A video created to launch Guide Dogs’ annual fundraising and awareness week has been viewed more than 1.7 million times in its first four days.
First Blind Dates was published onto the charity’s Facebook page at 10am on 4 September, since when it has been shared more than 1,500 times and liked 7,700 times. The charity said it had been the most successful video in terms of views it had ever run.
The video shows four guide dog owners meeting strangers for the first time to tell their real-life stories, revealing the challenges of living with sight-loss and the difference guide dogs have made to their lives. It launches Guide Dogs Week, which runs from 7 to 15 October and was created to inspire people to raise funds under the hashtag banner of #moveitformoney.
"It’s the most successful in terms of video views we’ve run," Liz Marshall, marketing communication manager at Guide Dogs, told Third Sector. "We wanted a video that made a real emotional connection, especially among those who are not yet Guide Dogs supporters.
"It feels like we are inspiring people and it’s doing its job really well. People are going on to the campaign’s landing page and our stats are saying that they are staying there for six minutes each. That’s phenomenal." She added that user engagement with the video had so far been high at 4 per cent.
Marshall said that although there had been a paid-for advertisement strategy for the video, which is also on YouTube, there had been success through organic promotion, helped primarily by Guide Dogs’ celebrity supporters and digital influencers who have encouraged sharing of the video. These have included Female First, wich interviewed one of the video’s participants, Pretty 52, and the marketing specialist site The Drum.
Marshall said the charity’s approach this year had been completely different from that of 2016, when #moveitformoney began.
"#Moveitformoney was launched last year, but our communications were more traditionally focused," she said. "We’ve found since that digital is the most successful way to reach a new audience. It gives us an opportunity to learn what works and engages people. We’ve promoted the video principally on Facebook: it’s our most successful social media channel and we get more engagement with supporters."
That doesn’t mean Guide Dogs is leaving traditional communications behind, as Marshall stressed.
"We will reflect on the campaign once we’ve done it," she said. "It’s really important we evaluate it well, take some learnings from it and feed those into new activities."