The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
It’s never been more crucial for young people to have a say in their future, yet many fall at the first hurdle: registering to vote before the deadline. Gifgoat.party is a website that disguises itself on Facebook as a cute goat gif. Unsuspecting people who try and play the gif are actually delivered an important political message: “If you’ve got time to watch a goat gif, you’ve got 2 minutes to register to vote.” It was a simple viral mechanic that not only acted as a powerful reminder to register, but encouraged young people to pass it on.
Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign?
Young people are often stigmatised in the media as apathetic to politics. But the real problem is there’s a lack of thoughtful communication. The whole time we were thinking, “Would this speak to me?” If the answer was ""yes,"" we knew we had done something right.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle was figuring out how to transform a dull yet important issue into an attention-grabbing message that people want to share. As three young people, we knew better than most; in an online world, what gets attention isn’t always what's most important. People love cute animals, tricking their friends, and posting for a good cause, so we used these behaviours to design our meme. What’s cute, funny, and rhymes with votes? Goats.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
We built the site after work, fueled by pizza and beer, so there were no surprises when our homemade analytics stopped working. We had no idea how many people had registered to vote from Gifgoat.party, so we emailed the UK Government Digital Service to see if they had any data. We ended up getting an excel sheet from the Cabinet Office outlining all the traffic from our site. We had directed 35,959 people to register and over a third of them did it then and there. Having an official governing body give us results like that was beyond what we’d ever dreamed of.
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
A lot of time and thought went into picking the perfect goats (seriously). We wanted to ensure there was enough of a "curiosity gap" in the image to pique people's interests—as a result, we had a high click-through rate, translating into more vote registrations and more shares.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
We never expected it to go as viral as it did. 4.5 million people saw our goats on Facebook alone—that’s huge for something with absolutely no media spend or PR. The Internet is incredible; if you have a smart idea and you execute it right you can reach a huge audience. No matter how silly the idea, go for it. If someone told us a website we built in an evening would end up on the BBC 6 o'clock news, we’d have laughed.
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