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case study

Fentanyl Education on YouTube Ads: 76K+ Youths Engaged, 27% Conversion Rate

The Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen collaborated on a “Youth Fentanyl Awareness” YouTube ad campaign to educate young adults 13-24 on the danger of fentanyl, a lethal drug that is widely present in many popular illicit/fake prescription drugs. With a goal of driving time spent on site, we needed to drive users from YouTube videos to a landing page where they could engage with a wealth of educational content. The campaign wrapped with a 1.75% CTR, 27% Conversion Rate, and over 76,000 young adults engaging with educational content around the dangers of fentanyl.








The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization founded in 1942 by giants of the advertising industry with the aim that the power of advertising can be used in service of social good. The Ad Council works with partners ranging from other nonprofit organizations to the US government in order to promote public service announcements on pressing social issues. 


Drug overdose deaths in people ages 10-19 more than doubled from 2019 to 2021, and 84% of these deaths involved illicit fentanyl. In 2020 alone, 76% of drug deaths in people ages 14-23 involved fentanyl. Fentanyl has no smell, taste, or appearance, and it takes just a small dosage to be lethal. The Ad Council launched the “Youth Fentanyl Awareness” campaign in order to educate youth on the dangers of fentanyl and how to spot signs of an overdose in order to save a life.


As a part of this campaign, the Ad Council invited former drug dealers to teach high school for a day so the students could gain a comprehensive understanding of this issue from someone close to it. The Ad Council then created a landing page, “The Real Deal on Fentanyl” to amplify the lessons taught to those students. Video clips from the lessons were served on YouTube targeting young adults 13-24. The objective of this campaign is to drive users to the landing page to spend at least 20 seconds browsing through the wealth of information that is available.


With the amount of work that we had to do in a small amount of time, we’re very pleased with how quickly Llama Lead Gen was able to understand our organization in order to navigate between project management for our teams and with our platform partners.

Felicia Carmichael

Director of Media, Social and Emerging @ Ad Council


The Challenge

The Ad Council came to Llama Lead Gen to help refine its media strategy around the Fentanyl Awareness campaign. They need to reach young adults 13-24 who may be starting to get exposed to illicit drugs so that they can make educated decisions and fully understand the risks.


One key challenge in this campaign from a media perspective is reaching the younger portion of our audience, 13-17, as there are stricter limitations on reaching this group. Additionally, with the main objective being Time Spent on Site (20s+), this is a multi-step process to get users interested in the message to click off of YouTube to the landing page and ensure that the information resonates for them to spend at least 20 seconds engaging with the content. 


The Ad Council looked to partner with Llama Lead Gen to solidify their approach, as it is critical for us to find the most relevant audience within this age group to spread this important message. 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.



With a wealth of video content available for this campaign as well as an aim to reach a younger audience, the Ad Council and Llama Lead Gen chose YouTube as the main platform for this campaign. 


Across YouTube, we are able to leverage target youths and young adults 13-24. The strategy was to break up the age groups and target them by different interests. For the youth 13-17 age group, we targeted frequent users of various popular social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord, etc to present them with the real facts on fentanyl.


For A18-24 we targeted those with an affinity towards live events (concerts, sporting events) and nightlife. The aim is to reach those who are likely to be in situations where illicit drugs are present to ensure they are aware of the danger of fentanyl as well as the knowledge of how to reverse an overdose.

We monitored the campaign performances and made weekly budget optimizations, moving budgets based on audience performance. A mix of videos was leveraged to allow platform optimization flexibility. Each video targeted different parts of the broader issue around fentanyl: how to reverse an overdose, how to detect the presence of fentanyl, and why fentanyl is so widely present. Llama Lead Gen worked with the team to develop various video ad descriptions to capture the full spectrum of the issue and encourage our audience to learn the facts to protect themselves and their friends.


Solution & Implementation

After gaining a full understanding of the strategy and goals of this campaign, we started by collaborating with the Ad Council to align on finalizing ad copy for the ads as well as ensure that the target audiences that we have selected resonate. The Llama Lead Gen team took full ownership of the execution of the campaign set up within the YouTube platform.