Background:Engaging with young and mid-life women online about sometimes sensitive or urgent health topics requires deploying multiple thoughtful approaches. Key considerations include a) applying appropriate, powerful and relatable messages and visuals, b) selecting products and channels compatible with audience preferences, and c) embedding measurement into the call-to-action.
Program background: Multiple federal women’s health campaigns and programs underscore these key best practices. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health employs visually appealing, relatable personal stories to successfully raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among women and girls while the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health uses powerful infographics to clearly illustrate sex and gender as essential variables in science. To connect with women about their risk for heart disease and stroke, the Million Hearts®initiative deploys approachable and shareable social media graphics, reaching millions of women with key prevention messages.
Evaluation Methods and Results: Evaluation methods are considered in both the planning and implementation phases of digital product development. A range of measurement tactics and tools—including but not limited to Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Sysomos, and Simply Measured—are used to capture the reach of, engagement with, and audience reactions to digital activities. The resulting data are then carefully analyzed and used to inform future efforts.
Conclusions: To successfully reach young and mid-life women with health information, organizations should ensure digital products and activities are timely, visual, personal, and contextually relevant to the channels women prefer. Leveraging women’s voices and existing digital conversations work to educate and engage. Strategic and coordinated measurement is key to understanding effectiveness and making improvements.
Implications for research and/or practice: As digital channels evolve toward increasingly visual and shareable media, approaches must adapt to include compelling true stories and images, visuals that engage and are relatable directly with the young and mid-life female audience, and include embedded metrics for tracking and understanding the level of engagement with health information.