Creating Engaging Health Promotion Campaigns on Social Media: Observations and Lessons From Fitbit and Garmin

J Med Internet Res. 2018 Dec 10;20(12):e10911. doi: 10.2196/10911.

Abstract

Background: The popularity and reach of social media make it an ideal delivery platform for interventions targeting health behaviors, such as physical inactivity. Research has identified a dose-response relationship whereby greater engagement and exposure are positively associated with intervention effects, hence enhancing engagement will maximize the potential of these interventions.

Objective: This study examined the social media activity of successful commercial activity tracker brands to understand which creative elements (message content and design) they use in their communication to their audience, which social media platforms attract the most engagement, and which creative elements prompted the most engagement.

Methods: Posts (n=509) made by Fitbit and Garmin on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram over a 3-month period were coded for the presence of creative elements. User engagement regarding the total number of likes, comments, or shares per post was recorded. Negative binomial regression analyses were used to identify creative elements associated with higher engagement.

Results: Engagement on Instagram was 30-200 times higher than on Facebook, or Twitter. Fitbit and Garmin tended to use different creative elements from one another. A higher engagement was achieved by posts featuring an image of the product, highlighting new product features and with themes of self-improvement (P<.01).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that Instagram may be a particularly promising platform for delivering engaging health messaging. Health messages which incorporate inspirational imagery and focus on a tangible product appear to achieve the highest engagement. Fitbit and Garmin employed difference creative elements, which is likely to reflect differences in their target markets. This underscores the importance of market segmentation in health messaging campaigns.

Keywords: engagement; physical activity; social media.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Female
  • Fitness Trackers*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Social Media*