Effective Strategies for Patient Recruitment for Research


The goal of ArthritisPower is to conduct patient-centered outcomes research, which means research that is meaningful and important to patients and caregivers.

Since in 2016, Media Cause has been working with CreakyJoints to grow ArthritisPower.

The Outcome


New, Consented Participants


Quality Leads Acquired


Percentage of Visitors Who Started Registration

“Developing and releasing a complex project like ArthritisPower was a large undertaking, with many constraints and moving parts. Media Cause's expertise, advice and support greatly improved our ability to reach our target audience with our messaging, to efficiently analyze what was working and improve what wasn't, and to showcase the results of what was an 18 month effort. For our organization, Media Cause is a trusted partner whose commitment, dedication and value is seen by every member of the team.”

David Curtis Director, Technology and Data Services, CreakyJoints / Global Healthy Living Foundation

The Challenge

Inflammatory arthritis and other rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease can be debilitating. They typically strike people in their 30s and 40s, and there is no known cure. Traditional research has been slow and out of touch with the real-life questions and concerns of today’s arthritis patients.

That’s why in 2014, CreakyJoints launched its nationwide arthritis research registry, ArthritisPower.

In order to conduct research studies, however, CreakyJoints needed to grow its registry with patients who are willing to participate in research.

The Strategy

Our digital strategy included producing lead capturing landing pages, revamping a lengthy registration including an informed consent, and running and optimizing ads on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Display and Google Search to drive registrations. We also developed automated emails that re-engaged individuals who abandoned registration.

Within five months, we enrolled over 9,000 patients into the registry. This brought ArthritisPower’s total participants to 11,000, fulfilling CreakyJoints’ enrollment goals one year ahead of schedule.


Improving User Experience

Before we ran digital ads to recruit participants, we advised CreakyJoints to invest in redesigning ArthritisPower’s registration process. The flow was intimidating, as most research registration forms are. It involved a long and wordy informed consent which could not be removed or altered. It also required the user to submit a signature, as well as highly personal information like their diagnosis, age, and race. For people who have never participated in research before, this was going to be a barrier.

In May 2017, we completely revamped the registration to make the user experience more engaging and fun, address users’ barriers to registering, and brought the most important pieces of information to the forefront.

Landing Page Development

We built dozens of customized email capture landing pages in Unbounce. These would be the landing pages that our digital ads would point to. The strategy behind these pages were to make sure the language reflected the ad copy, so the user is more likely to continue onto registration after clicking the ad. It’s important to capture the user’s email on the landing page immediately so we can follow up with them if they didn’t complete registration.

Digital Ads Management

We tested ArthritisPower ads across many digital platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. We were constantly monitoring and optimizing the ads to understand which images and ad copy were getting the most people to complete registration. We would turn off ads (and sometimes entire ad platforms) that weren’t converting, and create new ads based on ones that were performing well. All ads were submitted for IRB approval before running.

Ready to drive growth and impact through digital strategies?

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