Posted on July 19, 2013
In January of 2013, The Humane League ran a series of online advertisements to see which farm animal cruelty video was more effective at inspiring young women to want to change their diet: What Came Before or Farm To Fridge. A total of 83,000 viewers were tracked. A smaller-scale comparison, reaching 19,000 viewers, included two additional farm animal cruelty videos in the comparison: 10 Billion Lives and Meet Your Meat. All viewers were English-speaking and resided in westernized English-speaking countries, primarily the United States but also Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
The comparison was carried out by running a series of identical Facebook advertisements to identical audiences. When clicked, the ads brought visitors to websites that were identical other than the fact that they featured just one of these four videos. The Facebook ads targeted only women age 13-25. A smaller set of blog ads targeted an audience that skewed younger and female, but that included men and older individuals as well.
The study did not track actual diet change. Rather, it tracked what percentage of people who saw the video were inspired enough by it to click to order a vegetarian starter guide. As a result, the results don’t indicate that one video definitely created more diet change (and spared more animals) than another video. However, until research of that caliber is carried out, the results of this study are probably the best indication we have of which video is most effective among young women. It suggests which video is most likely to make young women try to move toward vegetarian eating.
What Came Before outperformed the other farm animal cruelty videos by a large margin. Young women who viewed What Came Before were 70% more likely to click to order a vegetarian starter guide than those who saw Farm To Fridge. Among the m0re general audience (which still skewed younger and female), those who viewed What Came Before were 27% more likely to click to order a vegetarian starter guide than those who saw Farm To Fridge. This lower number suggests that men or older individuals might be influenced equally by either video, or that they might be more influenced by Farm To Fridge.
In the smaller-scale comparison of all four videos, young women who viewed What Came Before were 60% more likely to click to order a vegetarian starter guide than those who viewed the second most effective video (among this small audience), 10 Billion Lives.
Of note, among young women, the What Came Before video performed better than the other video in every one of the six ads used. This suggests that What Came Before is more effective among young women in general, and not just certain subgroups of young women.
Implications For Vegan Advocates
Unless future research shows otherwise, the What Came Before video is likely more effective than the other three videos tested at inspiring young women to try to move toward vegetarian eating. Vegan advocacy organizations targeting young women in English-speaking countries should use the What Came Before video rather than one of the other three videos tested.
Humane League Labs will soon be doing more in-depth testing to determine how farm animal cruelty videos can be designed to be as effective as possible in inspiring people to change their diet.
You may also be interested in this related study, which found that Farm To Fridge made teenagers and young adults more interested in changing their diet than videos focused on the environment, human health, or happy farm animals.
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