Targeting Ads To The Unvaccinated Becomes An Art

When marketers think about targeting messages to consumers, do they consider whether the audience segment has been vaccinated against COVID-19? In the future, they may.

That snippet of data reveals a lot about a person, and it may not be what people expect. 

Tunnl, an audience identification and segmentation platform for the purpose-driven marketing and issue advocacy economy, released data last week based on a quarterly survey of 5,000 individuals.  I found it interesting that the majority of Americans who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine are non-voters, and 56% of those who are hesitant or refuse to be vaccinated are ages 18-34. And the best way to reach them is through social media.

Tunnl can match survey results to their database, which includes voting records. It is part of how they create audiences, along with matching survey data.

Sara Fagen, Tunnl CEO, said the findings represent a departure from prevailing beliefs about unvaccinated people and what messaging and media should be used to reach them.



“They are also a group that is not overtly political, and they skew young,” she said. “This would suggest that hesitancy is not for them a political issue, but more so one of perceived need.”

Non-voters -- those who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine or those who can be persuaded -- are much more likely to be politically disengaged. Some 61% of those who won’t get the vaccine are non-voters or have no recent history of voting, and 69% of "persuadables" on getting the vaccine are non-voters or have no recent history of voting.

Those who are politically disengaged are already difficult to communicate with because they do not follow patterns of the American public.

In terms of communicating with this group about the vaccine, they are best reached using unconventional channels and methods.

About 12% are less likely than the average American to watch broadcast TV. They are more than 30% more likely to use mobile streaming, digital radio, and social media.

The whole social media focus is interesting. Some 44% are more likely than average to use WhatsApp, while 40% more likely to use Tumblr, 39% are more likely to use Instagram, 38% are more likely to be in Reddit, 36% are more likely to use Twitch, 36% are more likely to subscribe to Apple TV, and 32% are more likely to stream ESPN+.

Unmarried parents are much more likely to be opposed to getting the vaccine or hesitant to get the vaccine than married parents. There are 54,442,635 parents who are hesitant to get the vaccine or refuse to get the vaccine; and 31,257,870 -- or 57.4% -- are unmarried parents.

Younger people are also less likely to be engaged. Fifty-six percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 are hesitant or refuse to take the vaccine. 

  • Vaccine Hesitant (18-34) - 22,405,259 (32%)
  • Vaccine Refusal (18-34) - 16,732,546 (24%)
6 comments about "Targeting Ads To The Unvaccinated Becomes An Art".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 13, 2021 at 9:45 a.m.

    Laurie, I'm surprised that they didn't mention the most obvious descriptive that applies to the overwhelming majority---though not all---of those who are resisting vaccination, namely those who are "conservative" politically and, in many cases pro-Trump. Where's the best place to  find such people from a targeting and mindset standpoint? That's simple, it's the Fox News Channel, where such ads would probably resonate with audiences who believe that  Fox News tells it like it is. Aside from FNC I would also seek out other content that appeals to "conservatives"---like the old reality show, "Cops", or any of the old TV westerns that are still playing or any law and order show as some examples. Certain sports would also fit the bill---like car racing, hunting, fishing, and even football or baseball.

  2. PJ Lehrer from NYU replied, September 13, 2021 at 11:41 a.m.

    Actually research has shown that the most prevelant descriptor for Trump voters is low education level.  Therefore, the fact that anti-vaxxers are getting their news from social media - the least reliable source there is - should not be a surprise.

    The research also says that 69% of Fox News viewers are 50+.  It is not the right place to reach the 56% of the unvaccinated between the ages of 18-34.

    Digital radio and podcasts could be interesting options.  But based on this data Tumblr, Instagram and Twitch seem like a good polace to start.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 13, 2021 at 12:09 p.m.

    PJ, if the goal is to reach the anti-vaxxers who are dying---before they die---and these are mainly aged 50+ I would say that Fox News would be my first choice---but not the only choice. There are, of course, others to be targeted---certain ethnic and racial groups, for example---- which might dictate a different media selection and as regards the younger set, of course---but how do you get at the mindset issue? Do you simply target all 18-34s? That seems wasteful. Do you try to find venues where the kinds of 18-34s who are against being vacinated constitute the dominant share of audience? That sounds like a good idea---but how do you define the mindset angle? Regionality might be an answer---meaning you buy young audience venues mainly in "red states". So, there are many slices of this pie to be considered. But I'm sticking with my recommendation about FNC. That's certainly where I'd start---though not necessarily where I'd end.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, September 14, 2021 at 12:14 a.m.

    Here in AU we're finding that 'language spoken in the home' is one of the highest correlates to the unvaccinated, primarily because our governments are lagging with multi-racial messaging.

  5. Michael Hubbard from Media Two Interactive replied, September 16, 2021 at 9:17 a.m.

    That's actually really funny Ed.  I'm picturing an agency doing a 20 page PPT presentation showcasing all of these stats, and then at the end, presenting a media plan that only shows Fox News :)

  6. Dan Smedstad from Woodway Wellness, September 20, 2021 at 8:45 p.m.

    You dio realize that the largest demographic of the unvaccinated are blacks, who are hardly "Trump voting conservatives." That audience was busy watching Kamala Harris on the fake MSM rail against taking the "Trump Vaccine" before she became VP. Keep watching the fake news outlets who do nothing but lie  and fear monger about just about everything 

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