Generating engagement on the Make Healthy Normal campaign Facebook page.

JMIR Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 2019, 5, (1), pp. 1-14
Issue Date:
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Background: Facebook is increasingly being used as part of mass media campaigns in public health, including the Make Healthy Normal (MHN) campaign in New South Wales, Australia. Therefore, it is important to understand what role Facebook can play in mass media campaigns and how best to use it to augment or amplify campaign effects. However, few studies have explored this. Objective: This study aimed to investigate usage of and engagement with the MHN Facebook page and to identify influential factors in driving engagement with the page. Methods: We examined both post-level and page-level analytic data from Facebook from the campaign’s launch in June 2015 to September 2017. For post-level data, we conducted a series of negative binomial regressions with four different outcome measures (likes, shares, comments, post consumers), including some characteristics of Facebook posts as predictors. We also conducted time series analyses to examine associations between page-level outcomes (new page likes or “fans” and number of engaged users) and different measures of exposure to the page (number of unique users reached and total count of impressions) and to television advertising. Results: Of the 392 posts reviewed, 20.7% (n=81) received a paid boost and 58.9% (n=231) were photo posts. We found that posts that received a paid boost reached significantly more users and subsequently received significantly more engagement than organic (unpaid) posts (P<.001). After adjusting for reach, we found the effect of being paid was incremental for all outcome measures for photos and links, but not videos. There were also associations between day of the week and time of post and engagement, with Mondays generally receiving less engagement and posts on a Friday and those made between 8 AM and 5 PM receiving more. At the page level, our time series analyses found that organic impressions predicted a higher number of new fans and engaged users, compared to paid impressions, especially for women. We also found no association between television advertising and engagement with the Facebook page. Conclusions: Our study shows that paying for posts is important for increasing their reach, but that page administrators should look to maximize organic reach because it is associated with significantly higher engagement. Once reach is accounted for, video posts do not benefit from being paid, unlike the other post types. This suggests that page administrators should carefully consider how they use videos as part of a Facebook campaign. Additionally, the lack of association between television advertising and engagement suggests that future campaigns consider how best to link different channels to amplify effects. These results highlight the need for ongoing evaluation of Facebook pages if administrators are to maximize engagement.
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