Facebook Ads Case Study: Movember Foundation Canada

Thanks to the new Facebook advertising transparency, Canadians can see all current ads from any Facebook page.  As such, I thought I would do a Facebook ads case study of the Movember Foundation Canada Facebook advertising activity during the month of November.

In my opinion, Movember Foundation Canada really did a great job in promoting their cause on Facebook during the month of November.  The following is a quick analysis of their advertising campaign, but if you are just curious to see samples of their ads, then go straight to the bottom of this blog post.

Objective of Facebook advertising:

The objective of their ad campaign was obvious and consistent – to promote the importance of men’s health and generate donations.

Focused advertising message:

Their advertising message was able to grab the audience’s attention because it was short and impactful.  For example, even though they had multiple ads on Facebook running simultaneously, the majority of their ads had quick statistics about men’s health that were really hard to ignore.  The consistency of their message was also well done.  Not only was their message consistent from ad to ad, even though the wording was slightly different, the imagery and font were consistent as well.  After having seen a few of their ads, you could spot one of their new ads a mile away just by glancing at them, and that’s what you want as an advertiser – quick recognition and instant recall.  You want people to gain some familiarity with your brand, and frequency and consistency of messaging is key.  That is the key to recall and a great start towards brand attachment.

Emotional component:

Although some of their ads were more of a direct reminder to donate, the majority of their ads provided frightening statistics about men’s health.  You couldn’t help but think of the men in your life, and how you did not want them to end up being one of those statistics.

Images in Facebook ads:

Movember Canada ads used a lot of imagery that were consistent, yet used interchangeably.  Sometimes they used imagery of proud men with mustaches, sometimes the men were with their children, partner and father.  But the man with the mustache was always the centre of attention.

Video in Facebook ads:

I really liked that they used various videos as well.  Many of the videos were either just a few seconds or below the 30 second mark, which was long enough to get their message across, but short enough to for even those with short-attention span to watch the video.  I don’t have statistics for the Movember campaign, but from other ad studies, we know that people lack attention therefore the shorter the video, the more likely people will watch it in its entirety.

Donate Button in Facebook ads:

Movember Canada had a clear call to action with their Facebook ads, and that was made clear to the audience with their frequent usage of the Donate button.  Of course it is more likely for a viewer of an ad to take action if that action is made clear to them and is easy to accomplish.  Facebook provides various call to action buttons on their ads.  Take advantage of them and use them when you place an ad on Facebook.  Some call-to-action buttons, such as the donate button, are for specific page categories.  For example, only pages that are under the not-for-profit category may have access to the donate button.  And even then, you may not have access to the button that you want as Facebook may be rolling them out over time.

CEO had a message in a Facebook video ad:

Too few companies take advantage of their own people when it comes to videos posts and video ads.  Your people are the ones who are the most passionate about your cause.  Those who are passionate will appeal to your target audience.  Hats off to the Movember Foundation Canada CEO who took the time to leave a personal message to the target audience.  We hope to see more of that from other organizations as well.  If clients or donors get to know you on a personal level, you will have an opportunity to tap into their emotional side and typically this will make your clients / donors like you that much more.  The downside, of course, is that if there is a lot of turnover that is perceived by the target audience, they will wonder what is going on and they might not always feel as attached to one person as they do to another.

Reminder of deadline:

During the final week of November, Movember placed several ads reminding its target audience that there were only 3, 2 or 1 days left before the end of Movember, again with a call to action button to donate.  This was a clever way to work on the emotional side of those within their audience that work best under pressure, trying to get in as many last donations as possible.

What could have they done better?

Overall, the Movember Foundation Canada Facebook ad campaign seemed to be well coordinated and implemented.  We cannot comment on the effectiveness of the ad campaign because we do not have access to their analytics, but we can make an educated assumption that the organization was happy with the results, because they had the option to do less or even stop the ads, but they kept up their advertising level which indicates that Movember Foundation Canada was at the very least satisfied in reaching their objective.

There was a contest advertised during the month of November.  That seemed to have gotten lost with all the other ads taking place during that time.  However, this was not the focus of the advertising objective.  It is clear that the objective was to raise donations, so it is easy to see why this contest was not advertised to the same degree as the donation ads.

Personally, I would have liked to see a few ads of women and children talking about their father, husband, grandfather, uncle, friend, etc…  I mention this because I was part of their targeted audience.  On many occasions, I saw their ads pop up on my Facebook account, and several other online networks.  This was fine, except I felt many of the ads were talking to my husband, my brother, their buddies, and so on.  I would have liked to have seen perhaps 10% of their ads with women promoting better health options for the men in their lives.  My point is, if you’re going to include me in your target audience, then talk directly to me, at least from time to time.

