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Reduce Your Digital Activism Ignorance Ratio with KNIME

By Wayan Vota on April 5, 2017

A few year ago, we ran a campaign targeting the Guatemalan Government, which generated a good deal of global public support (100,000 signatures, online activism, etc.). This, combined with other advocacy strategies, finally pushed change to happen.

Yet when we did an evaluation in order to learn from such a success, we found a key area where there was little to learn because we were unable to get and analyze the information.

We didn’t know the source of more than 80% of our signatures – our ignorance ratio.

We didn’t know which online channels drove traffic to the online petition, and which had the best conversion rates. With a high ignorance ratio, we couldn’t establish recommendations for future campaigns.

First Step: Create Analytics

Building on the philosophy underneath Vanity Metrics, we started developing a system to evaluate public engagement as part of advocacy campaigns and spike actions. We wanted to improve our knowledge on what works and what doesn’t on mobilizing citizens to take action (mostly signing petitions or other online action), and which were the most effective channels in terms of generating traffic and converting petitions.

So we started implementing a relatively simple Google Analytics Tracking system that helped us determine the source of the visit/signatures, establish conversion rates, etc. The only caveat was that it was time consuming — the extraction of the information and its analysis was mostly manual.

Later on, we were asked to implement the methodology on a complex campaign that had 3 landing/petition pages, 3 exit pages, and all this in two different languages. Our preliminary analysis was that it would take us up to 8-10 hours of work, with high risk of mistakes as it needed cross analysis of up to 12 pages, and required distinguishing among more than 15 different sources for each page.

Next Step: Mine Your Data

Then we met KNIME, an Information Miner tool that helped us to extract different sets of data from Google analytics (through plugins), create the data flow in a visual way and automatically execute part of the analysis.

So far, we have automated the capture and analysis of statistics of web traffic (Google Analytics), the community of users on Twitter and the relevance of posts in that social network. We’ve been able to minimize the risk of errors, focus on the definition of new indicators and visualizations and provide reports to draw conclusions and design new communication strategies (based on data) in a very short period of time.

KNIME helped us to scale up our evaluation system, making it suitable for very complex campaigns, with a significant reduction of time dedication and also lowering the risk of mistakes. And most important of all, introducing KNIME into our system has dropped down our ignorance ratio significantly.

The Results

Nowadays we can identify the source of more than 95% of the signatures. This means that we can shed light on how different strategies are working, which channels are bringing more visits to the different landing pages, and which have the higher conversion rate. All this is relevant information to inform decisions and adapt strategies and improve the outputs of a campaign.

By Rodrigo Barahona, Oxfam Intermon, and Enrique Rodriguez, Consultant, and originally published on MERL Tech as Dropping down your ignorance ratio: Campaigns meet KNIME

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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