Methods Bites

Blog of the MZES Social Science Data Lab

Social media ads for web survey participant recruitment

2023-03-28 1 min read Video

The growing proportion of the global population active on so-called social media platforms opens up new opportunities for survey researchers. A novel approach uses ads on, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to recruit participants for web surveys. Given the growing number of studies that used these platforms, social media appears to be a good resource for promoting surveys and recruiting participants. Regularly cited benefits include reaching large numbers of respondents in a short time at a low cost. Nonetheless, this approach presents a number of challenges, including under-coverage and self-selection, fraud and fake interviews, and problems with weighting survey data. This workshop will provide insight into the use of social media platforms for survey recruitment. Using various application examples from the field of social research, the potential but also points of criticism will be highlighted. In addition, a fictitious example is used to systematically guide the audience through the most important steps before, during, and after such participant recruitment, thus providing valuable tips for future applications.


Zaza Zindel is a doctoral researcher and research assistant in sociology at Bielefeld University. Her research interests include survey methodology, social media and its potential for empirical social research, and social inequalities in general.