What did Movember Foundation Canada get out of their Facebook ad campaign?:

With the multiple variations of ads created for their Movember campaign, I am certain that Movember Foundation Canada has a much better idea of the text and imagery that best appeals to their target audience.  Without their advertising statistics, it is difficult for us to evaluate which ads worked best for them, but considering that they went strong throughout the month with all these ad variations, three things can be assumed with a fair amount of certainty:

  1. Movember Foundation Canada knows what appeals to their target audience more than ever before.
  2. Movember Foundation Canada probably knows how to customize their targeting options in order to reach their ideal target audience more than before.
  3. Movember Foundation Canada probably did pretty good in terms of receiving donations from this campaign, because they obviously spent a fair amount of money on it and if it had not produced enough donations, they either would have reduced or stopped their campaign efforts.  This was not the case.  To the contrary, although I do not know how much they spent on their Facebook ads or how far their reach was for their targeted audience, I do know that they maintained a high level of ad variations throughout the month, which indicates to me that they were at the very least satisfied with the results.

Here are samples of their ad variations that were seen on Facebook throughout the month of November.  Note that they advertised on various other online and traditional media as well, but the focus of this blog post consists of their Facebook ad campaign.

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook ads:  Quick message and statistics


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Movember Foundation Canada Facebook ads featuring images with men:


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Movember Foundation Canada Facebook ads to encourage last minute donations:


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Movember Foundation Canada Facebook ads featuring CEO and ambassador:


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Note that I am not affiliated with Movember Foundation Canada nor its marketing agency. None of these ads were created by me. I am acting strictly as a viewer who was impressed with what they saw and thought others could learn from this as well.

What did you like the best of their Facebook ad campaign, and what would you have changed?  Leave us a comment below.

Fun Game to Learn the PAAB Code

Hey Canadian pharmaceutical marketers!  Let’s be honest; reading the PAAB code is tedious and most of us probably don’t find it that much fun.  I think PAAB feels your pain because they have come up with a fun game to help you learn the PAAB code, and it is completely free.

Sign up before November 20th and you will receive one email per day for four consecutive days (November 20, 21, 22 and 24 … I guess you get a break on November 23), each with questions related to the PAAB code.  Top scores will be showcased on a leader board.

Kudos to the PAAB team for coming up with such a creative way to reach out to their audience in a way that will appeal to them.

Canadian pharma marketers: What have you got to lose?  Go ahead and sign up for the free PAAB code game now and you can play your way through the PAAB code and guidances.

PAAB game

New Facebook ad transparency sample: Movember Canada ad review

The new Facebook ad transparency is live only in Canada for the next few months!  It will be rolled out to the United States this Summer, but the timing is unknown for other countries.  This may be unnerving for some advertisers because all of their ads running on the Facebook advertising platform are on display to anybody in Canada, regardless of whether or not they are part of the intended audience for that ad.  In reality, this is not much different than the ads that we see in magazines, on television or on the radio.  The bigger issue here is that all of an advertisers ads on Facebook will be on public display, including their test ads.  Those are the ones that we all would like to keep under wraps until we are certain that they are effective.

Since there are probably some people in other countries who would like to see how the new Facebook ad transparency works, I decided to share an example with you.  I chose to look at the currently running Facebook ads of Movember Foundation Canada in honour of men’s health month.

As a reminder, Facebook is requiring advertisers to connect their ad with a Facebook page.  Therefore, find the Facebook page that is of interest to you.  Once you are there, to find the ads that are running on that page, look at the left column of the page, also known as the left sidebar.  Somewhere in the left sidebar, you will see “Ads”.  The word “Ads” usually appears at the end of the list but it can appear somewhere at the top or in the middle depending on how the page is set up. Click on the word “Ads”.

pointing to ads

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook page screenshot. New Facebook ads transparency. November 15 2017.


Tada !!  This takes you to the pages’ current ads.  If there are no ads currently running, you will see the following message:

“No Ads Available to View. There are no ads currently running to view.”

Sample of no ads

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Facebook page screenshot.  New Facebook ads transparency.  November 15 2017.

If there are ads, you will have to scroll down to see them all.  At the top of this page, there is a a message from Facebook explaining what you are able to see and what you will not be able to see:

“These are ads that <Page Name> is currently showing to people through Facebook’s advertising platform. We’re making these ads available to you even if you’re not part of the intended audience, in order to give you more information about how this Page is using Facebook ads. We’re unable to show certain kinds of ads, such as some dynamic and offer ads, at this time.

