WeAre8, the sustainable social media app, has launched its first Australian marketing campaign as the company plans to expand into New Zealand.
The social media app, which pays users to watch ads and donates 60% of its revenue to social and environmental causes, has launched its first consumer marketing activity and revealed local celebrity “change makers” who will add from content and influence to application. .
WeAre8 Australia CEO Lizzie Young told The Drum the campaign is targeting an audience she calls “champions of optimistic change” to attract up to 2 million Australians to the app.
“There are 2 million people in Sydney and Melbourne who are part of our identified segment of ‘optimistic change champions’. These are early adopters, university students and parents with young children. Our initial goal is to convert some of those 2 million people to the platform as quickly as possible.”
“It’s too early to talk about how we’re going against this, but the curve is going in the right direction every day,” Young says.
WeAre8, launching in Australia on August 8, following its UK launch in April, aims “to be good for the planet, hate-free, put money in your wallet and celebrate and stand up for the well in the world in just eight minutes a day.”
It’s the brainchild of Sue Fennessy, the Australian-born, London-based tech entrepreneur who founded Standard Media Index (SMI). The mission is to create a positive social media environment and revolutionize the $450 billion digital advertising market with an effective, efficient and transparent model.
Fennessy has enlisted Young, a media veteran who left her role as managing director of local markets and group marketing at Nine Entertainment Company, to head up the Australian operation.
A unique win-win model
WeAre8’s model pays users – or citizens as WeAre8 calls them – to see ads and answer a few questions about them for eight minutes a day. Citizens can use the money they earn from watching the ads to invest in charities or causes through the app or keep the money for themselves, ‘there’s no judgment,’ says Young.
The app partners with groups and organizations (it calls them impact partners) in eight different areas: climate equality, poverty, health, peace, water, education and development. animal wellbeing.
The ad model means brands only pay for a fully completed video view, so there’s zero waste and high engagement. WeAre8 Australia launched with nine brands already on board: Suncorp, SBS, Dove, Rexona, Omo, Virgin Australia Airlines, Nature’s Own, Coles and Telstra, and Young says more announcements are imminent.
“We ask brands to pass 6.5% of their social media spend to us, but it’s risk-free because we only charge them for a fully completed video view,” Young says.
“We’re asking brands to give us the opportunity to demonstrate what we can do in an environment that does the right thing for people and the planet. There’s no waste for brands either. from a financial perspective, because we only charge when the video view is fully completed. We can guarantee engagement and attention and that’s important for brands.”
“We had nine launch partners, who we spoke to about the fact that we were starting, not from scratch in Australia, because we had organic citizen growth on the platform, but definitely a very small audience. But their point of view was that they wanted to be there from the start and grow with us, and I think that’s because there’s no risk for a brand.
WeAre8 reports a 98% sign-up rate for the ad and a 100% view rate. In terms of ongoing engagement, WeAre8 has a 37% click-through rate. Young notes a case study for Nike UK, which received 180,000 free-text responses to the ad.
So what’s the problem ?
The biggest challenge for WeAre8 is scale. The success of the model relies on people working efficiently, and the more the better. Australia has the highest social media penetration in the world, with 82.7% of Australians using some form of social media at least once a day, so getting people to start using another platform could be s prove difficult.
“Absolutely the biggest challenge is citizen growth, converting people and getting them to add to their existing social media repertoire,” Young says. “There are 21 million Australians on social media platforms, and they spend an average of 90 minutes a day. Our view is that we want to be part of that repertoire, so you can go hang out in the metaverse or learn a dance on Tik Tok, you can tweet on Twitter, but you’re changing the real world on WeAre8.
“We try to take a small chunk of the time people spend on social media daily and ask them to dedicate it to WeAre8 because here they have the power to change the world. Just by coming to see us for eight minutes a day, the money automatically goes back to climate solutions and causes that matter to help solve some of the Australian community’s biggest social problems.”
WeAre8 is already a BCorp and currently donates 60% of its revenue to people and the planet. Its citizens are following its lead, with 54% donating their income to the app’s impact partners.
As the cost of living rises and people face increased pressure on their living expenses, Young is keen for WeAre8 to help. She wants to forge partnerships with supermarkets, telecom operators and utility companies to help WeAre8 citizens with the cost of living. The company already has an agreement with UK telco EE where people can use their WeAre8 wallet to pay their mobile phone bills.
Content is still king
Although scale is a significant barrier, WeAre8 also relies on good quality content to retain its citizens. To help fuel this, WeAre8 enlisted local celebrities and influencers to create content and help migrate their existing social media followers to the sustainable app.
Australian AFL legend, former Australian of the Year and Indigenous lawyer Adam Goodes, ARIA Award-winning singer-songwriter Adrian Eagle, author, climate adviser and founder of the global program I Quit Sugar Sarah Wilson, Maori artist Stan Walker and new Yellow Wiggles Tsehay Hawkins all logged into the app.
Young says these changemakers and their many followers are key factors in attracting the target audience. The marketing campaign will seek the rest through outdoor, audio and streaming radio, television, video on demand, online video, street posters on recycled paper and chalk from street in high traffic locations such as college campuses. Marketing does not include any paid social channels.
“It’s all about the content,” Young continues. “It’s one thing to bring people there, but we need them to come back every day. That’s what our model is based on. We want to be habitual but not a habit. We want people only stay eight minutes because we think it’s healthy, but we need it every day because that daily rhythm is their ability to make an impact.”
“That means you need to have a great content strategy, so we’re currently working with people from the creative community across photography, arts, culture, music and the full range of creative industries to put in place creative advice We also have a creative fund where we redirect 5% of our revenue to the creative economy, for promising creators who need a funded project or have an idea, we want to help them get it done for help create content that is engaging and interesting.”
Expansion strategy: Next stop NZ
Hot on the heels of the Australian launch, Young says she is looking across the divide to New Zealand as the next launch market.
“It’s early days, obviously, but we’re seeing positive signs of citizen growth, creators coming to the platform and brands. Our ambition is to launch in New Zealand as quickly as possible. Then we’ll go in America, Canada, then Southeast Asia early next year.”
WeAre8 has big ambitions. “On a global level, we will be very happy to reach the one million citizen mark, it will be a big hurdle to reach.”