was raised by COVID measures with online or digital education being the rule. Students did not physically visit the campus for months. And many students were not even staying in the city.

Our strategy

Pivotal created an EC approved digital recruitment strategy.

  • Our team designed ads that appeal to a younger demographic with carefully selected visuals and animated images.
  • Facebook continues to be the dominant social media channel for users of all ages, but to reach younger audiences, we also used Instagram.
  • Targeting techniques allowed us to concentrate our advertising activities on woman aged 20-30, staying or recently visiting the city of Leuven, and interested in subjects related to studying in Leuven.
  • After clicking an ad, users were redirected to a webpage with concise study information and an online pre-screener. Potentially eligible candidate could submit their application and were contacted by the study coordinator.

Recruitment funnel

In 3 weeks time we reached:

  • 212.000 ad views, so named 'ad impressions'.  
  • 2000 website visitors
  • 235 candidates who showed to be eligible using the online pre-screener and submitted the application form.

Patient journey

  1. A potential study candidate from the targeted study population notices a Facebook newsfeed about the probiotica study whilst browsing the internet.
  2. Once the potential candidate clicks the link, the candidate is directed to the webpage of the probiotica study published on the C-Lys platform.
  3. The candidate can access the more detailed information about this study.
  4. The candidate can register by completing and submitting an online form.





ad views


website visitors



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