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CARE Countries Take Creative Approaches to Campaign for COVID-19 Vaccination

A man looks at an Instagram post encouraging COVID boosters.

As part of a partnership with Meta, CARE ran a series of summer campaigns that promoted vaccine confidence and preventive practices in 16 countries across the globe.

More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus continues to spread through our global communities with ever-evolving variants that threaten our health, education, and livelihoods. Continuing CARE’s long-standing work in public health and expanding upon our formative social and behavioral change communication (SBCC) campaigns launched in 2021 in partnership with Meta, CARE ran a series of summer campaigns that promoted vaccine confidence and preventive practices in 16 countries across the globe.

TL;DR summary

  • Overall, the campaigns had a 2.2% engagement rate, so over 8.5 million people across these countries engaged with our ads, whether it was through likes, comments, or shares.
  • Among our campaign audience, it is likely that 2.5 million additional people expressed confidence that the vaccine was safe and important
  • Country offices collaborated during campaign design, shared creatives, and adapted campaigns in real time to use the most effective messaging and ads

From June 13 to July 18, CARE launched creative ad campaigns that were locally designed and led by country offices, which tailored content to suit their country contexts. During this campaign series, six country offices joined the practice of SBCC campaigning for the first time: Zimbabwe, Zambia, UK, Honduras, Ecuador, and Colombia. All other participating countries (Bangladesh, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and USA) built on their existing experiences utilizing social media as an SBCC modality.

Among the multiple campaigns run, messaging included:

  • Encouragement for audiences to get COVID-19 booster shots to be fully vaccinated;
  • Reinforcement of the importance of the vaccine booster;
  • Promotion of the safety of the vaccine booster; and
  • Reminders about preventive and protective measures against COVID-19

These campaigns were measured by a brand lift study to test their efficacy in addressing each campaign’s target message of vaccine importance, safety, boosters, or preventive safety measures.

Global approaches and creative

In Latin America, four country offices – CARE Guatemala, CARE Honduras, CARE Colombia, and CARE Ecuador – joined forces to design a campaign with the theme #LoNormalEs, or “Normal is”, which was then adjusted to suit each country context.

CARE Pakistan’s infographic-style creatives helped visualize what full vaccination entails: “first dose + second dose + first booster + second booster.” The CARE Pakistan team ran CARE’s most interactive ad campaign in this series with 2 million post engagements. Pakistan’s click-through rate (0.35%) was 75% above CARE’s benchmark and above what the country office’s previous campaign achieved in 2021.

By monitoring creative performance weekly, CARE was able to refresh creative in real time. CARE UK noticed that many people in the United Kingdom were asking how many shots were needed for full vaccination. Taking these audience comments into account, CARE UK designed a second round of creative that mimicked Pakistan’s strategy of clearly laying out full vaccination. This ad went on to have the country’s highest click through rate (0.3%). 

CARE Philippines had the highest video completion rate (VCR) in this series with people completing 83.7% of videos started, exceeding the campaign average of 12.1% VCR. Their short and culturally relevant videos drew 111.1 million views and CARE Philippines racked up nearly half of the total video views across the entire campaign series.  

In Iraq, CARE Iraqs ad campaign drew an exceptional level of engagement among viewers. CARE Iraq’s content reached a total of 1.6 million people who interacted with the social posts through likes, comments, and shares, driving a top engagement rate of 10.2%. When accounting for video, Iraq’s engagement rate skyrocketed further to 442%. We calculated engagement rate based on reach and so a single individual could have seen or engaged with the video multiple times, making it possible for the engagement rate to exceed 100%. 

Despite this being their first campaign, the CARE Zimbabwe office created highly engaging content as well, resulting in the second-highest engagement rate of 5.1% (excluding video views). The ads Zimbabwe used featured real people getting vaccines and was accompanied by engaging copy which touted that the vaccine was free and accessible.

A CARE Zimbabwe Facebook post showing a female healthcare worker giving a man a COVID vaccine booster.

CARE Ghana’s top performing creatives included two highly popular animated videos that emphasized protection of loved ones and personal freedom afforded by the COVID-19 vaccine. 

