How to make sure your adverts for clinical trials are compliant

So, you’ve come up with some great ideas to advertise your clinical trial on social media.

  • Engaging? YES.
  • Informative? YES.
  • Easy to read? YES.

But are they compliant?

Before you start advertising your clinical trial on social media, your ads must be fully approved by the relevant ethics committee (EC) or institutional review board (IRB). They must approve every version of every ad, and that includes the ones where you’ve made just a small change to the text.

That’s because while these changes might seem insignificant to you, they can make a big difference to the meaning. Take this, for example:

Let’s eat, Grandma! ⇒ Let’s eat Grandma!

See? Small change. Big difference.

Jokes aside — you need to make sure even minor amends are approved before they’re published on social media, to check they’re not going against the rules. Another example could be:

“Could you take part in this clinical trial?” ⇒ “Could you take part in this clinical trial for a new migraine treatment?”

Simply by adding the words “for a new migraine treatment”, the ad will now not be approved by the EC/IRB, as it implies a new migraine treatment will be available to participants.


Your digital patient recruitment checklist

Before you compile the different versions of your clinical trial ads into your EC document ready to be reviewed, make sure you’re in the best position for seeking approval.

Here are 4 tips, including the things you should avoid or things to make sure of, when advertising your clinical trial on social media:


#1 When advertising on Facebook, avoid the mention of personal attributes and copy that personally targets the reader

❌ Are you a female? Do you suffer with migraines? 

✅ Clinical trials recruiting now: females who suffer from migraines needed to take part.


#2 Ensure all health claims are true and accurate, and include stats if possible.

❌ Women have more headaches than men.

✅ Women suffer from migraines three times as often as men.


#3 Do not request health information.

❌ Click here to send us your medical details, to see if you can take part in this clinical trial.

✅ A clinical trial for a potential migraine treatment is recruiting now. Click here to find out who can take part.


#4 Do not imply hope, promises, or “before and after” creatives.

❌ Take part in this clinical trial for a new migraine treatment that eases the symptoms of migraines.

✅ A clinical trial is exploring a potential treatment for migraines. Click here to find out who can take part and contribute to important migraine research.

Clinical trials are a huge part of a patient’s journey, and it’s important that the information they receive is coming from professional and trustworthy resources. With social media being one of the first places that potential participants will see information about your clinical trial, it’s important to get it right from the get-go. So, have you considered these 4 tips above for your ads?


If you want to find out more about advertising for your clinical trial on social media, reach out to us at and we’d be happy to help.


Patient Recruitment

Megan Kelly

Psychology is Megan’s starting point for every communication, putting herself in the reader’s shoes to create clear, concise and impactful content. She’s always learning, and her passion for science and writing has found the perfect home in our team.

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