It was a huge relief to download the NHS Covid-19 app and see it live and working.

If people download the NHS Covid-19 app en masse, we will all be contributing to a wealth of smarter data that will help officials tackle outbreaks with much more precision. They might even be able to leave their bluntest instruments in the drawer.

High five for public sector comms

And there is more good news. We have been running Covid-19 public awareness surveys in four council areas to check residents’ knowledge of prevention, symptoms and testing.


As of today, 87.2% of people can recall the correct symptoms, methods of prevention and follow-up actions. This shows public sector comms has been working well in spite of the inclement environment in which it has to operate!

What about the other 12.8%? Here’s where the knowledge gaps are:

  • 8.8% – got the wrong symptoms
  • 2% – got the wrong prevention methods
  • 2% – got a mixture of wrong answers

These read like small numbers. But, as we know with this pandemic, small numbers can soon become large, out-of-control numbers.

The council teams in the four participating areas have supplied us with information on the sort of groups of people they need to reach with the survey. This includes specific postcodes with high case numbers and at-risk demographics (for example, younger adults or BAME communities). So, we can target online adverts to the websites and social media we know these groups of people use on a regular basis.

And here’s the really neat bit: anyone who gets a wrong answer is retargeted with ads that provide all the right answers and they are encouraged to retake the survey.

In this way, this survey campaign can stamp out misinformation. The ads can also now link to where people can download the NHS Covid-19 app so councils can increase the numbers of people in their areas providing vital data for Test and Trace.

Councils: have this tech for FREE!

CAN is making access to this survey campaign and the onsite ad tech free*. It could be up and running in your area today which will give you data you can use to optimise your comms tomorrow.

If you want a 15-minute chat to talk through how it all works, please contact me on Twitter, Facebook or by email at jp@can-digital.net.

*The survey and website advertising tech is free to use. If you choose to run programmatic advertising to target people to increase the sample size, you will need a budget of at least £2.5k.