Written by on . Pegasus.

Lessons learnt from the UK government’s Test and Trace influencer campaign

Simone Stevens takes a look at the UK government’s Test and Trace paid influencer campaign and how this might be evaluated in terms of success.

The UK government has become the the latest to join the number of industries working with influencers. Their campaign to promote the NHS Test and Trace system saw them partnering with influencers from reality TV show, Love Island, to reach a younger audience.

Many of these posts consisted of images and videos of themselves reminiscing about times when they could socialise, linking this back to the social distancing rules and the importance of using the Test and Trace app to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

What went wrong?

This tactic received mixed reviews and scrutiny from both the public and news outlets for several reasons. Firstly, taxpayers’ money has been used to pay influencers, who can often charge in the region of £5,000 – £10,000 for this type of content. Secondly, because many of the influencers, following their Test and Trace posts, subsequently posted images online which showed them failing to social distance, both in the UK and abroad while on holiday. And finally, for not following ASA guidelines correctly, failing to ensure posts were captioned and tagged correctly, although this was eventually corrected. 

Some of these reality influencers included Shaughna Phillips, Chris Hughes and Josh Denzel, who were paid by the government to share sponsored ads with their millions of followers using the hashtags #gettested and #letsgetback

More recently, there has been further questions around how effective the campaign was as young people have been blamed for an increase in COVID-19 cases across the UK. Now, the government is been imposing new regional lockdown rules across certain regions to tackle the rise.  

So, did the campaign work?

A government spokesperson claimed that the “use of social media influencers has meant over seven million people have been reached”. However, it is unclear if this is the total campaign figure, as this influencer activity was also part of a wider campaign that included TV, radio, print advertising and other social media tactics.

We also know that it is very easy to establish large reach numbers with audience metrics, but the real test is audience engagement and whether it drove behaviour change.

The fundamentals of any successful infuencer campaign

While at this point it is difficult to tell if there was a direct impact on app downloads, people social distancing and activity, we can look at what would be fundamental to the success of such a campaign.

  • Research – as with any influencer campaign, due diligence should be conducted to ensure that the influencers you propose working with are a strong and positive representation of the brand and campaign that they are supporting, and that their channels resonate with the audience too. Our recommendation is to always take a data and sector knowledge approach when looking at influencer suggestions
  • Contracts and guidelines – it’s crucial to get this right, ensuring the influencer is clear about what they should be delivering, what regulations and guidelines they need to adhere to and their responsibility as an influencer to that particular audience. We would recommend a clear briefing process with the opportunity to talk through all of these elements
  • Measurable impact –be clear up front on which metrics will really demonstrate that behaviour change the client is looking to see. Work out what actions and deliverables need to be put in place to test this at the start, during and at the end of the campaign to show real success and insight

If you would like to talk to Simone or the team about how to execute an influencer campaign than please do get in touch, email Simone on [email protected]

is a Senior Influencer Strategist at Pegasus. Simone has over 13 years’ experience in consumer, health and beauty comms, influencer marketing and digital communications. Simone oversees a pan-agency team who specialise in influencer marketing.