Using Digital Marketing to Boost NGOs/ Non-profits' Visibility - A test case


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A test case on WWF-India's Facebook using picture stories to see how Digital Marketing can boost visibility of NGOs/ Non-profits. The number of people ‘liking’ WWF-India’s FB page rose by 3,718 numbers to 14,821 by the end of the study period. This is an increase of 25% in the percentage of absolute numbers.

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Using Digital Marketing to Boost NGOs/ Non-profits' Visibility - A test case

  1. 1. Using Digital Marketing to Boost Visibility of NGOs & Non-ProfitsA test case on WWF-India’s Facebook using picture stories Jan – Mar 2012 Ameen Ahmed Senior Communications Manager WWF-India, New Delhi Email:
  2. 2. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case ••• 1. THE OPPORTUNITIES 1.1 Internet in India The online world in its current state sees its future in social media. As the internet expands its presence in the hinterlands of India not only through the state owned BSNL but also through mobile internet technology, the audience variety and numbers engaging social media is set to grow exponentially. According to a study released in Sep 2011*: - ‘Active’ Internet users in India stand at 65 million (Up 28% from 2010). - 61 million ‘regular’ users (46 million urban, 16 million rural). - Internet reaches 29 million Indian households (avg. users per household up marginally at 2.23/ house). - Covers 11.3% of all Indian households and 5.4% of all Indians (13% urban, 2% rural). - Over 4 in 5 are ‘daily’ users. Daily users’ base grew faster, at 33%. - Access up from all places (avg. place of access up at 2.23 from 1.76). - ‘Home’ is the single largest place of access (58%), and the most preferred place of access (43%).Adding to these facts, a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) report^ in June 2011suggests India has 346.67 million active Mobile Internet Subscribers (GPRS/2G/3G/CDMA-Data).1.2 Social media in IndiaAccording to a report by Nielsen ~ released in mid-2011:- 30 million people in India who are online consumers are members of social networking sites- 20 million of them spend time daily on social networking sites- Surprisingly, Indians spend more time on social media than to check their personal email- By the end of 2011, it is estimated that 45,000 online Indians intend to join socialnetworking sites each day. 1
  3. 3. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••- A quarter of online Indians were able to recall brands using social media - Having a social media presence corresponds to ‘innovation’ ‘customer friendliness’ and asense of ‘cool’- Social Media in India is growing at 100 percent. By the end of 2012 it is likely to touch 45million.As the above data suggests, the scope for WWF-India to get a bigger share of the evergrowing social community is tremendous. If we can ride on this wave, the social media willgive us great leverage for our visibility in the online world and ultimately in the real world andmight help translate into funding opportunities as well. 2
  4. 4. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••2. THE CHALLENGESA comparison (on 24 May 2011) of WWF-India with another NGO working for environment inIndia suggests we need to pull up our socks: WWF-India YouTube: 29,448 views (59 Twitter: 4,202 Facebook: 9,730 likes subscribers) followers Greenpeace India YouTube: 1,64,717 views (534 Twitter: 4,658 Facebook: 34,647 likes subscribers) followersThe opportunities and the above comparison suggest there is scope for much improvementfor WWF-India in its social media outlook. WWF-India needs to graduate beyond having asingle strategy for both the traditional and digital media. There is a strong need for a specificstrategy for its engagement with the social media users. There needs to be an understandingof: 1) The different available audiences. 2) Their social media needs. 3) How WWF-India can answer those needs. 4) Once these needs are answered there has to be a mechanism to measure the audiences’ reaction to our provision of their ‘needs’. 5) Finally, WWF-India’s investment in Social Media and the results have to be documented to ensure there is proper ROI. This is critical if resources are to be invested on a bigger scale. 3
  5. 5. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••3. A TEST OF THE POTENTIALIn order to demonstrate the potential of WWF-India to expand its presence in the DigitalMedia world, a small test was conducted between 20 January and 10 Mar 2012 using WWF-India’s Facebook (FB) page. FB was chosen over other social media outlets like Twitter andYoutube as it has proven to be the most popular of all social mediums so far in India.3.1 The backgroundSince its joining the FB, WWF-India would post a link of all its web stories on its FB page. Thelink provided for the lead picture of the story to appear as a thumbnail in the post and thevisitors had to visit our website to read the story. Although such posts were good to tellpeople what was happening, they didn’t have enough ‘stuff’ in them to excite visitors to ‘like’the same, let alone commenting on them or share them with their own subscribers or ontheir pages. Also, the number of ‘likes’ the WWF-India’s FB page was getting by posting suchstories was not something to boast of.Thus was born the idea to conduct a small