Webinar series

Our webinar series aims to provide practical training on how to use social media as a research tool, as well as reveal various data sources that are available to social media researchers. We invite scholars to present their methodological and applied research and to share their experiences of working with social media websites for research purposes. Sessions end with a Q&A to give participants the opportunity to ask questions.

All sessions are recorded and made available on our YouTube page. If you register for our events, you will receive an email once our recordings are made available online. Below, you can find more information about our previous sessions, along with presentation slides and recordings from past sessions.

You can find more information about these sessions below. 

Upcoming Spring 2024 sessions:

21 May 2024 - 15h (UK Time - BST): Environmental Discourse on Social Media: Messages, Networks, and Actors, Shreya Dubey (Amsterdam School of Comm. Research)

In the field on environmental communication, social media studies tend to focus mainly on climate change while overlooking other problems such as biodiversity loss and lack of access to freshwater. Social media studies also emphasise the polarised discourse on climate change and often omit the disparities in discourse between the Global North and Global South. Within her PhD project, Shreya takes these limitations into account and aims to provide a comprehensive overview of how users on social media discuss the environment, who these users are, and where they are based. With the goal of optimising social media messaging to foster environmental values and behaviours, she conducts preregistered studies to analyse the environmental discourse on X and TikTok using (automated) network analysis, text analysis, and content analysis. In these studies, she also focuses on improving data selection practices on social media by quantifying the quality of our data in multiple ways. This presentation will discuss some of these practices and those recommended by other social media researchers.

Register for this session

07 May 2024 - 16h (UK Time - BST): Most recent experiences with the recruitment of research participants through social media

The social media space constantly changes under the pressure of users, markets and governments. How have the most recent developments influenced participant recruitment through Facebook and Instagram? This panel brings together scholars from different methodological backgrounds who recently used Facebook tools to recruit research participants. Panel participants will share their experiences with these tools, presenting data on sample cost and composition. Below is the list of panel participants and their presentations:

  • Recruiting niche survey respondents through Facebook, by Dr. Nadia Eldemerdash (University of Nevada Las Vegas) 
  • Using Facebook groups to recruit research participants for qualitative studies, by Dr. Adriana Mihaela Soaita (University of Bucharest & University of Glasgow)
  • A comparison of recruitment through Facebook versus quota samples in Germany, by Dr. J. Philipp Thomeczek (University of Potsdam)

Recording of the session

Slides (Soaita)

Slides (Thomeczek)

Slides (Eldemerdash)






Autumn 2023 sessions:

14 November 2023 - 16h (GMT): Analyzing Public Content on Social Media with the Meta Content Library By Christina Fan, Yair Rubinstein, Michael Zoorob (Meta)

This presentation introduced researchers to the Meta Content Library (MCL), a new researcher API and web-based content explorer for public content on Facebook and Instagram. MCL provides researchers with comprehensive access to posts, videos, photos, and Reels posted to public Pages, Groups, and Events on Facebook as well as robust metadata about these data types (e.g. view count, reshares, reactions, etc.). For Instagram, the library includes content from public posts, albums, videos, and photos from creator and business accounts. We highlighted the tool’s features and onboarding process and provide a live demonstration of applying the tool to substantive questions.

Slides for this session

Recording for this session

21 November 2023 - 15h (GMT): Utilizing TikTok for Survey Participant Recruitment (Zaza Zindel, University of Bielefeld)

TikTok’s rapid growth and diverse user base offer a unique opportunity to gain insights into diverse populations. TikTok’s potential in survey recruitment, compared to platforms like Facebook and Instagram, remains underexplored. Its cost-effective reach and detailed targeting parameters make it appealing for reaching traditionally hard-to-reach or rare populations. Moreover, TikTok's video-centric format and predominantly young user base, it's ideal for engaging younger generations to participate in online surveys.
This session covers: 
- Introduction to TikTok as a Survey Recruitment Tool
- Targeting Options and Estimated Reach in Comparison to Facebook and Instagram
- Case Study and Valuable Insights

Slides for the session

Recording for this session

Spring 2023 sessions:

19 April 2023 - 15h (BST): Using Targeted Social Media Advertising to Sample Global Migrant Populations: (Thomas Soehl, Zhenxiang Chen, and Aaron Erlich)

Survey research on migrants is notoriously challenging especially if the goal is to collect data across a range of countries. The ability of social-networking sites to micro-target advertisements to migrant communities combined with their global reach makes them an attractive option. Yet there is little rigorous evaluation of the quality of data thus collected – especially for populations from developing countries. We examine the representativeness of samples of Nigerian emigrants in Canada and Italy and Nigerians (at home) in Nigeria recruited through targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram and evaluate several strategies for post-stratification weighting. Although our samples closely match reference data on several dimensions, we systematically miss those with little formal education. How much this affects representativity varies across contexts: discrepancies are much smaller for emigrant populations in Canada and Italy than for Nigerians in Nigeria where a large share little formal education and limited literacy. We discuss the potential of this approach and highlight key considerations for implementing it to collect multi-sited data on migrants.

Slides for this session

Recording for this session


26 April 2023 - 16h (BST): Using social media data to measure networks and social capital (Michael Bailey, Meta)

Mike's session covered the Social Connectedness Index and the Social Capital Atlas, which are both open-source data sources for researchers. He also introduced a couple of new datasets that his team is currently working on.