You’ll see the Facebook News Feed versions of any ads. Advertisers may run ads across different products, sites and apps (such as Instagram or Messenger), so they may look different here than how they appear there.
Offers, special pricing and other details may not apply to you.”
Movember Canada - 2017 11 - 1

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook page screenshot. New Facebook ads transparency. November 15 2017.

Information about audience targeting and ad duration is not made visible to the public.
You can engage with the ad, but in a limited fashion.  By clicking on the “…” symbol at the top right corner of the ad, this allows you to report the ad if you find it offensive or inappropriate.  You can click on a link within the post or on the post’s call-to-action button and you will be brought to that page. However, you cannot like, comment or share the ad.  I did find a loophole for some of the ads.  Although I was not able to like, comment or share on the ads on the Facebook ads transparency for that page, I was able to click on the videos and get to the original post, at which point I was able to like, comment or share.  Could it be that these were posts that were boosted, therefore I was allowed to interact with them because I was brought to the original post?  Maybe, but I’m not sure.
engagement with reviewed ad

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook page screenshot. New Facebook ads transparency. November 15 2017.

link to video

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook page screenshot. New Facebook ads transparency. November 15 2017.

I was not able to do click and engage with any of the ads with still images though.  When I clicked on the ads with still images, I was either brought to the link that the advertiser wanted to promote with the ad, or I was brought to a screen that told me that the link had either expired or the page was only visible to an audience that I am not part of.  Interesting!  Is this perhaps a way for Facebook to protect the integrity of the ad by not allowing people who are not part of the intended audience to engage with the ad, even though they can see it?  Maybe, but when I reviewed the Movember Canada Facebook ads, many of those I had seen on my timeline on a few occasions, therefore I should be considered as part of their intended audience, yet I was not able to engage with any of them on the page that listed all of their ads.
some ads won't let me get details

Movember Foundation Canada Facebook page screenshot. New Facebook ads transparency. November 15 2017.

Here are a few samples of the Movember Canada Facebook currently running Facebook ads.  I found a total of 28 ads.  They consisted of some video ads and some photo ads, and although there were a few unique ones among them, the majority of them were a mix-and-match of images, messages and call-to-action.  Considering some of them were very similar to one another, it is possible that some of these were test ads, but they could have been developed as such simply to maintain brand consistency and recall.  This blog post was meant as an introduction and overview of the new Facebook ad transparency, but in a separate post that I will publish in a few days, I will include all of the Movember Canada Facebook ads so that we can talk about them.
Hello! My name is Nat and I am the founder of Marketing 4 Health Inc.  I write blog posts and manage the Social Media strategy and manage online communities for my clients in healthcare, education and non-profit industries.
If you would like a Facebook ad review for your market, please contact me at nat@marketing4health.net so that we can discuss your business needs.

Facebook and Twitter to Make Ads Visible to the Public – Impact on Healthcare and Pharma

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter will soon be making ads visible to anybody who wants to see them.  Yes, anybody!  Patients, healthcare providers, competitors and advertising regulatory bodies.

This new ad transparency on social media is a result of the Russian ads that were placed on social media during the last American election. Tisk tisk!

Up until now, you saw ads on social media that were targeted to you based on the advertisers’ filters when placing the ad.  But very soon, you will be able to actively search and find ads by specific users with just a click of a button.  This is both exciting and unnerving for advertisers in all industries, including the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

What are the social networks doing to make advertising more transparent?

Facebook, Messenger and Instagram will be starting this process near the end of 2017 in Canada first and then will roll out to the United States by July 2018.  There will be a “View Ads” button to click on a Page to view the ads that the Page is currently running.  As such, all ads will need to be associated with a Page

Twitter will work a bit differently.  There will be an Advertising Transparency Center that will become public in the coming weeks.  From here, you will have access to the following information:

  • All ads that are currently running on Twitter
  • Amount of time that the ads have been running
  • Ad creative
  • Ads targeted to you, as well as personalized information on which ads you are eligible to receive based on targeting

Viewers of the ads on any of these platforms will be able to give immediate feedback and report ads.

So how will this impact social media advertisers within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries?

    • Transparency means that people can see everything, so expect exactly that!  Expect competitors to come snooping around more often to see what you are advertising.  As you will probably use this as an opportunity to do more thorough competitive advertising reviews as well, right?


    • In the past, we could only estimate how much a competitor was advertising on social media.  But now we will have access to all the details.  If one realizes that competitors are way more active than what was previously thought, it is possible that we will see a surge in advertising by others, especially if their strategic objective is to target the users of a specific competitive brand.  However, I don’t anticipate this to happen for the Canadian pharmaceutical industry because of the restrictions in direct-to-consumer advertising.  In Canada, it will really still just be the market leaders who will benefit the most from these types of ads.  But in the United States, it is a possibility.


