In India, We Used GIFs (and other social tools) to Build Contraceptive Knowledge

By Vidhi Kalra, Manager, Digital Marketing, PSI India; Stephen Maina, Program Manager, Social Media Optimization, PSI Global; Peninah Thande, Social Media Optimization Advisor, PSI Global

In Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state in India, one in two women does not have access to modern contraception.

And while there has been an increase in male contraceptive methods (from 10.8% to 19.1% in five years) there is very slow increase in the uptake of female contraceptive methods (uptake of all modern methods are under 5% except female sterilization).

With this challenge, PSI took action.

With Meta’s support, PSI launched a social and behavior change communications (SBCC) campaign focused on the importance and uptake of contraception. The campaign included contraception education messaging and drove traffic to PSI’s Between Us – a digital platform for women and girls to learn about sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The community is primarily comprised of women aged 18-35 and has grown to nearly 20,000 women mainly located in peri-urban areas such as Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The platform also offers online counselling via Facebook and Instagram direct messaging and facilitates access to contraceptive products and services. Anyone can access a list of contraception providers and pharmacists on the Between US website.

Beginning in 2021, Meta supported PSI in developing targeted social media campaigns, PSI India Private Limited with ad credits to run the campaigns.

From the campaign, we learned:

Engage audiences using with creative collateral – a campaign that incorporates a diversity of creative approaches, such as statics, GIFs, and carousels, is a great way to maintain the campaign message and have a fresh approach to engage the audience.
Tailor the SRHR information to where users are in their respective life stages – aligning the campaign to the different stages (Awareness, consideration, adoption) of the consumer journey gave us new insights on which stage to focus on in future campaigns.
Engagement does not necessarily lead to change in behavior; we need new ways of measuring behavior beyond social media interactions – The campaign had impressive engagement levels and a wide reach. However, the campaign did not lead to a significant change in self-reported contraceptive knowledge, attitudes and practices on our focus target audience. We measured this using Meta’s Brand Lift Test (BLS). This implies that in future campaigns, we would seek to change different elements of the campaign to maximize impact.

Want to learn more about our campaign? Read below:

Phase 1: Importance of Contraception

PSI IPL leveraged the Meta partnership to support an ongoing offline PSI program aimed at increasing contraceptive use among women in Agra. With the support of offline community engagement practices, the online campaign intended to increase the awareness and importance of contraceptive use among young women (aged 18-35 years) by connecting with them through digital platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Since women are at different stages in the contraception adoption journey, we adopted a three-pronged approach for our campaign to support our audience at every stage of the consumer journey. From awareness, to engagement, and finally to conversion, where we connect them with contraception providers, the campaign has relevant messaging on every step of the way.

PSI IPL developed and executed our first social behaviour change campaign in 2022 themed Garbh Nirodhak Zaruri Hai (Contraception is Important).

Methodologies Used

Previous SRH campaigns found that indirect messaging (subtle tone about contraceptive use) was more effective in achieving the engagement objective as compared to a direct approach (talking about contraceptives upfront). Since this campaign was not promoting any specific product, we sought to test out which messaging, indirect or direct, worked best with our audience using A/B testing.



Contraception is important.

KPI: Reach


Contraception is important

CTA: Toll-free number 1800 180 6789.

KPI: Engagement


Contraception is important

Landing page: Website Contact Us page

KPI: Conversion

Brand Lift Study (BLS)

A BLS measures outcomes from ad campaigns by comparing self-reported knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors between Facebook users from a treatment group, who were shown the campaign, and a control group, who did not see the campaign. Both audiences are served the Brand Lift poll questions in order to assess self-reported knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors relevant to your campaign. The results of the Brand Lift study show the impact or “lift” your ads had on your treatment audience compared to your control audience. 

In phase 1 our campaigns were unable to achieve a lift, meaning there was no or limited change in the self-reported knowledge among our target audience. One key learning from the BLS was that we need a strong alignment of the BLS question with the creatives.

  • Awareness – we managed to reach 10.2 million women in Uttar Pradesh which accounts for the majority of the audience we were targeting.
  • Engagement – the ads that primarily focused on the users who were on the consideration stage, where engagement was the main objective, had an impressive engagement rate of 46% (calculated by the engagement a post received divided by the reach). This was higher than previous COVID-19 campaigns (38%) which could be attributed to the fact that since the campaign was targeted to a narrower audience compared to COVID Campaigns and the fact that this subject is more relevant to our audience. We observed that our engagement campaign that led to the toll-free number worked better in terms of acting upon the Call to action (CTA) v/s the conversion campaign.
  • Conversion – the ads targeting those consumers who were further down the customer journey intended to drive traffic to Between Us to learn more and book a consultation with a doctor. These ads managed to record an impressive click-through-rate (CTR) of 2.52%.
Phase 2: Addressing Fear of Contraception

Because phase 1 did not have a considerable impact on the knowledge and behaviors ( Importance of contraception) of our audience, we worked to apply these learnings to maximize impact in phase 2. Our Phase 2 campaign was primarily  focused on addressing the fears around contraception – side effects, infertility, etc. – and spreading accurate, reliable information about contraception.

We therefore built our campaign with the key message that side-effects from contraceptive methods are manageable and often go away in 3-6 months.


Learnings Applied from Phase 1:
  • Continued focus on stages of consumer journey – we continued aligning our campaign to the three consumer journey stages i.e. awareness, consideration and conversion. However, for our conversion audience, we included options to talk to a tele-counselor to learn more.
  • Mixed digital strategy – Unlike in phase one where we used only static images of couples, in phase 2 we used an array of approaches including a mix of static images, illustrations and videos, to communicate our messages and offer our audiences different ways to consume our key message.
  • Increased frequency – we increased the number of times someone sees the ad from an average of 6.97 to 5 in phase 2 to increase reach and engagement.
  • Use of testimonials: we shared videos of women who had adopted the contraceptive methods to talk about their experiences, incorporating our key messages.
  • Language: we are implementing Hindi-only campaigns in comparison to the Hinglish (a mix of English and Hindi) messaging which was used in phase 1.
Phase 2 Results:

In phase 2 our campaigns were unable to achieve a lift, meaning there was no or limited change in the self-reported knowledge on side-effects of contraception being manageable, among our target audience. However, we managed to improve our brand awareness as indicated by the impressive brand recall of 16.7 points. This means that more people self-reported seeing the Between Us brand on Facebook/Instagram.

Other results from Phase 2 were:

  • Increased reach: We exceeded phase 1 results and more than doubled our campaign reach to 21M.
  • Increased Conversion: Following the fine-tuning of the creatives and objectives we managed to get over 400,000 clicks. An average CTR of 1.9% was observed.
  • Increased Engagement: Post engagement in Phase 2 was 98.6% which was a massive improvement from phase 1 which stood at 46%.

As PSI continues to work to increase awareness and use of contraception in India and beyond, we will incorporate learnings from past campaigns to maximize our impact. Every woman should have access to a modern contraceptive that suits their needs and helps them take control of their bodies and lives.

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