Why does it keep coming back??
By: Christian John Lillis
Peggy Lillis Foundation’s 2020 “See C. diff” campaign was an enormous success, reaching more than 250,000 Americans and generating over half a million impressions. Less than 35% of Americans have heard of C. difficile infections (CDI). The need to raise awareness of this preventable and potentially deadly disease is great.
We launched “See C. diff” to commemorate C. diff Awareness Month in November 2019. That first year, we reached about 80,000 people. By investing modestly in paid advertising and increasing the number of partners we had in 2020, we more than tripled our reach and impact.
The traffic to our “See C. diff” site at Cdiff.org was ten times higher in 2020 than 2019; largely due to the Facebook Ad campaign, and more organization partners sharing content.
The campaign had a downstream effect of increasing traffic to our primary website by 56%.
More importantly, our strategy was particularly effective in reaching those most at risk for C. diff infections. 78% of visitors to Cdiff.org were aged 55 and over, with with 44% being age 65+. We saw similar visitor demographics across our social media and cdiff.org.
Our sub campaign “You Know C. diff” was particularly effective in leading the conversation. These posts generally saw hundreds of reactions, shares and comments. They also affirmed what we’ve long believed: C. diff patients feel unseen and unheard by the healthcare system. A representative quote comes from Adele in New Mexico: “I am on fourth bout of C. diff. The next one could kill me. I realize at 78, I will not live forever. But I would rather not live in fear of dying alone in a hospital room (C. diff is contagious) by wasting away.”
We also saw significant engagement with posts that Advocates shared on their own social media accounts. Similarly, we saw some success with YouTube advertising, which we will continue to explore in 2021.
Lastly, our 2020 campaign had some key lessons for how PLF can pursue effectively raising awareness, including:
- Media that contained people – whether video or images – had the highest engagement, as opposed to data and infographics;
- Advocates sharing their own stories resulted in high engagement;
- Facebook is a cost-effective means of reaching target audiences; YouTube also shows promise;
- C. diff survivors feel unheard and unseen, with hundreds sharing their stories in response to our ads and petition.
We will explore these and other hypotheses we’ve developed throughout the first half of 2021, so we can use these lessons to help us reach 1 million people this November. Join us know by heading over to Cdiff.org and signing up to join our campaign.