The Colorado Rocky Mountains (AP photo/Peter M. Fredin)

Formal marketing efforts and free publicity helped Connect for Health Colorado officials triple awareness of their exchange between April and December.

Awareness of the federal exchange enrollment website doubled during the same period.

Managers of the state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange paid for many different ads, including television, radio, newspaper and Facebook ads, and it also worked to get news organizations to cover the exchange.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, carriers, nonprofit groups and PPACA opponents ran their own exchange-related advertising and PR campaigns.

The exchange estimates that its campaign made about 23 million radio impressions, 180 million impressions and 816 million total impressions from May through December.

The exchange commissioned a phone survey of 761 people in April, before formal exchange marketing efforts began, and a second survey of 949 people in December.

In the core market — Denver — Colorado exchange name awareness increased to 65 percent in December, from 20 percent in April. The percentage of survey participants who could identify what the exchange did increased to 78 percent, from 38 percent.

Awareness of the name increased to 65 percent, from 27 percent, and awareness of, a private health insurance sales website, fell to 22 percent, from 26 percent.

But it wasn’t all good news. Some awareness indicators worsened.

The percentage who knew that the exchange was supposed to help the uninsured fell to 74 percent, from 80 percent, and the percentage who understood that small businesses could get exchange plans fell to 47 percent, from 67 percent.

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