    • Expect more feedback and possibly reporting of your ads by either consumers or competitors.  Hopefully you will get positive feedback, but beware, because even your test ads will be visible now.  In speaking with Ad Standards (the organization that reviews Canadian consumer advertising for prescription drugs, OTC, medical devices, natural health products and very soon vaccines as well), they do not expect any significant changes to the number or type of complaints that they usually receive either from consumers or competitors.  Personally, I’m not so sure about that.  Some competitors are fierce about trying to stop advertising by others, but we all know that that usually ends up biting them right back in the you-know-what.  But we all know that some will absolutely be taking that chance anyways.


    • Speaking of test ads, we may find that advertisers test for shorter periods of time in order to limit the window of opportunity of competitors seeing their draft ads.  We all know that we need to test our ads, but who wants to do that openly?  We won’t have a choice, but I cannot imagine that many of us will be comfortable with that.


These are nothing more than guesses, so it will be interesting to review the impact a year from now to see which of these turned out to be correct and which did not.

Competitive review of social media ads:

Call me crazy, but I love finding healthcare-related ads and analyzing their creative and copy, and now I’ll be able to see a bit of their targeting features as well.  Woohoo!!!  I am looking forward to finding new pharmaceutical and healthcare ads on social media and sharing some of them with you so that you can share your thoughts on them.  Below, you will find a few that I spotted during the past few weeks on Facebook.  Enjoy!

If you would like a thorough social media advertising review for a particular therapeutic area or specific competitors, then please contact me at nat@marketing4health.net .  Truth be told, it would be my absolute pleasure to be your eyes and ears on social media!

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Upcoming Changes to DTC Advertising of Vaccines and Medical Devices

83566868_sIf you are a Canadian marketer for vaccines or medical devices, you should be preparing for a new review procedure of your direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads.

In consultation with Health Canada, Ad Standards has updated the 2006 Consumer Advertising Guidelines for Marketed Health Products (Guidelines).

The Guidelines were designed to provide guidance to advertisers to develop compliant consumer-directed advertising of non-prescription drugs and natural health products. At the request of Health Canada, the scope of the Guidelines has been expanded to encompass guidance for consumer-directed advertising of vaccines and medical devices.

The revised 2018 Guidelines for Consumer Advertising of Health Products will be posted on Ad Standards’ website in December 2017 and come into effect on January 1, 2018.

As well, Ad Standards will be hosting workshops in Toronto and Montreal in January and February 2018.

We will update you when the link to the Guidelines becomes available.


If you require assistance with your social media advertising, please contact me at nat@marketing4health.net .  I would love to help you make your upcoming campaign a success.


One Step at a Time Up the Stairs to Success

No elevator to success - liteI don’t often share personal information on my blog, but since having restarted to promote my business, people have been asking me what I’ve been up lately. So here it is, the short version about the appearance, quieter times and recent reemergence of Marketing 4 Health Inc.

Almost exactly 10 years ago, I started my own business, Marketing 4 Health Inc.Marketing 4 Health Inc., helping healthcare / pharma companies manage their social media. I was climbing the proverbial ‘success stairs’, sometimes it even felt like I was skipping a couple of steps at a time. Business was booming.

But about 4 years ago, I decided to intentionally slow down my business to take care of my growing family. Despite having 4 young children to raise at home, I kept at least a couple of clients on my roster at all times, but I knew that I could not handle any more than that, so I stopped all promotion of my services.  I even wiped out my blog, which was a sad day for me because it was gaining so much traction from the Canadian pharmaceutical industry at the time.  But frankly, putting my family first was the best decision ever and I would do it all over again.  Ultimately, it was well worth the sacrifice.

Move forward to now, and the kids are finally all in school now, so I can spend more time tending to my business. Ah, it feels invigorating to be climbing up those stairs again. Even though my business kept going throughout all those years, a lot of things slowed down, so now I’m putting in the effort to get the ball rolling again. So far it’s been baby steps, and that’s OK because I am enjoying the challenge and the thrill of it all.

Right now, I’m excited to be in the process of networking to regain my spot in the healthcare / pharma social media / blogging world. If you know of somebody who is looking for an experienced blogger or social media manager who knows and understands the regulations of the healthcare / pharma industry, please send me an introduction to them either on LinkedIn or via email; nat@marketing4health.net . I am eager to help my next clients reach their business goals!

Until then, let’s all keep climbing up those stairs together!  Cheers!

