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Cats Protection: Integrated National Re-Homing Campaign

Our national re-homing campaign has generated incredible results. We focused heavily on understanding people’s motivations behind adopting a cat and then created a customer-focused journey through to adoption. Campaign optimisation was a real driver behind its success – measurements and benchmarks were set at every stage and key learnings used to ensure our budget worked as hard as possible to generate the best results.

Nick Edmans

Director of Communications

The Start

Cats Protection (CP), the UK’s leading feline welfare charity was looking to increase the number of cats that it re-homed and was planning to trial a significant increase in advertising budget to see what impact this could have. Re-homing numbers were flat-lining year on year and the first and foremost aim was to increase numbers.

The brief was to do this by:

1. Driving significantly more traffic to CP’s new ‘Find-a-cat’ online search application providing visitors with a selection of cats tailored to their lifestyle and geographic location

2. Launching broad national coverage in order to achieve an uplift in homing across all CP regions.  By spreading the increase in advertising expenditure nationally – or at least across broad geographic regions – they sought to avoid overwhelming any part of CP, and instead aim to achieve a significant wide uplift in homing across the wider CP network.

The end goal was to reverse the declining trend in cat adoptions and increase enquiries – just 89 enquiries had come from previous years’ Google searches – with a target of over 40,000 cats to be re-homed (2,000 from this campaign).


The Middle

Detailed research into the charity and audience landscape identified that the key to success for this campaign was to tackle all the perceived barriers to choosing CP as a viable option – most cat owners do not set out to rescue a cat and it was essential to build CP’s brand within identified target audiences, tackling any negative perceptions of re-homing a rescue cat and making it as easy as possible to interact with CP in their search for a cat. In short, we needed an integrated, response driven campaign that used:

In depth, advanced audience analysis to inform laser focussed media targeting

A strong ‘brand response’ creative campaign

A closed loop, world-class online user journey and user experience

Using IPA Touchpoints 5 data, TGI and Telmar data analysis software, we grouped cat owners together into similar attitudinal and behavioural types. Using a selection of variables such as lifestyle statements, we have segmented the target audience into different groups, or personas, each of which has its own set of attitudes, behaviours, demographics, life-stages and media consumption. To highlight the differences and really bring to life the personas within each cluster/group we then cross tabulated this data against household composition, income, job sector, living accommodation and social demographics.

Using this insight for the pilot campaign, we targeted four geographic regions and focused on a distinct persona group – BC1C2 women aged 34-54. Within the digital sphere, we added those with a general interest in cats and created lookalike audiences which were subsequently rolled out nationally after 3 months. This ensured we could be specific in selecting media and tailoring messages to be most relevant, improving the effectiveness of the campaign by reducing wastage and delivering more cost efficiency.

Part of balancing activation and brand is investing appropriately in owned medias to provide the best possible user journey and experience. There is no organisation where this is more vital than CP. We used these principles and our strategic expertise to identify the optimum balance of brand and activation for the initial pilot and worked continuously to optimise the mix until the appropriate balance was found.

The End

Our insight and subsequent personas allowed us to create a compelling proposition that could be brought to life with positive, emotional advertising that reflected the needs of our target audience: Give A Home a Cat. From it came beautiful online, press, radio and TV ads that told the real story of rehoming a cat from CP. An insightful digital plan was implemented that covered native advertising; Facebook and Youtube promotion and newsfeed ads; RTB programmatic to lookalike audiences; digital display and paid search.

In order for our strategy to work as hard as possible, it needed the right media, creative and customer journey – smooth, natural, intuitive and insightful customer journeys that make the process a pleasure, not a chore.  We re-engineered the journey from advert to enquiry, channelling as much traffic as possible, even when it originated on the phone, into the find-a-cat search. This started with reorganising the cats.org website content and functionality; changing the processes and procedures of the telephone operators in the call centres taking re-homing enquiries; and even redirecting enquiries away from direct interaction with re-homing volunteers so prospects could be pre-vetted by an external call centre in order to save time and disappointment for prospects and volunteers.

This naturally lent itself to progressive data capture throughout the process that fuelled ongoing remarketing, CRM and direct marketing.

The Results

Since the campaign started, there have been a total of 40,840 adoption enquiries with over 50% of these directly attributable to the advertising campaign.

There was a massive increase – by 1,500% – in the volume of online searches for ‘find a cat’ (our campaign call to action) averaging around 590 per month against a benchmark of 480 – having peaked at over 2,000 when the TV element was live. Our TV ad was viewed online an impressive 3 million times. With a conversion rate of 30% from unique enquiry to adoption, 5,066 cats have been re-homed – 2 ½ times over our original target.

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