Online Metrics

Measuring climate change campaigns: What’s the relation between online and offline behaviour?

Monday, September 12th, 2011 | Global Cool | No Comments

At Global Cool we have rigorously measured our climate change campaigns and published the results in detail here.

We also measure our online campaigning activity in great detail, which provides a gold mine of data about how many people we can reach, where and how we can reach them and  - perhaps most interestingly for us as an organisation trying to persuade people to change their behaviour – how deeply they do or don’t engage with our ideas.

laptopBut, whilst all this online data is great in terms of helping us understand how best to communicate with our target audience, it doesn’t really tell us very much about how our audience behaves in ‘the real world’ once they have interacted with us online. (N.B. Our digital activity has focused on engaging and educating the public with specific actions, rather than building tools that might, for example, measure an individual’s carbon footprint, which we think would exclude the very audience we’re trying to reach.)

To some extent, the surveys and focus groups we do can tell us whether our campaigning is actually changing people’s behaviour, and we have seen some positive results, for example the number of people who said they would wear woolly jumpers at home rose from 12% to 18% following our Turn Up The Style, Turn Down The Heat campaign. Nevertheless, it is still useful to see other evidence that online engagement is an effective way of persuading people to change their behaviour.

Therefore we were pleased to liaise with Michele Mazza from Imperial College recently, who has done some excellent work into the relation between online and offline behaviour. Essentially what we wanted to know from Michele was: If someone likes us on Facebook, or retweets us on Twitter, or signs up for our newsletter, does this mean they will then go on to adopt the behaviours that we are promoting? Michele reported back as follows:

Assessing whether individuals online engagement with organisations influences offline behaviour has proven a very interesting but particularly challenging aspect to evaluate.

While in the case of private sector this issue is less problematic, since the sale of a product can be seen as a ‘primer’ to measure the effectiveness of an online campaign, for public and NGO’s organisation the task is trickier.

However recent studies by Cugelman (Cugelman et al. (2009), (2010)) involving meta-analytical techniques used to assess the impact of online interventions in influencing individual’s offline behaviours, depict a positive picture.

Cugelman first distinguishes between Macro-behaviours, described as primary behaviours targeted by an online intervention; and micro-behaviours describes as routine behaviours that people perform online, intended to lead to the macro-behaviour. For example, a micro-behaviour would describe when a person registered for a weight-loss intervention, while the macro-behaviour would be dieting.

He demonstrates how Microsuasion, i.e. small persuasive tactics used to encourage the performance of minor online tasks, such as signing up for a newsletter or clicking on a hyperlink (Fogg, 2003), are very effective in driving micro-behaviour change. More importantly he also founds correlation between micro and macro-behaviour change, since ” online behaviour outcomes can be seen as a process that includes a small number of online activities leading to significant impacts later on” Cugelman (2010).

This is particularly true when the number of online features in an intervention, i.e. the number of micro-behaviour to perform, is high. (Vandelanotte, et al., 2007). Add to this in another study (Cugelman et al., 2009) Cugelman suggests how the web site credibility, in terms of expertise, trustworthiness and visual appeal is also a key component in effectiveness of online behavioural change interventions.

Finally he also shows how online interventions can match and sometimes outperform interventions distributed over traditional media.

Of course these studies do not fully solve the problem of being able to isolate the effects of Global Cool online activity from the myriad of other influences on people’s ‘green’ behaviour. But they demonstrate how online micro-suasion can lead to micro-behaviour change and how many micro-behaviour changes can lead to macro-behaviour ones.

So they can be seen as a further justification of your approach, and are good selling points!

Many thanks to Michele for this useful research, which would seem to reinforce our approach to online climate change campaigning. We’d be interested to hear from other organisations on their views about the relationship between online and offline behaviour in the comments…

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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 globalcool.org
  • 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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Global Cool web activity: How we measure, why we measure and the results

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 | Global Cool | 1 Comment

Global Cool websiteThe performance Global Cool’s online activity has been showing some impressive growth in recent months.

Global Cool uses several online channels to communicate with our audience: the Global Cool website, our weekly email newsletter, social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter and You Tube) and the Global Cool Foundation website. As with all our work, we rigorously measure the performance of our online activity, both on a month by month and on a campaign by campaign basis.

Since relaunching our website last June (with the focus on it acting as a hub for all of the channes listed above) we have seen significant growth in our online reach across all channels. The number of unique users coming to globalcool.org and page impressions have trebled in the last eight months. We have also seen a trebling of our audience on Twitter too, with the launch of three new accounts: @Traincation, @BooksInPublic and @GlobalCoolFDN. Our total online reach across all channels was 72,357 in February 2011, up from 37,883 in July 2010.

Increasing our online reach was one of our major goals this time last year, but we recognise that it’s not just about hitting as many people as possible. It’s also extremely important to engage those people with our campaigns and key messages in order to achieve our overall goal – geting people to take up green behaviours in order to prevent climate change.

In addition to reach we also closely monitor a series of affinity measures (mainly different types of interaction across the various channels we use) in order to assess how receptive the public is to our campaign messaging. These include both positive and negative interaction, and we’re delighted that whilst 12% of our audience across all channels are demonstrating positive sentiment towards our campaigns, less than 1% are showing negative sentiment.

You can read more about the impact of Global Cool’s campaigns here.

How are you measuring your online performance? We’d love to hear about what you’ve learnt…

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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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