5 things learnt from the Childline #UnderstandMe campaign

I’m Marnie, and work on Childline’s social media and campaigns. In this week’s Digital Dunk we’re sharing the top 5 learnings from our last Childline campaign.

Back in March, we launched the #UnderstandMe campaign to challenge discrimination, and help black and minority ethnic (BME) young people to speak out and get support.

1. You can never have too much data

There can be restrictions around what data you can gather from different sites and tools, especially if you’re on a budget. But data can be found in all sorts of places like:

  • service data
  • social channels, web pages from your brand and others
  • surveys, face to face chats and interviews.

And this information can tell you:

  • what users are searching and where
  • what they’re talking about & how they’re talking about it
  • how long they’re looking at content, where they’re coming from, and where next.

For us, young people were telling Childline that they’re bullied because of the colour of their skin, religious beliefs or their accent. Data told us that this was happening more frequently around events such as terrorist attacks and the Brexit vote.

Racist bullying was often lowering their self-esteem, and could make them unhappy with the way that they look. They may try to conform in order to fit in, with some even attempting to change their appearance using make up to make themselves look more ‘Western’.

We also looked at the trends around search using Google Trends (an easy, free tool to use) on terms on race and faith related crime, and noticed an increase in terms like “hate crime” and “stereotypes” over time. Then we layered on top of this term a comparison between different words used on our site and compared to others to help us lift our visibility on Google through an SEO platform BrightEdge. And a simple look at headlines could see how this is exacerbated in the news.

2. Things are changing, but brands aren’t speaking to BME young people

Our Brand Tracker showed that BME young people were less likely to contact Childline and had lower trust levels in the service compared to young white people. So one of our primary objectives was to change this. From the campaign, we saw a 22% increase in contacts following marketing activity (data ranging 05.02.18–18.03.18 compared with 19.03.18–29.04.18).

During the campaign, there were a number of brands starting to focus on racial and religious differences in a more positive way, with the release of Marvel’s Black Panther and the Nike ad “Nothing beats a Londoner”. However, it’s still going at a slow pace and this is definitely something we as brands need to focus our efforts on more.

We took the opportunity to reflect more young people’s experiences in our photography and language on the website:

3. Young people will tell you what you’re doing wrong

We tested the creative in concept stage and at the creative stage. There can often be reasons for and against testing, mostly around time, cost and access to your audience. However, getting audience feedback can add significant value.

We tested our last campaign which then helped us:

  • tweak the language to fit the age range appropriately
  • amend some of the scenarios in the film to match what young people were experiencing
  • challenge our thought process to get the balance right between showing a stereotype and challenging it — this meant everything from clothing, language, and emphasis in the film
  • choose the hashtag #UnderstandMe which was most popular.

4. Content is king, but collaboration is just as important

There were two really important parts of this campaign — creating content that showed that we understood the issues minority ethnic young people are facing, but also talking about it in the places they could trust.

We worked hard with our celebrity team, media team, Childline service, and of course young people themselves.

We also partnered with SBTV, so that we could let people who’d experienced discrimination first hand tell their stories.

And we asked influencers who are passionate about the issue, and who young people could relate to, to tell their story.

You can see from the word cloud below the impact SBTV and other influencers had on our marketing:

Word cloud displaying the reach of influencers in our campaign

5. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter

This might seem obvious, but attention spans are getting shorter for ad content and for users reading page content. Whilst young people will spend time watching long-form video, this is an important point to remember as platforms are optimising for shorter content too.

Our results showed that across all the adverts we put out, there were 960k video views, but an 11% view through rate. Facebook optimises towards 3 second views, and it’s only through planning of ad creation that you can counteract this, focussing on view-through rate as well as views.

So, there’s still more to learn. But it helps to take a second to think about what you’ve learnt already.

We’d love to hear what you think! What are your top tips for marketing to young people?