online experiment.3.2 MethodologyIt is said that a picture tells a hundred words but a good picture conveys an entire story.Hence, the idea was to post an exciting picture from an event with a small description of it tosee if that would improve the Key Metrics or KMs (likes, comments, shares of the individualposts and the overall likes of FB page).The following was decided: a) Between 23 Jan and 10 Mar 2012 (the test or project period), the Species and Landscapes team would source some ‘exciting’ wildlife images. b) At least 75% of the posts during this period would be such small picture stories. c) The small caption accompanying each image would suffice for any visitor to encourage her or him to positively impact that post’s and our FB page’s KMs. d) The images would be used to create short picture stories as and when sent to us from the field and there was no planned gap between such posts. e) There would be one person from the Species and Communications team who would respond or get the field staff to respond to any queries or criticisms within a short time. 4
  6. 6. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case ••• f) The aim was to achieve an overall increase of 25% in the number of likes of WWF- India’s FB page within eight weeks of the start of the test. The no: of likes were 11,103 as of 22 Jan 2012.3.3 ResultsThe following is the data obtained from the 12 posts (including 9 small picture stories) postedduring the study period.a) Table 1: Increase in no: of likes of FB page No: of Change in Absolute % Avg no: ofDate range days no: of likes no: increase increase increase/ day 9,730 to24 May 2011 to 22 Jan 2012 243 1,373 12 6 11,103 11,103 to23 Jan 2012 to 10 Mar 2012 47 3,718 25 79 14,821b) Table 2: Messages posted between 23 Jan and 10 Mar 2012 and the Key Metrics data photo otherMessage Posted like share comment view clicksRed Panda 3/1/12 397 186 40 4,879 511CEC member Biba Jasmine reportson a WWF-India project # 2/27/12 47 11 134This Earth Hour, lead the way foryour entire city 2/24/12 42 25 3 131Camera trap images from Kargil 2/22/12 120 36 13 1,323 2294 rhinos find a new home 2/21/12 94 23 13 1,153 343Clipping the wings of illegal birdtrade in India 2/15/12 86 41 7 356 261Alsatian dog Tracey helps recover32 kg of ivory in Jharkhand 2/8/12 51 15 16 760 266World Wetlands Day 2012celebrated at Asan Barrage 2/2/12 44 10 3 389 109Occupancy surveys and camera 2/2/12 29 11 2 64 5
  7. 7. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••trapping in parts Haldwani forestdivision#Four individual tigers roaming thewilderness - wild, free and fearless! 1/31/12 121 20 20 710 328A sight to behold amidstUttarakhand’s River Kosi# 1/23/12 33 7 2 86Tigers camera trapped in RamnagarForest Division (Uttarakhand) 1/23/12 83 18 20 823 257 # Non-picture posts c) The above results also correspond with the higher no: of hits that stories with good pictures and narrative content, which describe action in the field, receive on WWF-India’s website as compared to non-narrative, plain write-ups describing photo opportunities. d) There were 9 requests received by FB users during the above study period to volunteer for WWF-India’s work.3.4 Basic analysis a) The number of people ‘liking’ WWF-India’s FB page rose by 3,718 numbers to 14,821 by the end of the study period. This is an increase of 25% in the percentage of absolute numbers. A further analysis of the change between the two study periods of 2011 and 2012 shows the big difference in numbers and percentage of changes, clearly favouring the use of image stories with captions to gain on the KMs. b) Short picture stories received significantly higher likes than non-picture posts. c) Short picture stories have greater visibility beyond the initial users as they are shared more than the other type. d) No: of people spending time on WWF-India’s FB page was much higher than the non- picture posts as seen in the ‘photo view’ column of Table 2.3.5 Key learnings a. In the study period, the pictures stories with captions improved the KMs of WWF- India’s FB page. It is suggested that this method be used to expand overall visibility of WWF-India on FB. b. An educated guess can be made to calculate the ROI in social media marketing using the key metrics like the ones used in this test. 6
  8. 8. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••c. These results can help shape the overall social media marketing strategy of WWF- India, which needs to be developed separately.d. Similar tests can be conducted to see if they help in fund raising for the organization. May be a good picture with a small caption with a specific monetary ask should be tried.e. Similar approach can be tried with other social media platforms including Twitter, and Blogging.f. It should be experimented to see if short viral videos particularly on Youtube and Vimeo can raise the profile of the organisation. ------------------------------------------------------- 7
  9. 9. Using Digital Marketing to Boost WWF-India’s Visibility – A Test Case •••Note:Social Media, Digital Media and New Media are often used in place of one another as theydenote the same meaningReferences:* India Online Landscape2011, Juxt Consult (an online and new media research organisation which profiles ‘onlineIndians’ as internet users and consumers.)^ thank my colleagues Rohit Mishra and Anil Cherukupalli who helped me collate the requireddata. 8