Campaign Approach to Reaching Latino Audiences
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- Latino or Hispanic individuals are seeing higher COVID-19 case rates than White individuals, even as vaccination rates among Latino populations continue to rise. According to a recent tracker published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 16, 2022, Latinos represent 24.3% of all cases in the United States and 16.6% of all deaths, based on race/ethnicity data available for 65% of cases and 85% of all deaths, respectively.
- Vaccination rates among Latinos continue to improve. According to CDC’s weekly tracker on vaccine demographics, 37.4% of people who had initiated a first dose in the two weeks prior to March 15, 2022, and 20.7% of all people with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine were Latino despite only making up 17.2% of the U.S. population. However, Latinos are trailing all other demographic groups in the rate of booster uptake, with only 40% of those eligible having received the booster.
- According to CDC’s weekly tracker of cases based on race/ethnicity, as of January 8, 2022, at the height of the Omicron surge, Hispanic people represented 898.6 COVID cases for every 100,000 cases—the highest among all groups.
- Hesitancy around child vaccinations remains high among Latino parents and guardians, particularly for parents of children ages 5 to 11—nearly two-thirds of parents are unsure about getting their children vaccinated. According to CDC, trends respectively include (for groups of Hispanics 5–11 years old and 12–17 years old): Vaccinated one dose or more/Definitely will get vaccinated (39% and 75.7%); probably will get vaccinated or are unsure (42.9% and 14.2%); probably or definitely will not get vaccinated (18.1% and 10.1%).
- Misinformation continues to proliferate on U.S. Spanish-language social media, including on closed messaging apps like WhatsApp. Latino people are 57% more likely to use social media as a primary source of information about COVID-19 than are other groups. Additionally, multiple reports indicate that in Facebook’s flagging and removal of vaccine misinformation, posts in Spanish tend to remain up much longer than English-language posts or are never flagged.
- Strategies for reaching diverse U.S. Hispanic audiences include engaging trusted celebrity influencers whose messages tend to be shared widely among Latino family and friends. Culturally appropriate ads and other Campaign materials were created in Spanish, English, and "Spanglish." A heavy emphasis is placed on partnerships with organizations central to Latino communities and in-language earned media outreach.
Audience Market Research and Testing
A robust and continuous cycle of research drives all Campaign activities, including the approach to Latino audiences.
- Primary research includes focus groups and interviews, creative testing surveys, and a weekly current events survey (a probability-based survey of 1,000 representative U.S. adults 18 and older), with findings provided by key demographic groups. Additional research includes audience segmentation and monitoring of news stories, social media, and secondary research. Findings are summarized for use across the Campaign.
- Additional outcome surveys and analysis, along with social listening, enable performance tracking and real-time impact assessment to inform quick adjustments to messaging in a rapidly changing environment.
Key Messages for Audience
Messaging guidance is based on qualitative and quantitative message testing insights, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expert recommendations of audience-specific creative agencies, environmental scans, credible external research results, social listening, and iterative testing, among other inputs.
Campaign research demonstrated that across all audiences, framing messages that pointed to the severity of COVID and the benefits of the vaccines were generally most effective. Research found that for the Latino audience specifically, the below messages, when used together, were the most effective at driving intention to vaccinate.
- Vaccines help prevent severe illness and death from COVID. For the best protection, get your vaccine.
- The American Medical Association reports 96% of doctors have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Go to vaccines.gov to learn more and find a vaccine near you.
- COVID-19 vaccines provide an opportunity to return to a more normal lifestyle.
- Thousands of Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. The risks of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated people.
- Vaccines offer you the best protection from COVID-19. If you’re already vaccinated, getting a booster shot when recommended will help ensure your protection continues, including against variants.
Campaign research has also demonstrated that across all audiences, messages which indicate that vaccines and boosters together protect against the worst outcomes of COVID and that boosters extend protection to keep one safe from emerging variants were generally the most effective to drive intent to get a booster shot. For the Latino audience specifically, the following messages were shown to be most effective.
- If you're unvaccinated, you're 3 times more likely to get COVID, 9 times more likely to need hospital care from it, and 41 times more likely to die from it than people who are vaccinated and boosted.
- Even mild cases of COVID have cause damage to the lungs, heart, brain, and many other organs, leading to an increased risk of long-term health problems such as strokes or seizures. Boosters give you an extra layer of protection from COVID.
- Over time, vaccines may become less effective at preventing COVID. Getting your COVID booster extends your protection and keeps you safer from emerging variants.
- Long-term effects on your health from vaccines are unlikely. Safety monitoring shows that almost all side effects are mild and occur within 6 weeks of vaccination. Millions of people have received COVID vaccines and boosters without experiencing serious, long-term health effects from the vaccine.
