Communications – especially one-on-one consultations – can change migration plans

A carefully designed experiment on communication channels shows that the choice of communication channel matters: An experiment done by Seefar demonstrates that communicating information about the risks of irregular migration through a one-on-one approach is more impactful than communication through videos and articles. 

Rapid changes in migration toward Europe have brought irregular migration onto the political agenda of the European Union and member states. Awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of irregular migration have been among the responses to increasing irregular migration to Europe. Criticism of these campaigns is widespread. Many say they do not work and that empirical evidence on the effectiveness of these campaigns remains insufficient.  

Seefar’s experience in conducting migration communication campaigns shows that awareness-raising campaigns can be powerful tools to provide migrants with the information they are looking for. However, we agree that existing evidence is often not sufficient. That’s why we conducted an experiment to add to the current evidence. Specifically, Seefar compared the most commonly used communication channels in today’s migration communications: Articles, videos and word-of-mouth communication.

The experiment showed that the communication channel matters: Findings demonstrate that communicating information about the risks of irregular migration through a one-on-one approach is more impactful than communication via videos and articles. Potential irregular migrants were more likely to show increased knowledge about irregular migration risks and realities and to have abandoned irregular migration plans if information had come via a one-on-one approach than reading an article or watching a video. The channel did not impact risk internalisation.

Seefar welcomes comments and feedback on its research. To provide feedback, please email us at info@seefar.org.

Contributing Authors:  Laura Manrique

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