Increasing registrations via social media for two global health events in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Association of Patient Organizations

IAPO is a unique global alliance representing patients of all nations across all disease areas and promoting patient-centred healthcare across the world. Their flagship event, the Global Patients Congress, and the Asia Pacific Patients Congress, bring patient organisations, the health sector, regulators and governments together to discuss patient centred healthcare.

“The Digital Firefly team were warm and brilliant partners to work with. Their support during both events was invaluable and transformative. With limited experience creating global social media campaigns, they made the experience very easy and smooth for us and delivered more than we asked for. Additionally, through working together, the team helped me build the blocks needed to move forwards with our global social media activities. Couldn’t recommend them enough. Thank you!”


Communications Manager

The problem

COVID-19 had forced IAPO’s flagship event, the Global Patients’ Congress (GPC), to move online. This presented a number of challenges for their 9th congress, including the need to encourage current members and new audiences in the healthcare industry to register and attend an online event. 

IAPO approached Digital Firefly with a need to drastically increase the number of registered delegates for their free GPC.


IAPO needed a way to reach potential new members and interested parties, and encourage them, plus current members, to register for their event. We’ll get to the results soon, but IAPO later also reemployed the services of Digital Firefly to do the same for their Asia Pacific Patients’ Congress (APPC).

Services provided

Social media strategy development 

Social media persona creation

Organic and paid social media content creation

Social media advertising set-up and management

Results for GPC 2020


increase in registrations from target audiences

Over 800,000

impressions across social media

Results for APPC 2020


over target registrations from social media

3 million

impressions across social media platforms


of all web traffic came from social media

Our approach

With fewer delegates than they were hoping for, IAPO came to us with a few weeks left to help them reach more of their target audiences and increase their registrations for their GPC in September 2020.

We were determined to help IAPO reach their registration targets. So we got to work on understanding their audience first, establishing where they already had a following on social media, what messaging and imagery resonated with them and making a plan to reach their current and newer audiences.

As IAPO had never attempted a campaign like this before we worked closely with their Marketing Manager and website designers to get tracking in place, enabling us to re-target potential delegates using the Facebook Pixel, and Twitter and LinkedIn Insight Tags.

Once this was ready we wanted to ensure we tested all appropriate channels fast so we could start spending their media budget in the most efficient way and as quickly as possible. This meant developing social media ad content and building target audiences for three core channels – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and testing everything in a short period of time before focusing on the best performing channels.

We established that Facebook and Twitter were the most cost effective channels for this campaign and focused on Twitter to grow awareness and engagement, with Facebook becoming the core source of registrations. Content that worked best included images of speakers, were somewhat emotive, and spoke of the sessions on offer.

With our work increasing registrations from high quality target audiences by 200% for GPC, IAPO were keen to include us as a fundamental cog of their Asia Pacific Patients’ Congress (APPC) marketing in November/December 2020.

Putting into practice what we had learnt from the GPC campaign, and with more time to plan and develop both organic and paid for content, the APPC campaign exceeded expectations, with 163% more registrations than expected from social media, and increases in engagement and followers from target countries in the Asia Pacific region, plus greater engagement from speakers and key partners such as the World Health Organisation.

We applaud IAPO for all the wonderful work they’re doing to connect healthcare workers during this critical time and are thrilled to be a part of making that happen.

How we can help you

Do you want to generate sign-ups for your event? We’d love to help, so please do get in touch to explore how social media could fit into your marketing strategies.

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Whether you just want to say hey, need a little bit of advice or want to explore how we could help you succeed on social media please get in touch.

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