Partnerships and Outreach
Key Activities and Metrics
- Informational Webinars: The Campaign supported webinars for promotores and community-based organizations to empower them with information and resources that they can distribute to their communities. Ten webinars have been held, reaching over 1,000 organizations in 35 states through 3,303 trained promotores and community leaders. Most recently, a 2-hour virtual summit was held in January 2022 that provided updates, new materials, and information on boosters and child vaccines and reached over 1,754 people in 281 organizations, 32 states, and 21 countries.
- Virtual Events: Hosted 71 virtual events, a live Q&A called En Confianza, webinars, and information sessions to share Campaign messaging materials in collaboration with trusted community members.
- In Person Events: Hosted 82 in-person events where printed Campaign materials have been distributed to community members in COVID hotspots. More than 22,000 people have been reached to date through health fairs and vaccinations sites, immigration and law clinics, door-knocking and canvassing, civic engagement trainings, and holiday food distribution.
- Testimonials: Collected 43 video testimonials from trusted messengers, including medical professionals, young adults, middle and high school students, LGBTQ+ individuals, and Indigenous leaders.
- Digital Outreach: Conducted mobile outreach efforts via WhatsApp, SMS messaging, health hotlines, and mobile phone banking. Partners have used their mobile networks to distribute digital materials and CTAs, and to answer questions on vaccines. Over 168,800 messages have been sent to 14,771 recipients.
- Toolkits: Created and shared 24 communications toolkits in English, with 17 also available in Spanish. These toolkits feature 299 assets to support and enhance the work of Campaign partners, stakeholders, and COVID-19 Community Corps (CCC) members.
- The toolkits provide public education messaging customized to specific populations, and they focus on COVID-19 prevention, slowing the spread, and building vaccine confidence.
- The public education messaging, available in Spanish and English, uses language that is easily understood and serves the needs of the hardest-to-reach Latino audiences: Undocumented/mixed status households, those with limited English proficiency, low-literacy Spanish speakers, Indigenous-language speaking, LGBTQ+, and persons with disabilities.
- The toolkits are available on the Campaign Partner Website WeCanDoThis.HHS.gov (English) and JuntosSiPodemos.HHS.gov (Spanish). These websites support and enhance the work of Campaign partners, stakeholders, and COVID-19 Community Corps members. So far, there have been over 617,000 total visits and 1,200,000 total page views on the Spanish-language site alone.
- Live-streamed Events. Conducting a series of live-streaming Q&A events with national partners and community organizers who work on issues that impact U.S. Latino audiences.
- These live events are conducted in Spanish and are made available on La Red Hispana’s Facebook page and partner platforms.
- Topics have included immigration, fertility, and COVID-19 vaccines for children. The first five episodes have created over 3.8 million impressions.
Key Activities and Metrics
- Activated hyper-local and national paid advertising with in-language Spanish and English messaging across media channels, including television, radio, print, digital, social, and digital out-of-home (DOOH), addressing the Latino-specific audience by:
- Injecting messaging into native and endemic environments to ensure reach and connection with Latino audiences in priority markets; and
- Flighting media to keep an "always on" approach with mass reach outlets, while supporting local priority markets with media that accesses Latino audiences in local radio, local print, and DOOH.
- Partnering with minority-owned and operated media publishers like Canela Media and Sabio has given us access to their robust targeting to reach Latino audiences as well as interactive units that perform strongly.
- Combined media is pacing to reach over 1.8 billion impressions with 20% of added value bonus media.
- Early in the Campaign, Slow the Spread, including Spanish-language collateral, reinforced basic prevention measures, with ads in radio, newspaper, digital, and social media.
- Building Vaccine Confidence, the Campaign’s advertising push, included TV, radio, newspaper, digital and social media and digital OOH for this audience, initially focusing on seniors as the first eligible for vaccinations, then targeting health navigators—the healthcare decisionmakers in families, young adults, and now parents of children eligible for vaccination. Tailored ads to encourage Boosters for the vaccinated are also part of the Campaign.
Key Activities and Metrics
- The FAQ Campaign features U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokespersons addressing FAQs that are currently trending on social media and in online searches among U.S. Latino audiences in a digital video and radio series. For example:
- Materials in both English and Spanish run on La Red Hispana networks and through Campaign digital advertising (Protecting The Nation).
- The first and second batch of the FAQ series, which ran from February to August, delivered over 156 million radio impressions on La Red Hispana’s Spanish-language radio affiliate networks.
