Disseminating Cochrane evidence in German via Instagram: Concept, channel performance and audience characteristics of our Insta channel “cochrane_deutschland”

Date & Time
Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Communicating evidence including misinformation and research transparency
Brugger T1, Schindler B2, Melber G2, Rüschemeyer G2
1Institute for Evidence in Medicine (for Cochrane Germany), Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Germany
2Cochrane Germany, Freiburg, Germany

Background: In October 2022, we launched our Instagram channel, ‘cochrane_deutschland’. Following ‘cochraneorg’ and ‘cochrane_uk’ as role models, we developed our own strategy for disseminating Cochrane evidence in German on Instagram. The main challenge lies in navigating the conflicting priorities of scientific accuracy and accessibility on this popular and young social media channel.
Objectives: i) To evaluate the performance of our Instagram channel, ii) to analyze audience characteristics, iii) to develop a strategy to increase our audience reach and iv) to share our concept and experiences with others in Cochrane and encourage them to use Instagram for knowledge translation.
Methods: We captured data from Instagram ‘Insights’ on February 23 including follower count development in relation to Cochrane content posts (performance), demographic data of our audience and user’s preferred online daytime and activities.
Results: On our Instagram channel, we combine easier, short content like ‘memes’ with posts that present Cochrane evidence (‘Review of the week’) or knowledge about basic concepts of EbM (‘ABC of evidence’). After just a few months of publishing three to four posts per week, we have 1,051 Instagram followers (as of 23 February). The number of followers increased continuously, especially after popular posts. High-impact posts are diverse and difficult to predict, however. Most of our followers are aged between 15 and 24 years (35.3%), are based in large German cities such as Berlin, Freiburg im Breisgau or Hamburg and are gender balanced. Our users primarily interact with likes (98.0 %); only few provide comments (2.0 %). Activity peaks in the evening hours on weekend days.
Conclusions: Using Instagram as a dissemination channel has been a challenging but rewarding experience that offers access to a younger audience often missed by classical channels. The performance of our Instagram channel strongly depends on providing content regularly. Due to the still limited number of posts, we could not yet determine preferences for certain topics among our followers. In future, we want to adapt our dissemination work via Instagram even more to a young audience and encourage interaction with our followers.