Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Elusive viralness (Pam)

It's been two weeks since our launch. We don't have enough names in our sky at

Conversion rates are holding strong. Not getting enough traffic.

We're in market with TV (doing okay, not great, but okay, with our PSA pick-up), radio (doing very well with PSAs), transit in Toronto, magazine (full-page in Macleans election issue and a bunch of insertions in Dose, Today's Parent, etc.), some on-line ads.........all not driving to web in numbers that we need.

As we have experienced with our past campaigns this year, we're getting a lot of feedback from our donors and Canadians from all over. Almost all positive. People are seeing it and understanding it. It's building awareness, but it's not making people go to that web site.

So we have to look to the success of our Do Not Drill campaign (which just won at New York Festivals, ahem), where tens of thousands from all over the world went to the web site and signed a petition.

What made the difference for that campaign?

Well, there was a lot of coverage in the press about the U.S. legislators' vote on drilling in Alaska. In that coverage, our campaign was almost never mentioned, though. There's lots of press coverage right now about climate change, but it's not making a difference to our site visits. So press coverage doesn't seem to be the issue.

Offline media support for Do Not Drill was less than we've got for this campaign. So that's not a factor.

Creative. Well, the creative approach was very different. The Do Not Drill campaign was about the issue. The climate change campaign is about how WWF works to solve the issue. Very, very different. It was absolutely necessary to take a different approach this time for branding purposes. Canadians do not have any idea that we are active on climate change. We had to tell them that and tell them how we do it. Canadians already know about what climate change can do to the planet. We couldn't rationalize investing resources telling Canadians what they already know about climate change over telling them something about WWF and why they should donate to us.

It's an interesting question though. Would Canadians donate to us in greater numbers if we just scared the hell out of them? Or are they more rational and need a reason to donate to WWF specifically?

Or are we simply expecting this creative to do something it can never do -- drive traffic to the web?

We've always known that absolutely none of our offline creative units are built for direct response. We've always known that for to succeed, it must have viral qualities. People have to tell their friends about it.

THAT'S what happened with the Do Not Drill campaign. It became viral. It did it on its own. This viral phenomenon is terribly disturbing to me because I can't control it. I don't know, for sure, why it happens, so I can't make it happen.

(Anyone who says they have the answer to this viral stuff is an artiste de merde boeuf, pardon my French. I've seen all those books out there about buzz, viral, experiential marketing. I admire these authors for their tremendous skill in packaging common marketing sense and making it look like it's something new. Props to them.)

Viralness (my new contribution to the industry's lexicon), as it is commonly defined, can only happen on the Internet, so the Internet it is.

Have set up a meeting of a SWAT team of Internet industry gurus who are going to help us get more names in the sky at our web site.

Will tell you what comes of it.


Anonymous Eric said...

Call us if you want some advices. Really.


11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as it isn't about grammar, right? LOL

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