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Monitoring behavioural responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, using Facebook advertisement campaigns


This project developed a rapid response monitoring system to trace people’s behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. By running continuous online surveys via targeted Facebook advertisement campaigns, it collected information about individual health statuses, behaviours, social contacts, and attitudes across eight countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, US). Measuring this information is essential to develop effective intervention strategies to mitigate and contain the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in view to the absence of treatment and vaccination.


The first key results of this project show significant differences by sex: Women show a higher perception of threat along with a lower level of confidence in the health system. Second, the study demonstrates a higher level of awareness and concern among older respondents, in line with the evidence that the elderly are at highest risk of severe complications following infection from COVID-19. These results illustrate the value of this innovative data collection approach, using Facebook advertisement campaigns. It is a rapid and flexible method to collect data across borders, required to monitor individual behaviour in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This approach can be replicated with further contexts as well, especially in regions with a high penetration of Facebook and internet services.

(Image: © Emrah Özesen, IOM)

Last modified
20 May 2021