Almost 1/3 of Canadians are Using Mobile Apps to Monitor their Health


Photo credit: 123rf.com

It comes as no surprise that an effective way to reach health-conscious Canadians is via health apps.  CEFRIO, the Research Chair in Digital Health and Canada Health Info Way released some interesting results in September 2017.  Here are some of their key findings;

In the first national study of its kind in Canada, and the largest ever world-wide, we now know that 32% of Canadians are using mobile apps to monitor certain aspects of their health.(1)

Canadians using the apps are typically younger, employed, university-educated, wealthier and are generally healthy.(1)

The most popular type of apps being used are those that track physical activity, nutrition, weight information and sleep.  Many of these apps are being used with a smartwatch.  The greatest motivator is that the users want to know themselves better and want to track changes.  The second greatest motivator is daily encouragement to reach personal goals.(1)

Here are the top 10 most downloaded free health apps on Google Play in Canada: (2)

  1. 7 FIT
  2. Carrot Rewards
  3. Headspace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness
  4. Calm: Meditate, Sleep, Relax
  5. Calorie Counter: My Fitness Pal
  6. Shoppers Drug Mart
  7. Fitbit
  8. Period Tracker Flo, Ovulation & Pregnancy Calendar
  9. Lose Weight in 30 Days
  10. Google Fit – Fitness Tracking


Creating an app to help Canadians improve their health while promoting your product(s) and / or service(s) makes sense, as long as you provide value.  It cannot be an aggressive sales push or people will get turned off.  But beware, just because you created an amazing tool, it doesn’t mean that people will hear and know about it right away.  Just because you built it, it doesn’t mean they will come.  You will  have to promote it to draw people in.  There are lots of tools at your disposal to help you promote your app.  Forbes put together a list of 65 ideas to help you promote your app.(3)   Pick a few that you know you can excel at and focus on them consistently!

Let us know your experience with a health app, either as a manufacturer or client, in the comments below.



(1) “Diffusion of Smart Devices for Health in Canada” report, September 2017.  Download report here.

(2) Similar Web, Mobile App Ranking, Updated October 21 2017

(3) Forbes. 65 Simple Ways to Promote Your Mobile App.  Nov 7 2015.

Canadians Google for Symptoms of ..

Google doctor

Over the past year, when Canadians used Google to search for information about symptoms, here are the top 10 health conditions that they were looking for: (1)

  1. Cancer
  2. Pregnancy
  3. Flu
  4. Diabetes
  5. Anxiety
  6. Cold
  7. Menstruation
  8. Thyroid
  9. Depression
  10. Pneumonia

Google has also seen a rise over the past year from Canadian searches about symptoms for the following conditions: (1)

  1. Mumps (+500%)
  2. Food poison (+300%)
  3. Lyme disease (+200%)
  4. Norovirus (+200%)
  5. West nile virus (+120%)


Go ahead and search for information, but please beware of diagnosing yourself with the data that you find online.  In a head-to-head study where doctors were given the same medical history and symptom information as online symptom checkers, the doctor got the right diagnosis 72% of the time vs. only 34% for the online apps.(2)

Sources:  1) Google Trends.  2) JAMA Internal Medicine, online October 10, 2016.

Funny Medical and Science Sites on Social Media

If you are like me and enjoy having a good laugh while sometimes learning a little something at the same time, then the following medical and science sites might give you a giggle.  You will find their social media links below so that you can easily follow them if you wish:

  1. Antibotic resistance joke

    Source: Beatrice the Biologist

    Beatrice the Biologist is one of my favorites because her comics are educational and can be used with a target audience (in my case, my children) to lead into great discussions.  Her jokes make the core message very memorable.  You can find her on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

2. The Awkward Yeti, which features, Heart and Brain, is a funny comic strip which sometimes delves into sciences.  It is meant more for leisure than education, so it is a perfect science humor site if you are looking to relax. They can be found on FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit.

3. ZDoggMD features Dr. Zubin Damania, MD.  Dr. Damania produces entertaining videos expressing his frustration with the healthcare system.  These videos would appeal to stressed out healthcare professionals and frustrated patients alike.  You can find ZDoggMD on FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

4. And if you are like me and you cannot get enough of Dr. Damania’s videos, then you might also enjoy his Doc Vader persona where he shares his darker humor on FaceBook and Twitter.

5. GomerBlog is self-described as “Earth’s finest medical satire news site”.  They might be right, but you must have the right sense of humor to enjoy their content.  I’ll admit that I am a fan!  You can find them on FaceBook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram and Pinterest.

There are plenty more entertaining medical and science websites out there.  Tell us which is your favorite and we just might include it in a follow-up blog post.