Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Covid-19 Pandemic

5:55 pm

Photo of Emer HigginsEmer Higgins (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I really believe that it is time for us to rethink our advertising strategy in respect of Covid-19 - not only what we are saying but also where we are saying it. I would like the Minister of State to work with the HSE to review whether our advertisements are hitting our entire audience because I fear we are not reaching young people. For many of them, their viewing platforms are social-media based. They are not all sitting on the couch with their mams and dads waiting for the nine o'clock news to come on. They are not all tuned in to current affairs programmes that dominate the airwaves. They do not all consume their shows or their tunes via mainstream channels. They stream and they share. They use a variety of platforms to do that - far to many for us to target with our advertising strategy and ones that are not always possible to advertise on - but we know where they consume content and that means we know where to reach them. All we have to do is target our strategy into social media.

I recently tabled a parliamentary question seeking the current HSE Covid-19 advertising levels on social media and the numbers were stark. The HSE has spent €150,000 on online advertising but I do not think it has been spent wisely. The HSE's social media strategy, in my opinion, is overly reliant on Twitter. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Snapchat together only account for half of the HSE's activity on Twitter. Are we hitting our full audience? That is a legitimate question because that is marketing 101. There is no point in targeting our message at one sector of society and leaving out the people who are most likely to be out and about in the community.

Does the Minister of State know how many posts the HSE has put up on TikTok? It put 1,300 up on Twitter, so how many would the Minister of State think it would have posted on TikTok - arguably the most popular app amongst young people? Ten is the number of posts the HSE posted on TikTok. Are we even trying?


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