WWF reflect on the digital highlights of this year’s Earth Hour.
Earth Hour 2020 truly harnessed the power of virtual – across social, web, and email. Unique, relevant content helped drive a sense of community, joy, and hope, even in these challenging times, and raised awareness about the importance of nature and how it is one of our greatest allies against climate change. Supporters participated from home, switching off their lights and pledging for a better, healthier future for our shared home on the digital petition platform Voice for the Planet.
A dynamic and adaptive platform strategy has always been at the heart of our digital efforts. The launch of the Earth Hour channel on TikTok, one of the fastest-growing social platforms globally, helped us reach new audiences and galvanise greater youth support for nature. Over 1.7 billion global social media impressions were achieved through TikTok, out of the global total of over 4.7 billion across social media channels and other platforms such as LinkedIn, Weibo, and Douyin. We also launched the Earth Hour Facebook shop with help from our partner, sustainable online t-shirt store Teemill. Tees featured slogans such as “nature matters” and “be kind to Earth” that supported the Earth Hour messaging.
To encourage participation in Earth Hour, we ran a user-generated contest on the day of Earth Hour with One Minute Briefs, which engages the creative community on Twitter to generate ideas for brands. Our call to design a poster to mark the hour received over 200 entries, and the community took it one step further by sharing their Earth Hour selfies and hosting a party in the dark using the platform Houseparty.
Breaking away from traditional content, we created countdown posts with a climate march theme and design, our take on popular memes, and inspirational quote cards featuring lines from Pope Francis, Greta Thunberg, Albert Einstein, and more. User-generated campaigns were also integrated into our content, including Instagram AR filters, Facebook frames, and TikTok dance challenges. Partners such as the United Nations, World Economic Forum, Fridays for Future, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy, and many more used and shared the content in support of Earth Hour.
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Our supporters worldwide were instrumental in helping us reach new communities such as parents, comic creators, and illustrators. Eco-influencers took this one step further by highlighting #EarthHour on their pages. And these efforts were complemented by endorsements from public figures and celebrities like UN Secretary- General António Guterres, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan, British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, Chinese actor Zhu Yilong,
Kenyan singing sensation Nikita Kering, Colombian model Claudia Bahamón, and many more.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 28, 2020
Our video ads were designed to help people better perceive the impacts of the loss of nature, with one showing nature missing from a photograph. Various “how to” and livestream sessions simplified each of the Voice for the Planet petition asks into individual everyday actions. As a result, we recorded over 20,000 pledges to support and demand urgent action to combat nature loss – double the number of pledges received in 2019.
With “#EarthHour” and related hashtags trending as a Twitter or Google search term in 37 countries on the night of Earth Hour, our Earth Hour global website complemented our social media efforts, and played an important role in reaching and engaging new and existing audiences. Earthhour.org was visited more than half a million times in the lead-up to and on the night of Earth Hour, and its revamped design and structure helped to ensure a more seamless, mobile-friendly user experience than ever before. At the core of the website was a broad range of participation options, empowering individuals anywhere in the world to take part in Earth Hour in a variety of ways – from educational videos on nature loss and ideas on celebrating Earth Hour from home, to guides for event organisers, free-touse marketing materials, an online petition tool, and a directory of online events in over 40 countries that users could tune in to on 28 March.
Overall, earthhour.org exemplified the DNA of Earth Hour – a people-led movement – and emphasised the power of collective impact through the amalgamation of even the smallest individual actions. Through various touchpoints on our website, we were also able to grow our mailing list by 9,700 subscribers, allowing us to continue engaging our supporters after Earth Hour with more personalised messaging.