Recruiting Laboratory Participants

Where do research participants come from?

I am in the process of revamping the Internet laboratory, as I’m trying to increase the number of participants. Some very successful websites recruit ~500/day. I have been averaging about 30/day — still respectable, but it limits what I can do.

In this context, I read recent reports from the folks behind Phrase Detectives with interest. Phrase Detectives, it appears, gets a slightly greater amount of traffic than I do. What I focused on was their method of advertising and how well it works. They noted that their traffic comes in the following forms:

direct: 46%
website link: 29%
search: 12%
Facebook advertisement: 13%

Then they looked at the bounce rate (the number of visitors who arrive at the home page then scoot away) for each of these sources:

direct: 33%
link: 29%
search: 44%
Facebook advertisement: 90%

It appears that paid advertisements — the only one of these sources that actually costs money — isn’t worth much. In the end, only 4% of visitors who didn’t bounce came through the paid advertisement.


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