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British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research

British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, ISSN: 2231-0614,Vol.: 4, Issue.: 25 (01-10 September)

Short Research Article

“Toxic Butts”: Key Performance Indicators from a California Statewide Social Media Campaign for Tobacco Control


Joseph Smyser1*, Thomas Novotny1, Shanna Dayan2 and Timothy Rodwell3

1Joint Doctoral Program in Global Health, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University and University of California San Diego, Hardy Tower rm 119, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182-4162, USA.
2Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, San Diego State University, Hardy Tower rm 119, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182-4162, USA.
3Division of Global Public Health, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, Institute of the Americas, 10111 N. Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA, USA 92093, USA.


Article Information


(1) Jimmy T. Efird, Department of Public Health, Director of Epidemiology and Outcomes Research, East Carolina Heart Institute, Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.


(1) Naseem Akhtar Qureshi, Saudi Arabia.

(2) Sandra Small, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

(3) Pasquale Caponnetto, University of Catania- Italy.

Complete Peer review History:




Background: The “Toxic Butts” campaign was funded by the California Tobacco Control Program as part of a tobacco product waste toolkit. The campaign was to function as a case study, helping to establish best practices for social media use by tobacco control while at the same time serving as a training tool for local lead agencies interested in better leveraging social media. Little information existed on monitoring and evaluation of social media so new metrics were devised and results reported with the intent of publication.
Methods: Campaign staff published English-language content twice a day, seven days a week, for six months. The same content was posted on Facebook and Twitter, with occasional exceptions made for character limits on Twitter. Data were collected using Twitter and Facebook as primary sources, as well as with a third-party social media monitoring program. Interactions of social media users with the campaign’s content in Facebook and Twitter were examined using six key performance indicators. Two indicators offered novel approaches to quantify engagement, representing any action performed by a social media user with campaign content.
Results: The six key performance indicators used to measure campaign performance indicated 1.1 million impressions of “Toxic Butts” campaign content by 340,200 individuals on Facebook, over the six-month period of the study. The largest proportion (42.96 percent) of the campaign’s Twitter followers (n=650) was between the ages of 35 and 44 years, whereas Facebook fans (n=1057) were primarily between the ages of 13 to 17 years (59.1 percent). Twitter followers were nearly evenly split between women and men (51 percent and 49 percent, respectively), whereas Facebook followers were mostly male (60.5 percent compared to 39.50 percent female). Health organizations (34.3 percent) represented the largest share of Twitter followers; Facebook followers were mostly individuals (92.8 percent). Engagement ratios clarified social media users’ interactions with campaign content month-by-month and were considered a valuable point of reference for the overall performance of campaign content.
Discussion: The reported key performance indicatorsprovide a starting point of measures of engagement by social media users with a campaign, and the reach of a campaign’s content. Recommendations for future research are provided.


Keywords :

Tobacco control; cigarette butts; tobacco product waste; monitoring; evaluation; performance; social media; facebook; twitter; case study.


Full Article - PDF    Page 4341-4351    Article Metrics


DOI : 10.9734/BJMMR/2014/10650

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