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case study

Social Impact Marketing for Mental Health Advocacy

81% Video Completion on YouTube
67% of Meta Ads Traffic Converted on Website

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the JED Foundation came to Llama Lead Gen with a cross-platform campaign focused on an important social issue around suicide prevention amongst young adults. “Seize the Awkward” is a social impact marketing campaign done in partnership between the JED and AFSP targeting young adults 18-24, encouraging them to reach out and check in on their friends to start conversations about mental health. 


The campaign ran cross-platform and aimed to drive video views across YouTube and traffic to the primary “Seize the Awkward” landing page via Meta Ads. The campaign wrapped with 55M impressions, 3M video views, and 106K clicks across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Amongst YouTube prospecting audiences, we saw an 80% video completion rate, and 67% of ad clicks on Meta Ads landed on the campaign website.







Introduction: Harnessing the Power of Social Impact Marketing to Address Youth Suicide

According to the CDC, youths ages 10–24 years account for 15% of all suicides, and it is the second leading cause of death for this age group. Suicide rates for this age group increased by 52.2% between 2000-2021. Youth of color and those identifying as a part of the LGBTQ+ community are affected at an increased rate. According to one survey done by the ASFP, 94% of participants felt that suicide could be prevented.


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that advocates for research and education around suicide with a mission to “save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.” Partnering with the JED, a foundation with a mission to prevent youth suicide by empowering teens and young adults through various nationwide programming. They focused on helping youths build resiliency and life skills as well as helping promote an increased sense of social connectedness. 


“Seize the Awkward” is a campaign centered around the cause of suicide prevention amongst young adults. Leveraging a variety of videos, the main message was to encourage friends to check in on each other and start the (potentially) awkward conversation about how a friend is really doing. The “Seize the Awkward” landing page had stories from celebrities like Megan Thee Stallion and Noah Cyrus of their struggles with mental health as well as conversation starters to help guide someone to have their conversation with a friend.


The campaign had different goals across both YouTube and Meta Ads, with YouTube focused on video views and Meta Ads prioritizing clicks to the landing page. Across both platforms, similar audiences were leveraged. The campaign was targeted only towards A18-24 with key audience groups such as mental health interests, celebrity interests (related to the list of celebrities involved in “Seize the Awkward”), and black/Latinx demos. 

Marketing Objectives and Goals

The primary objective of this campaign was to raise awareness among young adults on the importance of having open conversations. Specifically, we aimed to:


Encourage young adults to reach out and create space to check in on each other’s well-being


Provide resources via the “Seize the Awkward” landing page to help start conversations about mental health


Rally awareness and action around the cause of suicide prevention, specifically among youths


The Challenge

AFPS and JED partnered with Llama Lead Gen to help refine its media strategy for “Seize the Awkward.” While the campaign had different objectives across YouTube and Meta Ads, it was essential to ensure we reached our key audiences across both platforms. Across YouTube and Meta Ads, Llama Lead Gen mirrored the audiences based on available targeting in each platform. In Meta Ads, we added additional relevant audiences to our target audience.  


The main challenge of this campaign was to ensure that the budget was balanced amongst the two objectives and platforms. We needed users to view the video ads and take further action by engaging with the content on the “Seize the Awkward” landing page.


Given the lack of tracking between two walled gardens like YouTube and Meta Ads, it was challenging to understand audience overlap. However, this concern was lessened as we had different platform objectives.


The Ad Council, on behalf of the sponsors (AFSP and the JED) looked to partner with Llama Lead Gen to solidify their approach to reach the right audience and drive both video views and traffic to the site. With the past success of campaigns between Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen, we were able to leverage this existing trust and relationship to collaborate on a marketing plan.


Social Impact Marketing Strategy

The Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen chose YouTube and Meta Ads as the main platforms for this social impact marketing campaign. Across both platforms, we targeted video creatives against A18-24 using shorter-form videos (6s/15s) for prospecting audiences and 30s/60s videos for our retargeting audience. On Meta Ads, we optimized for traffic to the website, while YouTube optimized for video views. 


A majority of the audiences were mirrored to ensure that we reached them across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Key audiences included segments with mental health interests, celebrity interests (given the number of celebrities that have collaborated with the “Seize the Awkward” initiative) as well as a focus on Black/LatinX young adults. Additionally, across Facebook/Instagram, we tested Twitch interests and broke out an audience of Black/LatinX audience to be served specific celebrity interview creatives. 


The main video creative focused on the “Positivity” mantra that society has that can overwhelm someone to feel like they can’t talk about their struggles. The message encourages friends and loved ones to check in on each other and create more space for conversation. The creative showed a diverse cast of characters while intentionally featuring more Black and LatinX youths, as this issue affected this group more significantly.  


We monitored the campaign performances and optimized weekly budgets, moving budgets based on audience performance. A mix of video concepts and length were leveraged to allow platform optimization flexibility. Llama Lead Gen worked together with the Ad Council to ensure that the ad copy aligned with the nuance of each video.  


Solution & Implementation

After a holistic understanding of the social impact marketing strategy and goals of the “Seize the Awkward” initiative, we started by collaborating with the Ad Council to align on finalizing ad copy for the ads as well as ensuring that the target audiences we have selected were aligned across both platforms. The Llama Lead Gen team took full ownership of the media planning, pixel tracking, and execution of the campaign setup within both the Meta Ads and YouTube ad platforms. 


The campaign was launched after careful QA to ensure our campaigns, audiences, and ads were set up correctly. Our team monitored the performance daily and adjusted the budget accordingly based on what ads and audiences were performing well. Shifting dollars into more efficient audiences and ads. 


Given the priority on black/Latinx youths in this campaign, bidding was manually adjusted to ensure that this audience group received sufficient support.


I’m most impressed by how proactive the Llama Lead Gen team is with managing our campaigns. Deliverables are always on time (with little to no edits needed); recommendations on how to improve our campaigns are expected. It’s truly a breath of fresh air to have partners who are always on top of everything. I also find it very inspiring how involved each member of the team is when it comes to both large and small tasks.

Rasheia Harris

Digital Media Director @ Ad Council


Campaign Performance & Data

The campaign had multiple objectives across two platforms to drive awareness with video views and traffic to the website. Throughout the campaign, we drove a total of 55M impressions, 3M video views, and 106K clicks across Meta Ads and YouTube. From a lower funnel perspective, 56K of the clicks from Facebook/Instagram ads converted into a landing page view on the campaign website. A 67% retention rate from ads to page views.


Across both platforms, we saw that the audience group interested in mental health performed the best against each platform’s respective objective. On YouTube, this audience received 64% of all video views while maintaining an 80% video completion rate. Across Facebook/Instagram, this audience received nearly a quarter of the spend and made up nearly a third of all landing page view volumes for the Meta Ads campaign.