In a move to connect with Defence Force Recruiting’s target demographic, the department spent $187,000 on a campaign run through an image messaging and multimedia mobile application.
As a key component of Defence Force Recruiting's Army Brand Campaign, Defence used the mobile app Snapchat, an app accessed by 4.5 million Australians daily, of which over 80 per cent fall within Defence Force Recruiting’s target audience of 18-35-year-olds. In 2016, Snapchat revealed its largest audience was aged 18-24 (31 per cent), followed by 25-34 (28 per cent), 13-17 (23 per cent) and 35+ (18 per cent).
Defence’s campaign, which ran from 1 September to 30 November 2017 and was part of a media package for the AFL Final Series, included a National Lens featuring the Rising Sun badge, Snap Codes, advertisements, a nationwide Nielsen report to support data analysis and geo-filters.
Geo-filters, which allow users to add a location illustration specific to where they are, were available for Snapchat users located at the Adelaide Oval and Melbourne Cricket Ground during the AFL’s Preliminary Finals. On AFL Grand Final Day, Defence also offered an exclusive lens through the app available nationally for only 24 hours on 29 September 2017. The exclusive lens received 1.7 million unique reaches.
Media and digital communications group Dentsu Mitchell negotiated the media package with the AFL on behalf of Defence. Defence told Senate estimates the package was valued at $300,000 but cost Defence $150,000, with an additional cost of $37,000 for the production of the Snapchat advertising material.
The department confirmed that the Snapchat advertisements that ran from September into early October “achieved over 30,000 swipe ups” and “Defence Force Recruiting had a 19 per cent increase in applications during that period”.
Social media expert and chief executive of civil-military "think-do tank" Info Ops HQ, Nicole Matejic, told Defence Connect the biggest hurdle currently facing defence recruiters is reaching 18-35-year-olds.
"Firstly, that [18-35-year-old] demographic is notoriously hard to hit in the first case; secondly, any sort of substantive result about how many people who have actually looked at it in that age bracket is a good thing," Matejic said.
Matejic, who has worked across Customs, Defence and intelligence, said that while partnering with the AFL to target people that are well allied to Defence "in terms of lifestyle choices, enjoyment of sport and living an active lifestyle", the success of the campaign will take time to fully measure.
"The proof in the pudding will be how many actually complete their application process to recruitment and then working out the dollar figure, so if its 30,000 that have looked at it on Snapchat but you only get 100 applicants and 25 of those actually join the Defence Force, and you divide 187,000 by 25, it’s actually a rather large cost," Matejic explained.
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"So you have to take the metrics all the way through the life-cycle to the end-point and try and track where people have come across that kind of content for recruitment and track it right through to the minute they graduate from their training course."
As for which app Defence may use next to target the illusive 18-35-year- old age bracket, Matejic said the answer is not Facebook or Twitter.
"Spotify is the other one in that demographic that is very strong, but also very expensive," she said.
The Snapchat lens used during the campaign.