- Monthly local/regional media tours have featured 13 Latino physicians as trusted voices delivering vaccine confidence and access messages along with the Campaign calls to action (CTAs) in local and national markets on radio, TV, print, and digital outlets. Efforts to date have resulted in 127 interviews, for a reach of approximately 50 million impressions.
- Radio PSAs featuring clips with seven Latino physicians from the Latino Media Tours also ran on La Red Hispana networks.
- During Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), the Campaign developed an HHM "community heroes" campaign, and partnered with community leaders on local events as part of its partnership efforts.
- An HHM earned media campaign featured four local community unsung heroes, in a testimonial video and radio PSA, sharing their personal experience getting vaccinated and how their vaccination inspired their movement/initiative to help others get vaccinated.
- The Campaign promoted these testimonials on La Red Hispana radio affiliates network and social media channels resulting in over 17 million radio impressions and over 2 million digital impressions.
- Additionally, we partnered with three different community organizations (Corazón Latino, Latinx Voces, and Latinx History Project), conducting HHM events to cross-promote and include Campaign messaging when appropriate, with a reach of over 66,000 people.
Latino and Hispanic communities use social media as a primary communication tool to stay connected to family and friends. According to both Nielsen and Forbes, Latino consumers are also five times more likely to share content they consume on social media with their network, thus exponentially increasing the value of Latino influencers—and, more importantly, celebrity influencers, who are considered trusted sources when promoting information on health, beauty, food, and events.
- Because Dr. Fauci has such a large following in the Latino community, the Campaign arranged for him to appear with Ricky Martin in a taped video aired during the Latin American Music Awards in May 2021. In addition to the on-air 28,000 broadcast impressions for the video, social media greatly expanded its reach for these awards, with 5 million total paid impressions delivered through Twitter contributing to the overall delivery of 92 million impressions; 39,000 organic impressions from the Ricky Martin Foundation (Instagram); and a custom social filter produced for the award show used 20,300 times.
Maria Elena Salinas, an Emmy Award-winning Latina journalist, conducted an interview with Dr. Eliseo Perez-Stable for the Immunity in Our Community podcast dedicated to Latino vaccine hesitancy issues.
Additional Efforts in Spanish language
Websites in Spanish
- The Campaign supports translation of websites and products for https://juntossipodemos.hhs.gov/ and https://www.vacunas.gov/.
WhatsApp in Spanish
- The Campaign provides promotion and building content to support a WhatsApp chatbot launched by Facebook and CDC to engage with the Spanish-speaking community by addressing questions about vaccine locations and vaccine information: https://api.whatsapp.com/message/WE4AEYTBTJP2M1.
- The Campaign supported creation of Facebook social frames in Spanish.
Creative Approach and Sample of Latino Audience Creative
The Campaign’s creative approach is based on the premise that messaging must engage the Latino audience culturally, linguistically, and emotionally, taking into account traditions and family values and recognizing challenges and sacrifices—as they have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19—but also tapping into a sense of optimism and hope. Here is a sample:
- "Slow the spread" (December 2020 - May 2021) - Since polls confirmed a fatigue factor among vulnerable communities and COVID-19 vaccines were not yet widely available to all age groups, the main objective was to reinforce—through digital radio, live radio, and social—the most important protections to slow the spread, not only of the original virus, but also of new variants. By presenting young essential workers as well as families, this wave emphasized vaccination as both a personal and collective responsibility to preserve and restore public health in our communities.
- "Un Rayo de esperanza" (April - May 2021) - Since Latinos ages 65 and older have been so disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the messaging in Spanish was both emotional and informative, reassuring them that they are appreciated and valuable, that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and that vaccination offers the best protection available for our "abuelos" who are at much greater risk of suffering serious complications from a COVID-19 infection, including hospitalization and death. The ads also sought to address the issue of access, especially for those living in remote areas or those who face language barriers.
- "Jack of All Trades" (May - June 2021 / October - November 2021) - The COVID-19 pandemic is testing resilience, one of the core values of Hispanic communities. Despite that, the capacity to bounce back remains intact. Latinos of all income and education levels have once again reinvented themselves and become "jacks of all trades."
- "Glow Up" (August - November 2021) - Latinos are a complex diaspora but have a common thread of traditions and language. Since most Young Adult Latinos were born in the United States, they move in a bilingual and bicultural world. This ad uses the everyday life language, Spanglish, which is also the slang that identifies Young Adults as an eclectic group of digital dwellers, giving them a generational identity and a sense of bonding with their peers.
- "The Extra Mile" (January 2022 - currently running) This ad taps into one of the quintessential characteristics of Latino parents: being overprotective. The language and visual elements use humor to showcase how Latino parents go the extra mile to protect their kids, while also highlighting the importance of getting their children vaccinated to protect them from COVID-19.