With 17,681 shares, CARE Bangladesh drove the highest rates of post sharing among all country offices. Their short video depicting Dr. Tasnim Jara was the most engaging post along with being one of the most highly shared (accounting for 7,630 shares). 

CARE Haiti’s video ad that featured a staff member, a trusted messenger, significantly increased post engagement and brought the average video watch time to 4 seconds, double the Facebook benchmark for average video watch time of 2 seconds.

One of CARE Haiti's posts featured staff member Claudy Mezard.

CARE Sierra Leone strategically designed bright, animated images that allowed for strong visibility in social media feeds that were deployed in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

CARE Zambia used top creative developed by CARE Zimbabwe, and these adapted ads were also utilized by other COs in the region.

CARE Zambia Facebook post showing a woman receiving a booster shot with the words "Vaccinated against COVID?"


Through this campaign, CARE country offices leveraged ad credits donated by Meta and reached 422.2 million people, with each person having seen the ads an average of 7 times. Among those who were reached through our campaign, it is likely that 2.5 million additional people expressed confidence that the vaccine was safe and important, compared to the control group

41.8% of our audience were female and 57.6% male, in line with our knowledge that a greater proportion of men are on or have access to social media platforms in nations in the global south. The majority (74.7%) of the audience was reached through Facebook, while the rest (25.3%) were through Instagram.

Overall, the campaign had a 2.2% engagement rate, meaning that over 8.5 million people across these countries engaged with our ads, whether it was through likes, comments, or shares. Week after week, ads that showed someone getting a vaccine, talk of family or community and trusted messengers videos continued to perform best.

Some notable results included:

  • CARE Colombia and CARE Ecuador’s joint campaign on vaccination saw a lift of +4.7pt lift in females aged 25-34. Based on the population this campaign reached, that potentially means it led 342,671 additional women to express confidence that the vaccine was important.
  • CARE Iraq’s high engagement campaign saw significant lift in both importance and safety behaviors, with it being statistically likely that 314,932 additional men expressed confidence that the vaccine was safe and important.
  • In the UK, older demographics (55 years and older) performed well in safety and importance questions, particularly seeing a 5-point lift in women above 65 for safety questions
  • In USA at the time of the campaign, booster adoption was lagging among older Americans – those most in need of it. CARE USA’s ads, which mimicked designs from commercial ads popular in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, had significant levels of ad recall among older audiences and a 14.6-point lift in recall among men over 65.

CARE’s experimentation with using social media as a modality for social and behavioral change communications continues to give rise to additional questions and ideas for further testing. For example, how do you continue to adapt messaging throughout the life cycle of key health outcomes like covid vaccinations? When the baseline for knowledge and attitudes is already high, what are the most effective tactics to drive the next step of behavior change? For example, in these campaigns, many countries had a baseline of 50% or greater. Meaning that 50%+ of the control group thought the COVID vaccine was safe and important. This differed from earlier campaigns where the average baseline was closer to 30%.

We also continue to see that ad recall and strong communication metrics do not necessarily result in changes in attitudes. For example, in Bangladesh, Haiti and Pakistan the audience segments that had the highest ad recall had no lift in their attitudes that the COVID vaccine was important or safe. This was also mirrored in results for the individual questions. While 58% of the campaigns saw a lift in the importance of vaccines, only 30% of the campaigns drove a lift in both attitudinal questions. Perhaps while people do acknowledge the importance of the vaccine, different messaging is required to change more skeptical beliefs.

What’s next?

CARE’s teams continue to learn how to drive behavior change through social media and strategic ad development. While trends in engagement, viewership, and effective ad design continue to evolve, this form of experimentation shows promise for further application.

SBCC campaigns carried out through Meta’s platforms can expand beyond health and COVID-19 messaging, exploring how we can learn about and create positive change in topics like gender-based violence or harmful social norms. CARE continues to expand our experimentation with Meta’s platforms to assist country offices in driving programmatic change and pioneering the intersection of communication, social media, and development work.

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