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Thanks for your comments Brian. yes, the Snyder analysis did note differences on effect sizes (behavior change)depending on the behavior being studies. Generally, the simpler, or one-off occasion, the larger the impact on behavior change - which if I recall correctly was not more than about 12% points. Others, notably reducing teen use of illicit drugs, had a slightly negative impact.

let me know when that review is done and your paper is ready for publication. Would like to feature it here as the online (and mobile technologies) for behavior change are clearly areas in need of critical review and rational expectation setting.


The 5% figure seems like a reasonable, if not a high ballpark estimate for communication campaigns, as success is often just a few percentage points. Of course, the type of behaviour and success ratio will vary widely from behaviour to behaviour and population to population.

After a year and a half in peer review, my meta-analysis on the design of online interventions for social marketing campaigns will soon be published. During the study, I discovered that online interventions and sophisticated print interventions offered similar behavioural impacts. Although there is no fixed rule on converting an effect size statistic into a percentage, by some estimates, the impact would be higher than 5%, with the caveat that many of these interventions work best on populations that are ready to change, ie excluding those in pre-contemplation or contemplation stages. However, I think it's possible to grow the 5% with online technology by offering interactive online support as one of many services for those who are sufficiently motivated or driven to take the next step.

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