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Campaign Planning

A man looks at a series of papers tacked up to a cork board.

This template is a multifaceted guideline for all aspects of the campaign: identifying the problem with background research, defining the target audience, setting goals for monitoring and evaluation, developing key messages, and outlining a creative approach. It serves as a master strategy document referred to time and again throughout the campaign process. Mindfully creating a plan is foundational for any successful campaign.

Who should be involved in campaign planning?

Since the campaign template is a comprehensive overview of the campaign’s goals and strategy, it should be filled out collaboratively with a cross-functional team of staff. Engaging interdisciplinary staff from teams such as communications; programs; and measurement, evaluation, and learning makes the plan holistic. Each team’s specializations come into play in filling out the campaign plan. At CARE, we have found the expertise of members of our communications, programs, and evaluation teams invaluable as all three skill sets have come together to drive success.

When should campaign planning be completed?

Ideally, the campaign plan should be completed at the same design stage as that of any offline projects targeting similar outcomes. This enables teams to build the digital SBCC campaign into the broader project proposals and timelines and further solidify social media as one of the SBCC modalities used for driving programmatic impact.

If the SBCC campaign is added to a project later than the design stage or your project does not have an offline component, CARE suggests completing the campaign plan at least two months before the expected launch date. This allows ample time for internal reviews, strategy discussions, and revising your plan, as well as four weeks for creative design and development. Keeping your organization’s timeline, workflow, and approval processes in mind, the campaign planning period can be adjusted as needed. All that said, what attracts and engages audiences online can be driven by the news cycle and popular memes. Online campaigns need some measure of last-minute flexibility so that if a good idea emerges in real-time that builds on a current online trend, you can add that content – as long as you make sure the new, last-minute content additions still meet the goals of the plan and adhere to the messaging. Furthermore, the news cycle might be a deciding factor in launching or delaying a campaign. CARE Czech Republic learned the importance of precise timing.


Note: The Meta platform tools and features we refer to in this playbook were versions available during 2021-23, when CARE ran these experiments. As an ever-evolving platform, Meta’s tools are subject to change, so there may be new or different versions of these tools available when you’re running your SBCC campaign. Keep this in mind as you move forward and refer to Meta help pages to get more information on the tools.


Campaign Plan Breakdown

The video below will take you through our campaign planning template step by step as you learn that foundations of putting together a solid campaign plan.

CARE Tip: Identifying CARE USA’s Target Audience

When CARE USA ran its second COVID campaign, the goal was to reach the most vaccine-hesitant populations in the country. CARE was able to identify the target audiences by:

  • Looking at hesitant populations by demographics at Civiqs.com to understand which populations were most hesitant by age, gender, race, education level and political affiliation.
  • Using the COVID-19 Symptom Survey – a partnership between Facebook’s Data for Good team and Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Center – to identify states with the lowest vaccine acceptance.
  • Examining census data to identify which of the states with the lowest vaccine acceptance had the highest population of the demographic groups with the most hesitancy.
  • Using the Carnegie Mellon data from the COVIDCAST map to segment and target different audiences by vaccine acceptance rates on the Facebook platform.

What research can you use to get very specific about your target audience?


Audience Insights

One of the most crucial steps to campaign planning is finding your target audience. Follow along below to learn how to use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to get information on the people you want to reach.

CARE Tip: Persona Description

One strategy that can help identify barriers and drivers is to try to get into the mind of your audience. For those experimenting with social media and health behaviors, CARE Iraq Communications Officer Huda Ali suggests, “Put yourself in their [your target audience’s] position. Think about what you would like to see and go from there. This will be the first step.”

To this end, have your team create a fictional persona who fits into your target audience demographics and put yourself in their shoes when designing the campaign and its creatives. Think about what this persona needs to see, think, feel, and do to take the desired action.

For example, to help develop ads that would resonate with the target population, CARE Iraq created a fictional core persona known as “Fatima,” who is a 19-year-old woman recently married and in her fifth month of pregnancy with her first child. Fatima, who wants to have a healthy baby and make her family proud, left school after sixth grade. All her knowledge about pregnancy is from other women around her, most notably her mother and mother-in-law. This fictional persona was created from composite audience data and research.

Read more about this campaign


Budget Calculation Presentation

“How much should we budget for ads?” That’s the most common question an organization has before launching a campaign and that’s what we’ll walk you through in the video below.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluating campaign performance is needed to assess its success. To do that effectively, you also need to set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for your campaign. Watch below to learn more about identifying key objectives and campaign goals.

CARE Tip: Learning Goal

While the campaign planning template doesn’t have a learning goal section, CARE suggests you think about one for yourself. The learning goal is the thing(s) you want to test or learn through the campaign to inform and strengthen future digital communication campaigns. Learning goals are a great way to keep track of the overall progress your team has made through all your social media campaigning.

Each digital communication campaign is a unique opportunity to learn something new – about the approaches, strategies, and tactics that you use, and about the different audiences you are aiming to reach and engage.

Some examples include:

  • Amplification: Reach new audiences with your messages
  • Exploration: Compare different strategies and tactics
  • Nudge: Prompt observable actions, online



Explore the Playbook

Previous chapter: Introduction

In late 2020, Meta approached CARE USA with an intriguing question: What if social media could drive social and behavior change for positive public health outcomes?

Read the introduction
Next chapter: Putting the Plan into Action

Get insight into putting your campaign plan to action how to design meaningful and impactful creatives.

Read chapter 2