Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Saad Omer

Second Advisor

Virginia Pitzer


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for effective scientific communication. The success of public health interventions are largely dependent on public knowledge and behavior. With the global rise of social media usage, as well as the increased prevalence of social media advertisement campaigns, the platforms present a tool with the potential to be utilized by public health authorities to deliver information and influence broad populations within a short period of time. From 2020 to 2022, the World Health Organization conducted 58 social media campaigns, totaling 176 brand-lift studies, in partnership with Meta on the subject of COVID-19. The campaigns conveyed facts about COVID-19, urged the public to practice preventive measures such as handwashing and masking, and encouraged the public to get vaccinated. This study used a two-stage meta-analysis approach to examine the effects of these WHO campaigns on user’s self-reported advertisement recall and knowledge of conveyed information, attitude toward COVID-19 related preventive measures, and behavior associated with infection prevention. Individual campaign estimates of treatment effects were obtained using a linear model controlling for demographic and language, prior to pooling estimates using meta-analysis with inverse-variance weighting. Two linear models, age-stratified and gender-stratified respectively, were used to assess outcomes across three question themes: behavior, recall and knowledge, and attitude. The campaigns were found to have led to an average of 0.46% increase in desirable self-reported behavior in both models, an average of 1.86% to 3.46% increase in desirable self-reported advertisement recall or knowledge of relevant facts, and a 0.45% increase in desirable self-reported attitude in the age-stratified model. These results suggest that social media advertisement campaigns might be an effective tool for the public health purposes of scientific communication and influencing behavior.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/10/2024