Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. With thousands of dedicated volunteers and their pets, our Therapy Animal Program touches a variety of clients in the U.S. and abroad, including veterans with PTSD, seniors living with Alzheimer's, students with literacy challenges, patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities and those approaching end of life.As the leading organization for animal-assisted interventions, we have an obligation to speak up for those who don't have a voice. The Pet Partners advocacy program is one's vehicle to do just that. Advocates are asked to share their story and use their voice to help Pet Partners expand access to therapy pets, protect therapy pets from misguided laws, and gain a seat at the policymaking table. In August of 2017, we began promoting the Pet Partners advocacy campaign to our current Pet Partners therapy animal teams and supporters. We received a very positive response, organically growing support to over 600 advocates. Following that success, the client wanted to expand their reach outside of their already dedicated fan base. Together with Pet Partners, we determined a goal of increasing our therapy animal advocates by 50% by December of 2018. When new legislation was introduced in November of 2017, we knew it was more important than ever to find unique ways to promote the Pet Partners advocacy program, and fast so that we'd have enough advocates to call on to help push it through!
Pet Partners has an incredibly successful social media presence, a combination of therapy animal handlers and those who have been impacted by a therapy animal visit. We had seen the success of our past social media efforts and knew that social media advertising would be an incredibly cost-effective way to increase our repertoire of advocates Being such a niche campaign, we knew that blindly choosing targeting metrics would be unsuccessful. Luckily, we had a large enough pool of demographic information on current advocates that we could pull on to determine the best targeting metrics. Using the tools provided by Facebook, we imported a custom audience list and developed a look-alike audience based on the imported demographic information. Not only were our targeting metrics important but so was the creative for our ads. We used a mix of emotional and descriptive ad copy to test the response of each and paired that with different imagery to see which resulted in the most clicks.
In November of 2017, we launched our first Facebook advocacy campaign centered around the Pets and Wounded Service Members (P.A.W.S) Act. The PAWS Act would bring the healing powers of the human-animal bond to veterans who have been treated for post-traumatic disorder, but still struggle with everyday life. We ran four different ads and our targeting metrics were determined using a look-alike audience based on our original advocacy pool of more than 600 people. It's worth noting that we purposely placed these ads during social media's most heavily trafficked time period – Black Friday (November 21-28), and were confident that by using these tools, we would successfully reach our goal.
After the incredibly successful launch of our first advocacy social media campaign, we took advantage of this strategy once more in June of 2018 when the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act was introduced. Few shelters and other resources for families in distress accommodate animals, forcing women (and men) to stay in violent situations to protect their pets. Among other things, the P.A.W.S. Act provides funding to expand the availability of pet-friendly shelters and housing assistance for the companion animals of domestic violence victims.
Using social media advertising and Facebook's custom audience targeting, we set out again to grow our registry of advocates who would help us support pet-friendly legislation.
Our first campaign ran on a limited budget, we were provided just $300 to promote the campaign and needed to produce positive results in order to justify any additional spend for future campaigns. We ran four ads at $75 each for a total of 7 days. During the lifetime of the ad, we garnered 1,571 link clicks. Of those clicks, over 930 new advocates signed up to use their voice to help Pet Partners. That is a conversion rate of 59%!
Again, in June of 2018, we used a similar strategy to gain support for a second PAWS Act. This time, using the same budget, we generated over 3,300 link clicks with more than 1,600 people signing up for the Pet Partners advocacy program, a conversion rate of 48%.
In total, we paid just $0.23 per advocate between the months of November 2017 and June 2018 and more than quadrupled our original goal of a 50% increase in Pet Partners advocacy support. The incredible conversion rates of our ads outline two things. One, custom audience targeting is an incredibly useful tool for finding and retaining support for your business's initiatives. Two, if you hit the right people with the right messaging your social media efforts will be even more successful. We've far exceeded our goal of growing our library of advocates and are pleased with the results of our advertising efforts, especially with such a minimal spend. Together, we will make a difference for therapy animals nationwide.
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