WWF achieves 43,325 petition signatures in under 3 weeks thanks to a highly reactive paid social campaign

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The world’s leading environmental charity WWF understood that the destruction of the natural environment led to theCOVID-19 pandemic outbreak - and is increasing the likelihood of similar pandemics happening in future - but the general public are largely unaware of this

In September 2020 they approached Tug to help them create, launch and run a social media campaign to raise awareness of the link between pandemics and ecocide.

WWF has millions of social media followers internationally, putting them in a unique position to educate and inform the public about environmental issues. Their goal was to reach as many people as possible and connect with them in an impactful way, driving them to sign a petition calling on global leaders to take action to prevent future pandemics.

WWF had a finite budget for the campaign and asked for Tug’s recommendation on how to spend most efficiently, with the goal of driving 13,600 petition signatures. Tug created assets for and ran a highly reactive paid social media campaign on Facebook, Instagram and IG Stories which featured a video ad with three ad copy variations. Overall the campaign achieved 43,325 petition signatures at a CPA of £0.39, 236,767 link clicks with a strong CTR of 1.29%.


WWF’s objectives for this campaign were to reach a broad audience and gather signatures on their petition to prevent pandemics.

WWF gave Tug these targets:

- Raise awareness of the link between ecocide and pandemics

- Achieve 8 million impressions

- Drive 13,600 petition signatures

- Achieve CTR of 0.71%

- Achieve CPA of £1.25.

Overall the campaign reached 18,332,412 people and had a huge impact, with 43,325 petition signatures in total. It achieved a CTR of 1.29%, and a CPA of £0.39, exceeding all of the objectives set by the client. The target was exceeded by nearly 30,000, putting WWF in a stronger position when campaigning to world leaders to protect nature and prevent future pandemics.

Strategy and Key tactics

The campaign ran from 10th September - 29th September – at a time when the public mood around the pandemic had begun to move on from the initial shock and fear of the disease to discussing the economic and social impacts.

The campaign aimed to educate people that COVID-19 came about as a result of humans exploiting nature, and unless we fundamentally change our relationship with the natural world, similar pandemics could happen again in the future. Hard-hitting imagery and copy were used with the intention of having a big emotional impact on viewers.

With insights from previous campaigns, Tug knew that video format would achieve the biggest impact for WWF. Tug created a short video tailored for social media showing the damaging effects humans are having on the natural world, accompanied by hard-hitting copy explaining the link between the destruction of nature and pandemics in simple terms suitable for an international audience.

Three different variations of post copy were used, working around Facebook’s Controversial Content restrictions, which were introduced during the pandemic to prevent the spread of misinformation by restricting mentions of COVID-19 and related keywords.

The post copy variation which included a question in the copy messaging had the biggest impact across locations, suggesting users are more likely to convert if there is a question that needs their support as an answer.

Results including metrics and insights

Campaign reach & engagement - impressions, shares, thru plays

Across both channels we achieved:

Over 18 million impressions

A total of 35,943 post shares

1,147,506 ThruPlays

Campaign impact

Overall the campaign achieved:

43,325 conversions – over 3 times the target of 13,600.

18% conversion rate. This is impressive when compared with previous campaigns.

CPA of £0.39 overall – much lower than the target of £1.25 and much lower than previous campaigns for WWF.

236,767 link clicks in total at a strong CTR of 1.29% - our target CTR was 0.71%. This highlights the connection users felt to this current issue and the importance of being reactive to newsworthy content.