Social media

WWF creates #EndangeredEmojis

The WWF turns to emojis to connect with audiences

In May 2015, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) used emoji as part of a new campaign to raise awareness of endangered species.

The ongoing campaign, #EndangeredEmojis, drew on 17 pre-existing emojis – each one representing an endangered animal such as the Asian elephant or giant panda – and asked users to sign up and retweet to use emoji to ‘save real animals from extinction’.

WWF tracked the emoji usage of Twitter users who signed up and invited them to donate 10p for every endangered emoji they used. However, its primary focus was not on fundraising but rather on finding new followers and increasing long-term engagement.

‘It was more of a brand awareness campaign for us,’ says Sid Das, head of digital at WWF International. ‘In terms of reach and engagement, we had 1.1 million mentions over the last year since we started and more than 450,000 retweets. Most people engaged and followed WWF more. We saw high long-term engagement.’

Although there are plans to roll out the campaign onto other platforms, for now Endangered Emojis exist only on Twitter, where hashtags and emoji are most prevalent. Emoji was chosen due to its ability to transcend language boundaries. With WWF, what we aim to do is try to speak to audiences in new and different ways across the world. Emoji is probably the only global language right now,’ states Das.

‘The conversation about conservation needs to happen across the world. There’s no social media channel where people don’t use emojis.  There’s no smartphone in the world that doesn’t have emojis. It’s ubiquitous.’

‘As with everything we do, we want everyone to be part of the conversation. Using emojis helped with that. From a communications perspective, it’s an example of how NGOs can use new media. It’s about being aware of how people are communicating and jumping on the bandwagon at the right time.’