Evaluating Web-Based Platforms and Traditional Methods for Recruiting Tattoo Artists: Descriptive Survey Research Study

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

JMIR Dermatology






Background: Almost one-third of US adults (29%) have a tattoo, and almost half (47%) of millennials reported having a tattoo. With more people getting tattoos, there is an increased risk of infectious diseases, skin infections, and allergic reactions. Tattoo artists can influence these health risks with their standards of practice, tattoo inks, and sterilization techniques. Although tattoos are becoming mainstream, it was unclear if tattoo artists would be a hard-to-reach population. Using social media sites represents a promising method for recruiting tattoo artists for Web-based survey studies.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate various Web-based platforms and traditional methods for recruiting tattoo artists into a descriptive Web-based survey study.

Methods: Recruitment occurred via Facebook ads , Instagram, Twitter, website, Web-based advertisement, emails, and postcards mailed to tattoo shops.

Results: Recruitment methods resulted in 2332 respondents, of which 1845 answered question 1, “Are you a tattoo artist?” Only 1571 were tattoo artists. Facebook ads recruited the most study participants. Facebook accounted for 1228 (1228/1571, 78.17%) respondents who were tattoo artists. This number surpassed the next leading category of HTTP Referer unknown, which had 268 (268/1571, 17.06%). The Tattoo Survey 2015 website recruited 45 (45/1571, 2.86%) tattoo artists, whereas other Web-based sources contributed to the recruitment of 28 (28/1571, 1.78%) tattoo artists. Twitter and email had the lowest response rate with only 0.06% (1/1571) each.

Conclusions: Social media sites enhanced survey participation, making it easier to reach tattoo artists nationwide. Of the recruitment methods used, Facebook ads were the most effective option, both for cost and recruitment rates. This study’s findings extend those of the previous research studies that demonstrated the timeliness, ease, and effectiveness of using Facebook ads for recruitment.


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Dermatology Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://derma.jmir.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.