The Impact of Social Media Presence in Our Advocacy Efforts

Faunalytics’s recent research examining the impact of The Save Movement’s social media presence gives us insight into the value of social media for advocacy.

One of the key findings from this research was that The Save Movement has been able to successfully foster awareness on social media about the individuality and plight of animals raised for food.

Pig SAVElogo

Photograph courtesy of The SAVE Movement

Positive aspects of The Save Movement’s social media presence include:

  • The peaceful, non-violent approach to their online outreach
  • The welcoming attitude when engaging with followers online

The biggest barrier that online followers stated for not finding out more or getting involved was the fear that it would be too emotionally upsetting, which is characteristic of some of The Save Movement’s social media content.

The report on this research also provides a comparison of how vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores receive this movement’s social media messages. This helped to identify differences among the groups of recipients and offer suggestions about how message content can be modified to more effectively engage omnivores.

Although this research examines the influence of only one organization’s impact using social media and the response of just a small proportion of its social media following, it provides interesting insight into the effectiveness of social media in our outreach efforts.

To deepen our understanding of the value of social media as an outreach tool, further studies on a variety of organizations’ and individuals’ outreach efforts should be carried out.

We need to measure our levels and types of engagement frequently and consider the outcomes of our efforts whenever possible if we are to change the world for animals.

Read the full report on this latest research.

Additional research related to this topic is available on Faunalytics’s website. The article on Facebook as an outreach tool is particularly interesting.

VegFund’s Research at NEVF – What Did We Find?

On April 26th at the New England VegFest, VegFund undertook research to gain insight into how effective our programs are in encouraging people to make positive changes to their dietary behaviors.

The focus of the research was a VegFund-sponsored screening of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, with the goal of understanding the effectiveness of documentaries in our advocacy efforts.

Viewers took a survey before and after the screening about their dietary habits and how the documentary made them feel. Information on their dietary habits was gathered again one month later. Both self-identification and Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ) were used.

111 people completed the intake survey but only 34 people completed the follow-up survey. 72% of the viewers who completed the survey were female, and 28% were male. The average age was 34 years old.

The data were analyzed, and here’s what we found…

Prior Veg Status

Participants were asked to self-identify their dietary habits prior to the documentary screening. As with many similar events, there was a strong element of preaching to the choir. For example, 42% identified themselves as vegan, but according to the FFQ, only 37% actually were vegan. Likewise, 31% identified themselves as vegetarian, but only 23% actually were vegetarian. For this reason we used the FFQ answers and not self-identification for the remainder of the analysis.

Behavior Change

The data that were gathered show that 37% of viewers were vegan before the event and 62% after; 23% were vegetarian before the event and 9% after; and 38% were neither vegetarian nor vegan before the screening, 26% after.

While these results don’t account for those who didn’t complete the follow-up survey, for those who did, the data indicate that a total of five people went vegan during the one-month period — that’s 15% of follow-up respondents. Two of these were previously vegetarian, and three were previously non-vegetarian. Three people also reported going back to consuming animal products. Note that these results may have been influenced by other aspects of the event.

A more reliable measure of changes to consumption of specific animal products compares before-and-after survey results. These data show that only a small number of respondents changed their behavior, as described in the table below.

Table 1:

Red Meat Poultry Seafood Eggs Dairy
1 eliminated 1 eliminated 3 eliminated 2 eliminated 5 eliminated
1 reduced 1 reduced 1 reduced 2 reduced 1 reduced
2 increased 4 increased 1 increased


Intake Survey:

The following table shows how many people indicated that they were considering eliminating or reducing specific animal products after seeing the film.

Table 2:

Red Meat Poultry Seafood Eggs Dairy
14 eliminate 13 eliminate 19 eliminate 29 eliminate 36 eliminate
9 reduce 10 reduce 12 reduce 19 reduce 18 reduce

By comparing these data with the previous data, it’s clear that the actual outcome was that far fewer changed any aspect of their dietary behavior.

Follow-up Survey:

Although many participants have not followed through on their intended behavior changes, there is evidence that some people still intend to change.

The following table shows the number of participants who, one month later, still intended to eliminate or reduce a given animal product.

Table 3:

Red Meat Poultry Seafood Eggs Dairy
11 eliminate 10 eliminate 9 eliminate 6 eliminate 7 eliminate
1 reduce 1 reduce 4 reduce 7 reduce 8 reduce

[Please note that these figures are overstated. Some people said that they plan to reduce or eliminate an animal product despite previously saying that they were already vegan or vegetarian.]

One-fourth to one-third of follow-up survey respondents said they intend to eliminate red meat, poultry, and/or seafood. Moreover, one-fifth intend to eliminate dairy or eggs, and a further one-fifth of respondents intend to reduce their intake of these products.

92% of respondents also said they learned something new from the documentary screening and 45% of the initial respondents asked to be added to our e-newsletter mailing list. All steps in the right direction!

Overall, the sample size in this research was too small to confirm any trends and draw general conclusions, but the results do offer some insight into the potential of film screenings and provide data to build on.

In order to get a more accurate measure on just how effective film screenings really can be, we would need a much larger sample size.