By: Nicole Darracq, CA DCSS
The California Department of Child Support Services (CA DCSS) Office of Communications and Public Affairs (OCPA) incorporated strategies to track customer engagement and media awareness during this year’s Child Support Awareness Month (CSAM) campaign. Using the analytic platforms provided by Google, the CA DCSS call center and the views, likes, and followers through the CA DCSS social media sites, overall engagement with content was compared against last year and other months in 2018.
On the social media sites, consistent posting throughout the month of August – posters, daily sharing of local child support agency events, and re-tweets – produced an overall increase in engagement. Twitter impressions – the number of times a tweet is seen – doubled from July to August to 22,000, averaging almost 1,000 people a day. Facebook impressions increased over 92 percent in August over July, and “reach” (the number of unique individuals seeing a post) doubled from 58,000 viewers to over 125,500. On Facebook, people “following” CA DCSS increased, reaching 718.
The new CA DCSS Video Resource Library – where parents can watch 30-second videos answering the top ten most frequently asked questions about child support – also drove customer engagement. Sharing of CA DCSS YouTube videos increased by 96% and channel subscribers increased by 39% during the month of August. When the Video Resource Library – which also includes a suite of 30-second “Quick Tip” videos – was released in March 2018 viewership jumped, hitting 1000 that month (views only topped 500 twice in all of 2017). In August 2018 there were over 2,500 views, up 500% over last year.
A cooperative effort between the Bay Area Regional Child Support Collective (BARCS) and OCPA, in which state-created ad content got major media market placement paid for by county marketing budgets, also struck ratings gold. The BARCS campaign, distributed with Cumulus Media and funded by Santa Clara County, broadcast the CA DCSS radio public service announcement on four major radio stations, displayed three ad formats on station websites, placed a print ad in the pre-season guide for the 49ers football team, and had popular DJs discussing Child Support Awareness Month during station breaks.
The best performing channel was – not surprisingly – mobile views of ads placed on station websites. 26,607 viewers saw the ads on a computer, but 128,323 people saw ads delivered to cell phones and tablets. Ads were delivered based on viewer keyword searches – “single parent”, “absent dad” “financial support” and “divorce” were some of the words that prompted a Child Support Services ad. Computer web page ads at the top of the right side of the page received the most click-throughs (.27%), performing better than banners across the top or all down one side. Mobile ads stimulated .26% click-throughs – people who stopped what they were doing to click on the ad and visit the CA DCSS site. Click-through rates above 0.2% are very good for digital campaigns that don’t offer a specific incentive.
But does all this produce ACTION? We can already see an effect on phone inquiries and case openings. In just San Francisco County, case openings last month increased by 20% over August 2017 and calls to San Francisco County DCSS went up 2.5% over July 2017. CA DCSS YouTube channel views also spiked on August 7th, August 15th, and August 23rd, when DJ endorsements from the radio stations were broadcast. The OCPA team will continue collecting metrics, as these indicators are invaluable to inform future campaign planning and budgeting.