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CARE Nigeria explores digital health campaigning through WhatsApp

Three women sit on blankets on the ground with two small children.

VSLA group members sit with young children and listen during a meeting in Makwalla, Jastikum, Yobe, Nigeria. In 2022, CARE Nigeria launched a chatbot on WhatsApp to promote early childhood vaccination in Yobe. Azure Studios/CARE

VSLA group members sit with young children and listen during a meeting in Makwalla, Jastikum, Yobe, Nigeria. In 2022, CARE Nigeria launched a chatbot on WhatsApp to promote early childhood vaccination in Yobe. Azure Studios/CARE

Building on pre-existing efforts to engage communities and increase their access to vaccination services, CARE Nigeria developed and launched a chatbot on WhatsApp in 2022 that disseminated early childhood immunization information in an engaging, yet easy-to-use format.

Since 2021, CARE Nigeria’s Lafiyayyen Yara (Healthy Child) project has worked to reduce infectious diseases in children under the age of 5 in the northeastern state of Yobe. To amplify their programming, CARE Nigeria conducted digital social and behavioral change communications (SBCC) campaigns promoting early childhood vaccination in collaboration with Yobe state social media influencers.

From December 2022 to February 2023, CARE Nigeria launched and promoted their chatbot through a Facebook ad campaign, following months of content development, testing, and chatbot building through Turn.io’s user-friendly platform.


  • With support from Meta, CARE built an automated chatbot through the Turn.io platform that delivered important early childhood immunization information to people in Nigeria. The chatbot’s visibility was boosted by a Facebook ad campaign that ran from December 2022 to February 2023.
  • The chatbot and ad campaign reached 3.6 million people, mainly in northeastern Nigerian states, and resulted in a total of 15,000 unique conversations being initiated. Additionally, 18% (2,700 people) opted in to receive future immunization-related messaging from the CARE country office.
  • An in-app survey to gain user feedback found that 76.6% of respondents said they would recommend the chatbot to their family or friends.

Creative process

Content development for the chatbot began with an assessment of what information surrounding immunization the target audience needed most. CARE Nigeria’s team drew on their own resources as well as those from the Ministry of Health to put together immunization basics, FAQs and answers, and a list of free in-country vaccination locations.

Users could enter their state, local government area, and ward to receive a dynamic list of the nearest vaccination centers. A survey feature within the chatbot was also designed to serve as an in-platform measurement tool to gain user feedback.

The chatbot launch was supplemented with a Facebook ad campaign that promoted the service’s existence because, as CARE learned through a previous project, chatbot use can be significantly boosted through social media advertising.

Nigeria’s campaign consisted of three phases—the first and second phases advertised the chatbot. The ad campaigns consisted of static ads that used imagery from Nigerian social media influencers and evocative copy emphasizing that immunizations were free. Each ad was linked to the chatbot. The two ads pictured below drove the highest conversion rates from ad to chat conversation throughout the campaign. Their high performance could be because the ads emphasized that vaccinations are free and also promoted localized vaccine access information.

Additionally, CARE Nigeria drew on inspiration from CARE Bangladesh’s top performing ad. Based on these shared learnings, the team added new creatives featuring a vaccine calendar in phase 2 of their campaign.

The third and final phase retargeted chatbot users and promoted the chatbot’s survey feature.

Turn.io accelerator

During chatbot development, CARE Nigeria was one of twenty organizations selected to participate in a chatbot building accelerator program run by Turn.io in partnership with WhatsApp. The six-week Chat for Impact accelerator took place from October to November 2022 and accelerated CARE Nigeria’s development process. With weekly presentations and best practices for every stage of chatbot building–from content development to testing to marketing and launch–the accelerator provided CARE Nigeria an opportunity to get one-on-one support and learn from peer organizations.


Ads for this project ran from December 6, 2022, through February 24, 2023.

  • Phase 1 campaign duration: December 6th, 2022 – Jan 10th, 2023
  • Phase 2 campaign duration: February 3rd, 2023 – Feb 26th, 2023
  • Phase 3 campaign duration: February 10th, 2023 – Feb 24th, 2023

Notable metrics averaged across the three campaign phases included:

  • Total reach for Phase 1 was 1.9 million people and for Phase 2 was 1.7 million people
  • In Phase 3 retargeting campaign, CARE Nigeria reached 134,000 users who had already been exposed to chatbot ads. In this phase users were asked to take the in-platform survey.
  • The overall conversion rate (CVR) to chat was 8%. This is lower than CARE’s benchmark average of 15% which was modeled on a mix of internal metrics and data shared with CARE by peer organizations, since CARE Nigeria had limited experience with chatbots prior to this campaign.
  • CARE Nigeria garnered a total of 95,400 post engagements and had an overall share rate of 0.037%, which is higher than the benchmark.
  • Yobe state, where CARE Nigeria’s offline programming is targeted, saw the highest engagement rate (39.5%) compared to other regions

“The chatbot on WhatsApp provided us with a lot more reach than we were ever able to imagine previously. We needed to build the service to be able to reach key stakeholders who influence decision-making within family households. We were able to do that by reaching not only mothers, but also religious and traditional leaders,” said Habeeb Sulaiman, CARE Nigeria’s Communication and Advocacy Officer.

Results from the chatbot and its user engagement include:

  • A total of 15,000 conversations were started in the CARE Nigeria chatbot
  • Nearly 2,700 users opted in to receive future immunization-related messaging from the CARE country office
  • Conversation lengths averaged around 9.7 messages per user, +70% longer than the conversation length seen in CARE Bangladesh’s chatbot.

So what did users think about the chatbot?

CARE Nigeria’s in-platform survey yielded important insights into how users perceived the chatbot service. The survey had a completion rate of 43.9%, meaning that of the 556 users who accessed the survey, 244 fully completed the survey.

Upon analyzing the results, CARE Nigeria found that:

  • 76.6% of people reported that they would recommend this service to others
  • 68% of respondents rated the chatbot 4 or more stars out of 5
  • 60% of respondents expressed an increased understanding about immunization importance through using the chat service

What’s next?

CARE Nigeria is keen on continuing their chatbot programming, and addressing the limitations of their current service. “The specific community we built the chatbot for in Yobe State, Nigeria includes a low-literate population whose primary language is Hausa, not English,” said Habeeb. “By translating the current content to Hausa, we believe we will have a lot more reach, impact, and engagement in the community.”

The team also hopes to expand the information the chatbot provides by adding diversified content subject areas such as gender norms, nutrition, and food insecurity.

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