Recording for this session

Autumn 2022 Sessions:

22 November 2022 - 15h (GMT): Social Media Data for Research: Opportunities and Challenges (Katrin Weller (GESIS&CAIS) & Indira Sen (GESIS))


  • A general and critical reflection on using social media data for social research 
  • Introduction to survey-methodology inspired theoretical framework for discussing challenges in such types of research
  • Examples of the framework through a case study-based approach
  • Pitfalls that can occur during the collection, preprocessing, and analysis of social media data for social research

Slides for this session

Recording for this session

29 November 2022 - 15h (GMT): Academic Advertising with Meta: Tips and Advice (Michael Zoorob, Meta)


  • Sizing and describing the academic advertising use case: How many papers use Meta ads? For what purpose?
  • Some tips for a smooth experience (navigating Meta Advertising Policies)
  • Channels for researchers to receive support from Meta and provide feedback
  • Potential future programs to support researchers using Meta ad

Slides for this session

Recording for this session


Spring 2022 Sessions:

5 April 2022: Academic Partnerships at Meta: An Introduction to Data and Products for Researchers (Christina Fan, Annique Wong, and Carlos Ahumada)

Meta launched the Academic Partnerships team in March of 2021 to support external academic research community. In this session, their team provided an overview of different products, datasets, and services available for researchers today. The team shared details about the types of research that have already been published from these datasets, as well as how one can apply for access.

  • Introduction to Data & Transparency
  • Overview of FORT & Academic Partnerships products and datasets for researchers, and how to apply 
  • Overview of Data for Good products and datasets for researchers, and how to apply 

Slides for this session

Recording for this session

7 April 2022: Using Facebook to recruit hard-to-reach groups (Aneta Piekut - University of Sheffield, Anna Gawlewicz - University of Glasgow)


  • Combining Facebook Ads recruitment with other Facebook- and social-media based recruitment techniques (e.g. stakeholders promoting our survey on their social media)
  • Facebook Ad Campaign structure: direct targeting options and its limitations for studying Polish migrant essential workers
  • Indirect recruitment through ad design (Polish language, ad wording and photos) and its reception among the Facebook population
  • Facebook Ad Campaign performance across 6 ad sets (reach, impressions, clicks and valid survey responses)
  • Reaching even 'harder-to-reach': sampling in England vs. sampling the rest of the UK (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales)
  • Managing gender sampling bias and its effect on sample quality
  • What would we have done differently? Challenges and key lessons.

Slides for this session

Recording for this session


12 April 2022: Tapping into Facebook’s Advertising Audience Estimates (Ingmar G. Weber, Qatar Computing Research Institute)


  • Accessing audience estimates through the Facebook Graph API
  • Using FB audience estimates to now-cast stocks of migrants
  • Using FB audience estimates to track digital gender gaps
  • Using FB audience estimates to map poverty
  • Methods for dealing with selection bias in the FB audience estimates

Slides for this session

Recording for this session 


Autumn 2021 Sessions:

16 Nov. 2021: Recruitment of Research Participants I (Anja Neundorf and Aykut Ozturk, University of Glasgow)

Intro to the Facebook Ads Manager & campaign objectives 

  • Introducing Facebook as a research tool: What can you use it for?
  • Setting up a Facebook Business Account for Managing Ads, including opening a Facebook Business account
  • Overview of Facebook Advertisement Manager: campaign objectives, ad sets, ads
  • Choosing the right settings on the Facebook Ads Manager: Comparing Facebook campaign objectives
  • How to set up a conversion campaign on Facebook

Slides for this session (Session 1)

Recording for this session (Session 1)

You can also check this paper by Neundorf & Ozturk, which covers a detailed analysis of their findings. 


23 Nov. 2021: Recruitment of Research Participants II (Anja Neundorf and Aykut Ozturk, University of Glasgow)

Targeting and advertisement content 

  • What are Facebook targeting tools and how to set it up?
  • How the design of your ads will impact the participant sample? Facebook’s options to create advertisement content: images, text, incentives
  • Choosing the right incentives         

Slides for this session (Session 2)

Recording for this session (Session 2)

30 Nov. 2021: Using Facebook to recruit hard to reach populations (Steffen Pötzschke, GESIS)

Using Facebook to recruit hard to reach populations

  • How to recruit hard-to-reach populations through Facebook and Instagram?
  • Available variables for direct and indirect targeting
  • Recruitment of a highly dispersed population for a global survey
  • The session builds on various recent research projects targeting German emigrants, refugees, and health-care professionals in Germany

As a supplemental reading for this session, please check this paper by Pötzschke & Weiss.

Slides for this session (Session 3)

Recording for this session (Session 3)

7 Dec. 2021: Using Facebook to implement field experiments (Florian Foos, LSE)

Using Facebook to implement field experiments

  • Individual and geographic (cluster-random) assignment
  • Types of treatments
  • Treatment dosage
  • Outcome measurement offline and online
  • Realistic effect sizes and statistical power
  • Spillovers
  • Ethical considerations

Slides for this session (Session 4)

Recording for this session (Session 4)