drinksinitiatives.eu

Responsible drinking programmes
supported by European spirits producers

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• “The Drinkaware app”
COUNTRY United Kingdom
TIMING 2014 > Ongoing
THEME
Responsible drinking

CONTRIBUTOR

  • The Drinkaware Trust
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OBJECTIVE

  • To reduce long-term alcohol-related health harm amongst adults through a programme of interventions aimed at equipping specific segments of the UK population who drink over the Government guidelines, to moderate their alcohol intake.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE INITIATIVE

  • In August 2014, Drinkaware launched its free mobile app allowing users to track their drinking, calculate units and calories and set goals to cut down.
  • With over half (55%) of visits to the Drinkaware website now coming from mobile and tablet, the app is an important tool to support people across all digital platforms.
  • The practical and easy-to-use app from Drinkaware helps users understand the impact of their drinking, and supports them to change their habits for the better.
  • The app has:
    • an extensive listing of alcohol brands with information on units and calories in different serving sizes, making it easy for the user to correctly record their alcohol consumption.
    • regular, personalised feedback on drinking patterns.
    • the ability to set goals and rewards when they are achieved.
    • a Pinpoint service that engages people at times and locations where they know they will need extra support to moderate their drinking.
    • visual aids to see how drinking has changed over time.
    • functionality to share progress with friends and family via social media.
  • The app was redesigned and revitalised for 2018.  Users can now:
    • learn more about the health benefits of cutting down.
    • track the cost of drinks and see exactly how much they have saved by cutting back.
    • get encouragement to stick to goals at the places they need it most.
    • It has also an updated design allowing clearer feedback on users’ drinking with a simplified, more modern interface.  Improved navigation making it easier to track drinks, set goals and access weak spots.  All app features are now available at a single touch of a button.  More drink brands were added to the database. 
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IMPACT

  • There were 54,000 downloads and 422,000 user sessions in the period August to December 2014. In 2015 itwas downloaded and used for 3 dayse tracking in Week 1 by 39,339.
  • The app has been: Featured in ‘Guardian App of the Week’, Awarded ‘five-stars’ as best FREE app review in Web User and was highlighted on BBC Radio 4’s “You & Yours: Do you drink too much?”, Telegraph, Digital Spy, BT.com and more.
  • The app has 1,617 reviews on the Google play store as of December 2017.  (5* 757, 4* 511, 3* 114, 2* 59, 1* 176).  It has between 100,000 and 500,000 installs. 
  • The iOS version has 703 Ratings on the apple store (as of December 2017).
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EVALUATION

  • An independent evaluation to explore users’ motivations, patterns of app usage and changes in self-reported drinking behaviours will be published in 2015.  Preliminary findings (2014) show that the Drinkaware app has potential to have a significant impact on drinking behaviours amongst groups whose drinking is putting their health at risk.
 
  • Who is using the app?
    • The app is used by people of all ages; there are more female than male users (56% vs. 43%) with most (54%) classified as “low risk”.  Based on self-reported drinking behaviour, however, 29% of app users were drinking at “increasing risk” levels, and 17% at “high risk” levels at the start of their app use.  In the general population, 19% of men and 14% of women are “increasing risk” drinkers, and 5% of men and 4% of women are “high risk” drinkers.
 
  • Motivations for using the Drinkaware app
    • Female app users most frequently cite losing weight as their motivation for downloading the Drinkaware app (28%), whilst men more often state they are “just curious” (26%).  For individuals classified as “low risk', being “just curious” is the most common reason cited for downloading the app (in 28% of cases), but weight loss is also cited by 24% of this group.  42% of individuals classified as “high risk” however, cite “reduce drinking” as their motivation for downloading the app.
 
  • Goal-setting. The Drinkaware app allows users to set one of three goals — a “no drink day”, “drink within guidelines” and “drink one drink less”.  
    • Users who set goals tend to be older than users who do not set goals, and most frequently, users set goals around the number of “no drink days”.
    • Women are twice as likely to try any of the goals available in the app and are two-thirds more likely than men to set a goal consistently over time.  
    • Gender differences in meeting goals was apparent only for “No Drink Day”, where men were approximately 20% more likely to be successful in achieving this goal than women.
 
  • Does the app have an impact on drinking behaviours? After using the app for 4 weeks:
    • Users who are motivated to be healthier, lose weight and reduce drinking report drinking on average 2-3 fewer units of alcohol per week than users who do not provide information or are “just curious”.
    • Users who use the “weak spot” feature (at least once) report drinking, on average, 7.5 fewer units per week of alcohol compared to users who do not use this feature.  
    • The use of goal setting (setting any goals or setting goals consistently) does not appear to be related to a reduction in drinking.
 
  • After using the app consistently over 12 weeks:
    • The average number of units of alcohol consumed and number of binge sessions per week decreases over time.
    • Whilst the number of “no drink” days initially increases after using the Drinkaware app for just one week, after 1 2 weeks, users appears to revert to previous drinking frequency or even report having fewer “no drink” days than previously.
    • These patterns are the same for both men and women.
    • User motivation to reduce drinking is associated with drinking less at follow-up (approximately 12 units fewer per week) compared to other motivations.
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