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Online banner advertising: not the preferred medium for promoting a publicly funded sexual health clinic targeting men who have sex with men

Online banner advertising: not the preferred medium for promoting a publicly funded sexual health clinic targeting men who have sex with men

Based on evidence of the success of utilising online campaigns to access MSM, RPA Sexual Health, a publically funded sexual health service (PFSHS) in the inner-west of Sydney, trialled two clinic advertising campaigns over a three year period. Both campaigns were developed with community consultation, targeting MSM and were predominantly online. They were evaluated and compared to measure their success and the effectiveness of advertising a PFSHS online.

Methods: Campaign 1 utilised five gay-cruising websites and Facebook. Campaign 2 utilised print media, adult-shops, sex on premises venues (SOPV ) and three online MSM community publications. Both campaigns considered, client feedback, number of new clients and walk-ins as indicators of success. Campaign 2 was conducted following a clinic relocation, therefore, number of failed-to-attend (FTA) was also considered.

results: An upward trend in overall and walk-in attendance was noticed after campaign 2, including a 17% decrease in FTA. Following each campaign period, of those attending the service (n=265), only 14% (n=36) reported seeing the advertisements. Of those who reported seeing campaign 2, only 16% reported seeing it online compared to 84% who had seen it in print media, at adult shops and SOPV. Following both campaigns, a small number of men (n=15) reported attending the clinic as a result of seeing the advertisement. Neither campaign resulted in an increase in new clients (101, Jan-Mar 2012: 100, Jan-Mar 2013). Evaluation respondents recommended strengthening future campaigns by sending text messages, promoting services through general practice, purchasing a higher Google search result position and promoting a service website.

Conclusion: Despite the success of online MSM health promotion campaigns, online advertising has not proven a successful medium for promoting a publicly funded sexual health clinic. Further evidence is required to assess the effectiveness of off-line mediums such as print media, adult shops and SOPV.

Conference: AIDS 2013, HIV
Areas of Interest / Categories: AIDS 2014, Homosexuality, Sexual Behaviour

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