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Rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are highest in young adults, who can be vaccinated against HPV if they were not vaccinated as adolescents. Since young adults increasingly access health information on social media, we tested the impact of a social media campaign with narrative-based health information on intentions related to HPV vaccination. We also aimed to understand which ads resonated most with young adults and led to higher survey completion rates. We created social media posts featuring videos promoting HPV vaccination. We launched a sponsored ad campaign on Facebook to reach young women, ages 18–26, across the country. Participants were randomly assigned one of 6 videos and then completed a brief survey about video engagement and intentions to: talk with a health care professional, talk with friends or family, and vaccinate against HPV. A descriptive correlational design and a test for moderation were used to explore hypothesized relationships. Across all ads, 1332 link clicks led to 991 completed surveys that were reduced to 607 surveys (95 % ages 18–26, 63 % non-Caucasian; 58 % sexually active). Higher video engagement was associated with stronger intentions to talk with a health care professional (r = 0.44, p =.01), talk with friends/family (r = 0.52, p =.01), and vaccinate against HPV (r = 0.43, p =.01). Young adults were receptive to watching narrative-based health information videos on social media. When promoting HPV vaccination, more engaging information leads to greater intentions to talk about the vaccine and get vaccinated.


This article was originally published in Preventive Medicine Reports, volume 29, in 2022.


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