Behaviour Change

How we measure web activity and define online success

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 | Global Cool | No Comments

internetOur most recent web statistics have shown yet more impressive growth since our last update. Highlights from May’s results included:

  • Most ever number of monthly unique users on
  • Most ever monthly page views
  • Highest number of repeat visitors
  • Highest percentage of people opening our newsletter
  • Most number of interactions on the website, Facebook and Twitter

Global Cool’s online activity has three main channels: the Global Cool website, our weekly newsletter and social media activity (mainly on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, but also increasingly on Flickr and Four Square). In each of these channels we measure the reach of our activity and also the depth of affinity and engagement with our message.

As a campaigning organisation seeking to change the general public’s behaviour by making green lifestyles more attractive, clearly it’s important for us to communicate with as many people as possible, as frequently as possible. However, we also recognise the importance of monitoring how people respond to our messages.

Reach is relatively straightforward to measure: how many people visited the website, how many people opened the newsletter, how many followers do we have on Twitter etc etc. Affinity and engagement measures are more complicated and nuanced. Deciding what type user behaviour demonstrates affinity with your message and what demonstrates engagement is not an exact science. Some examples of affinity we measure include repeat visitors to the website, searches for our brand name, opens of our newsletter etc. Examples of engagement include commenting on a blog post, entering a competition or a retweet on Twitter.

It’s also worth noting that affinity and engagement measures will not always be positive. Some comments, tweets, Facebook messages will be from people telling you you’re doing it wrong, or that they hate you. Some people might view several pages on your website because they are so outraged by how dumb they think your article was that they want to make sure the rest of your content is just as disagreeable to their particular sensibilities.

In terms of the former, we do take a measure of how much negative feedback we get and it regularly comes at less than 0.5% of our total audience. The highest it’s ever been in a single month is 1%. For the latter it’s difficult to ever know what motivates someone to look at two, three, four pages on your site. However, given the tiny amount of negative engagement we get, we are willing to take a leap of faith and assume the vast majority of affinity-like behaviour we see is also motivated by positive rather than negative sentiment.

All in all, Global Cool is now reaching in excess of 70,000 people per month across all three of our main web channels. Of those people, around 22% are demonstrating affinity with our message and 11% are engaging with us.

We are keen to know how you measure your online activity and how you define your success indicators, particularly if, like Global Cool you are seeking to encourage behaviour change or promote green living. Feel free to leave us a comment below…

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How to encourage green behaviour

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 | Our Philosophy | No Comments

There was an interesting and thought-provoking piece in Green Futures last week about changing people’s behaviour in order to prevent climate change, rather than simply raising awareness – as we’ve said many times before, climate change does not have an awareness problem, it has a marketing problem.

The piece describes behaviour change as “the holy grail” of sustainability. We would wholeheartedly agree with that, which is why Global Cool focuses its campaigns on getting people to make green lifestyle choices based on things that motivate them – mainly celebrity, sex, looking and feeling great.

Global Cool’s Executive Director, Caroline Fiennes, is quoted in the piece. You can read it in full here.

Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to know why so let us know in the comments box below…

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A lesson from Tom Cruise on promoting green via the power of film

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | Global Cool | No Comments

tom cruiseThe Global Cool Foundation are now working with the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) to encourage the placement of green behaviours in films. Placing these behaviours in films is an attractive prospect for Global Cool as it normalises the actions (or products) for the viewer.

Getting people to change their behaviour to reduce carbon emissions is the aim, not getting them to be interested in climate change.

An example of this sort of placement is the use of BMW’s chic new i8 plug-in hybrid in the new Mission Impossible film. Tom Cruise will use the electric hybrid car in the new film, The Ghost Protocol.

Behaviour placement is particularly effective in action films like the Mission Impossible series as cars are an important part of the film and, so it’s very positive that this film will be promoting an eco-friendly vehicle.

Using an inflential, sexy actor like Tom Cruise also promotes the use of green products and behaviours as “normal”.

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New Global Cool white paper focuses on how to solve climate change’s marketing problem

Monday, March 14th, 2011 | Our Philosophy | 1 Comment

global cool swishingSelling Green Lifestyles: Results From Two Years’ Innovation – a white paper by Global Cool

Climate change does not have an awareness problem, it has a marketing problem.

For two years Global Cool has been promoting green lifestyles using a highly differentiated approach, focusing not on the problem (rising temperatures, melting ice caps etc), but on the interests of people we’re trying to influence (fun, socialising, being cool etc). After all, the climate doesn’t care why people adopt behaviours that are more green, all that matters is that they do and that we find a solution to climate change.

This week we’re releasing a white paper on Selling Green Lifestyles. It discusses our learnings and results from the past two years of campaigning to reach Outer Directed people. We’re sharing this with our peers and partners so that others may benefit from the insights that underpin our approach and the results that this has generated for us. You can also find a full report on our campaign results here.

In a nutshell, we believe that if we’re going to successfully move sustainable living out of the niche and into the mainstream, it’s necessary to focus like a hawk on the benefits to your audience, and not the climate problem. Some people have used this approach and got it right, and the paper highlights a few examples of campaigns we like. However for the majority, there’s still a long way to go to make green a desirable mainstream proposition.

We’d love to know what you think of the paper, and also hear some of your thoughts on selling green lifestyles, so please leave comments on this post or get in touch with us directly.

To view the full white paper please click here.

A big thank you to Emily Rycroft and Chloe Swart for researching and producing this paper.

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Everyone just wants to have fun

Monday, December 6th, 2010 | Our Philosophy | 1 Comment

Helter-Skelter donation box

Anybody trying to influence behaviour does well to remember that most people are trying to have a nice life and to have fun.
Global Cool – which promotes low-carbon behaviours by making them attractive and easy – keeps coming across examples where fun is much more important than rational thought. Motorists speeding towards speed camera are much more influenced by an unsmiley face than by the threat of points on their licence or a fine. Children totally uninterested in charitable giving often love pushing coins into helter-skelters.

The ‘fun theory’ got people to take the stairs by turning them into a piano for a day. The behaviour stuck, even once the keyboard had gone.

Environmentalists seeking to influence behaviour often err in assuming that people are rational – that they will fear negative consequences and want to save money.

Professor Tim Jackson of the University of Surrey RESOLVE programme thinks that not only is this simply wrong, but that it “denies people their humanity”. Insulating your doors and windows might save £50 and not cost much money, so an economically rational person would do it. But hardly anyone does, because it takes time. People – with jobs, children, the gas bill to pay, lawn to mow, washing to do, insurance to renew – will spend a precious spare hour in ‘quality time’ – with their partner, with their children, watching the cricket. To expect that they’ll trade it in for £50 off their energy bill is to diminish the people and joys in their life.

Yet we need to influence them. A good place to start is remembering that people want fun – and only (normally) respond to threats if they’re very specific.

Find out more about how Global Cool uses fun to promote green behaviours here


We run Global Cool, the only online magazine in the UK truly inspiring the mainstream to live greener

We create content about music, fashion, celebrity and lifestyle trends. We use this content to inspire people normally turned off by climate change to lead greener lives. We reached more than 200,000 people in 2011 and we don't preach to the converted. In fact, 93% of our audience say we are the only green organisation they engage with.

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