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CARE Ghana Uses Social Media Advertising to Reinforce Positive Nutrition

A Ghanaian woman wearing a colorfully patterned outfit and a blue face mask holds up a sign that says

Residents in Larwehkrom, Ghana, including members of the local VSLA like Esther Alu, help teach classes on health and nutrition conducted in part by government healthcare workers. Photo credit: CARE / Laura Noel

Residents in Larwehkrom, Ghana, including members of the local VSLA like Esther Alu, help teach classes on health and nutrition conducted in part by government healthcare workers. Photo credit: CARE / Laura Noel

Since 1994, CARE Ghana has empowered rural and vulnerable populations through its locally-led health, governance, sustainable livelihoods, and education programs. One of their ongoing programs supports cocoa sustainability by training women on best practices in vegetable and animal rearing through Village Savings and Loan Association groups.

This year, CARE Ghana decided to test using online social behavioral change communications (SBCC) campaigns to complement their on-the-ground program. Through the support of a yearlong Meta Accelerator program, CARE Ghana leveraged best practices for creating successful social media campaigns to improve the nutritional status of reproductive-age women and children under 2 years old in the central region of Ghana.


  • CARE Ghana launched a 6-week campaign targeting men and women aged 18+ to promote healthy nutrition through food choice and behaviors for women and children.
  • The campaign encouraged the target audience to access CARE Ghana’s WhatsApp chatbot. Of the 1.3 million people reached, 79% interacted with the ads and over 5,000 people initiated a WhatsApp conversation!
  • Men between the ages 18-24 who saw the ads were 2.1 percentage points more likely to correctly identify the right nutritional food for children.
  • Campaign results inspired CARE Ghana to launch a Phase 2 campaign focused on converting people’s nutrition knowledge to action — incorporating fruits, vegetables and red meat, which is a great source of iron, into their diets.

Campaign strategy

The 6-week online campaign messaging showcased a “4-star diet” and the importance of including red meat in the diets of women and children. The messaging featured GIF imagery, which has consistently outperformed other creative assets in previous campaigns in Ghana.

CARE Ghana created a fictional persona, “Abena,” to guide the development of relevant and relatable ads. Abena is a junior high school graduate and 30-year-old female cocoa farmer who lives with her husband, three children, and extended family. She hopes to have three more children to expand the family’s cocoa farming business, which earns her family a monthly income of about $52 USD. Being able to have many healthy children will help the business grow, and also earn Abena respect in her social and familial networks.

Since WhatsApp is a leading social media platform in Ghana and enables two-way communication with the audience, the ads encouraged people to interact with CARE Ghana’s WhatsApp chatbot. Want to give it a try? Chat ‘Hi’ to +233596992991.


Phase 1 of CARE Ghana’s campaign reached 1.3 million men and women in Brong-Ahafo Region, Central, Eastern and Western regions of Ghana. As a result:

  • CARE Ghana observed high engagement rates, with 79% of people having watched the video, liked, commented or shared the post. This was +295% above the initial goal of 20%.
  • The rate of posts being shared by audience members was +164% over CARE Ghana’s goal, with women 50 years old or older being the most likely to share content and men being the most likely to comment.

Since the campaign linked to CARE Ghana’s WhatsApp chatbot, we found deeper insights, including:

  • 35% of those that tapped to start a chat initiated a conversation. This was +35% above our conversion goal of 26%.
  • During the campaign, over 13,350 messages were sent to 5,383 people, equating to about 2.8 messages per user
  • The most popular sections of the chatbot included information on nutrition for mothers and children. General information about CARE Ghana’s work was also available.
An image of a WhatsApp chat showing that the 4-star diet is made up of Staples (grains, tubers, and plantains), legumes and seeds, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced foods.
Sample of some of the information available in the chatbot.

Brand lift study results

For this campaign, Meta’s brand lift study tool helped to evaluate the possible shift in knowledge and attitudes. In addition to ad recall, the study asked three questions:

  1. Approval: If you think of the people whose opinion you value, how much would they approve of including red meat in children’s diets?
  2. Importance: How important is it to include fruits and vegetables in the diet of a pregnant woman or child for healthy growth?
  3. Knowledge: Which of the following foods are good for children’s growth and health under the age of two years?

Post-campaign results showed that these ads had some of the highest ad recall CARE has seen across any SBCC campaign. Most notably, men aged 55-64 had a +12 percentage point recall, while women 18-24 had a +9.8 point recall.

Based on the 1.3 million people the campaign reached, the brand lift study showed it likely led 9,838 additional men 18-24 to have awareness about which foods were good for children’s growth and health. Furthermore, the campaign likely led 2,291 additional men aged 65+ to express that including fruits and vegetables in the diet of a pregnant woman or child was important for healthy growth.

Most interesting, the baselines for Importance and Knowledge were very high – 91% and 93% respectively. Meaning that 91% of the control group already thought including fruits and vegetables in one’s diet was important. However, the baseline for the Approval question, while high, was much lower than these two at only 45%.

What’s next?

While the brand lift study showed a smaller change in knowledge than CARE Ghana had hoped, the communication and WhatsApp conversation metrics indicated that the campaign messaging resounded with the audience. Additionally, baseline results inspired the team to launch a Phase 2 that will ask: if the target audience already had knowledge about best practices in nutrition, how often were women and children including fruits, vegetables, and red meat into their diets? And how might CARE Ghana’s offline programming continue to help break down the barriers that prevented these positive behaviors from occurring?

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