We have held an open services contract with Multnomah County since 2021 and, in 2022, we were selected to execute two digital media campaigns for the Clean Rivers Coalition (CRC). CRC is a group of 60+ water districts and nonprofits in the Columbia River Watershed, for whom Multnomah County is the fiscal partner.
Both campaigns, funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency, are generally meant to encourage people to connect with their local waterways and understand how their personal behaviors impact their watershed.
A Grassroots Effort to Improve the Health of Our Waterways
The What’s Your Lawn Style? campaign is targeted at people most likely to use fertilizers and pesticides on their lawns, as determined by CRC research. Our goal is to teach these groups about no-chemical and low-chemical lawn care practices in order to reduce the amount of these chemicals being used in Oregon yards and, subsequently, showing up as runoff in our streams and rivers.
The primary driver of this campaign is a series of short, accessible videos highlighting various easy-on-the-environment lawn practices. Our role has been to deliver these videos to our target audience via a number of digital channels including Google Ads and social media as well as some analog outlets.
Weighing In on the Video Production Front
Parachute Strategies came aboard this project just before the videos were filmed. We collaborated with our client and the videography team to make sure the series would lend itself to circulation via digital advertising.
For instance, we prompted the production of six- and 20-second ad spots in addition to 30-60 second ads. These shorter spots were necessary for a successful campaign on YouTube, where ad formats dictate how long “bumper” and skippable ads can be.
Building Landing Pages: Fertile Ground for Leads to Take Root
Before posting about and advertising the videos, we thought it important to establish landing pages for our audience members. These are web pages where users “land” after clicking on our content. Not only would landing pages provide our audience with deeper information about river-friendly lawn care, but they could also provide us with valuable campaign performance data.
We built such landing pages on the CRC’s website, FollowtheWater.info. We also provided content and original graphics to partners at the Oregon State University Extension Service’s Master Gardener Program to build out English and Spanish language landing pages on their website, a trusted resource for gardeners in our state.
Google Ads that Rake In the Views
We built and maintain a multifaceted Google Ads campaign that includes search, performance max, display, and video ads that target our core audiences. By capturing viewers on Google, YouTube, and through the Google Display Network, that builds awareness among audience members and supports their initial engagement and subsequent follow through. Each ad is linked to a landing page tailored to audiences’ interests and needs.
In less than a year, we reached over four million people and received for 40,000 clicks. We continue to manage this ongoing ad campaign and track the efficacy of ad groups, keywords, and other assets.
When we started working on this project, our client had established accounts on Facebook and Instagram, but had not yet posted. We added YouTube to the social media mix and developed an editorial calendar to define a posting cadence for this campaign. It includes original social media content and graphics generated by us. It also includes carefully curated content from the various members of the CRC.
We manage the audience and budget for each post and monitor each platform’s analytics for trends that could shape our tactics.
We have also provided members of the CRC with a kit of graphics, photos, etc. that they can use in their posts about watershed-friendly lawn care.
Offline Campaign Efforts
Outside of the online digital sphere, our work promoting the What’s Your Lawn Style? videos include:
- Big-screen ads at local, independent movie theaters.
- A foray into streaming-service (TV) advertising.
- A direct-to-consumer print campaign in which shelf talkers and pamphlets were circulated on our client’s behalf by local plant nurseries.
Campaign Results (So Far) and Upcoming Developments
At the outset of this project, the CRC had a goal of 12,000 views for these videos. Within six months of starting work, we helped them net more than four times this amount. After a year, the videos had received over 200,000 views and this number continues to grow.
In the spring of 2023, the CRC will launch a longitudinal study to gauge how the videos are affecting viewers’ lawn care practices.