38587 Viral, Engaging and Thought-Provoking: Creating Successful Video Content for Government Social Media

Michelle Bellon, BA, Integrated Marketing Strategies, Rescue, San Diego, CA and Chris Norris, MA, Rescue | The Behavior Change Agency, San Diego, CA

Background: Video content can help a health campaign generate relevant conversation and deepen message comprehension. Different video styles and key messages can be effective with vastly different audiences who have very different values. Digital measurement tools are needed to understand the success of video and derive audience insights. 

Program background:

This session will walk through specific examples from a public health campaign called Down & Dirty that has successfully used online video to reduce tobacco use among teens ages 13 – 18 years old who identify with the Country peer crowd.

Two videos, “Junk Yard” and “Country Legacy” used messaging centered around a staple of Country teen’s culture: fixing up their trucks. Down and Dirty used this value to explain, in a tangible way, how many truck parts rural teens could afford if they lived tobacco-free. In addition to the Country Legacy video, supporting materials revolved around a personality quiz that connected country values such as work ethic, family, and freedom to leaving a tobacco-free legacy. Results told youth what their legacy would be and how using dip goes against that value. Users were asked to share their results to be entered in to win a weekly prize pack.

Evaluation Methods and Results:

An online survey was conducted from February to May 2016 to assess campaign impact.The objectives of this evaluation research include:

  • Assess D&D brand awareness and appeal among teens in the Country peer crowd.

  • Assess exposure, appeal, and impact of video ads.

  • Assess tobacco-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors among Country teens.

Ad testing was conducted through Facebook Interest-Based Targeting (IBT) ads among VA residents 13-18 years old with 455 respondents. Brand awareness and appeal among teens in Country peer crowd as well as exposure, appeal, and impact of Down and Dirty video ads and tobacco related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors among Country teens were assessed. Overall the Junkyard video had the highest percentage for "Makes Me Not Want to Use Tobacco" (64.4%) as well as the highest Perceived Impact amongst Country Users and Country Non-users, as well. Country Legacy had overall higher “Makes Me Not Want to Use Tobacco” score, but this was driven by the non-country audience that took the survey. It was lower within Country audiences. “Country Legacy” had the highest perceived effectiveness score among the overall sample (4.2) and Country respondents (4.3). There was a 20.5% reduction in past 30-day cigarette smoking and 32.6% reduction in past 30-day chew tobacco use. Both reductions were concentrated amongst those with the strongest Country affiliation.


Country Legacy’s video, digital experience, and social media content all reflected different country values. Using a message that is consistent with the peer crowd’s passions and interests overall, and relating it to their everyday lives, can increase engagement.

Implications for research and/or practice:

By focusing on the audience’s values, public health practitioners are more likely to make a video go “viral” within the target audience. A variety of recent public health video examples developed for specific audiences based on their values and beliefs will be discussed.