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Recent Ad Performance of Mental Health & Meditation Apps

November 16, 2021

When the world shut down in March 2020, millions of Americans were thrust into the world of the unknown. Between fear over the spreading virus, economic uncertainties, and attempting to manage work, school, and “normal” life from home, mental health ended up on the back burner for many. Yet, more than 20 months since the shutdown, over 47 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, including depression or anxiety disorder, according to Mental Health America (MHA.)

Amid safety concerns of in-person meetings, remote and virtual healthcare systems (including mental health apps) have become more prevalent in today’s digital age and a preferred support method for many.

Of these new apps, non-medical mental health apps such as Calm and HeadSpace have gained in popularity to help consumers relax and breathe a little easier in these challenging times. Using our industry-leading in-market measurement platform Phoenix Brand Effect, we took a look at some of the recent advertising from mental health apps to see which resonated most with consumers.

Calm is by far the most successful brand, with above-average Brand Linkage and Ad Memorability. In addition, their “Rain Storm” ad prominently features the brand logo and has a straightforward approach that consumers could easily relate to. The ad also benefitted from a boost in memorability by airing during more engaging programs. Plus, that 15-second ad was a much-needed friendly reminder for all of us to stop and take a few deep breaths.

Cerebral’s “Cerebral Members Share Their Stories” ad focused on real users talking about their experiences using the app. Unfortunately, their ad fell way below the norm for Brand Linkage due to an overall lack of brand cues. Cerebral needed to have more prominent branding and a more robust ad, in general, to compete with Calm, which currently dominates in the mental health category.

Headspace also suffered from challenges with both Ad Memorability and Brand Linkage with their “Awake” ad. The spot lacked a linear, engaging storyline with characters and did not feature prominent enough brand cues to drive Brand Linkage.

Interested to see how these campaigns performed on a brand level or for insights into the “whys” behind the performance of these ads?  Drop us a line!



Phoenix Brand Effect is the gold standard for in-market performance and can provide real-world, real-time, in-flight ad measurement to help you establish a baseline for future campaigns. Looking to bridge the gap between pre-market creative development and in-market tracking? Our newly-developed AdPi-Brand Effect Platform offers clients a seamless solution to maximize ad performance using creative diagnostics (AdPi®) to generate forward-looking estimates to understand your creative’s full in-market performance potential (Brand Effect).

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