An Online Deterrence Campaign to Stop Harmful Cat Declawing Procedures

The Paw Project’s mission is to educate the public about the painful and crippling effects of feline declawing, to promote animal welfare through the abolition of the practice of declaw surgery, and to rehabilitate cats that have been declawed.

The goal of our campaign was to reach people actively looking for declawing services (“in-market”) and deter them from declawing.

9 million

impressions for the deterrance ads served to would-be declawers

201%

above benchmark click through rate on Google Search, achieved by targeting a high-intent audience

100+

the number of people our cross-channel campaign helped to deter from declawing their cats

The Challenge:

Although declawing is banned in a handful of states, many people continue to declaw their cats in states where it is legal. There are over 33,000 monthly searches for “cat declawing” in the United States. In general, people who declaw tend to be unaware of the harm that declawing causes and falsely believe that declawing will protect their furniture and families. Some even declaw because they worry their cat will end up back in the shelter if they don’t.

The challenge with this campaign was to educate the public about the harmful effects of declawing, without making them feel alienated or patronized. By providing the information in a helpful manner, we hoped to either actively persuade them not to go through with the harmful and unnecessary procedure at the very moment when they are making their decision.

The Strategy

We first conducted research to determine people’s motivations for declawing, and what they searched for when they were looking for the procedure.

We then leveraged paid ads on the Google Display Network and YouTube, along with the Google Ad Grant to intervene before people declawed. We targeted people who had been searching for keywords related to lower-funnel declawing keywords (such as declawing near me) and drove them to a landing page that outlined the negative side effects of declawing and provided a variety of alternatives. The landing page also included a coupon to Tuft and Paw, which has a variety of cat scratching posts, and a drawing to win a Tuft & Paw gift card.

We also developed a measurement framework to gauge the impact our campaigns had on educating the public about declawing and changing their minds. This included an exit survey on the landing page.

Campaign Development

Implementation

Before we jumped into our strategy, we needed to understand The Paw Projects audience better. We conducted market research to determine peoples’ motivations for declawing, and researched keywords related to declawing to determine where we could intervene when the intent was to declaw.

Then, we helped develop a landing page based on our market research that would target the motivators of those who would-be declawers, emphasizing the fact that they can still protect their family and possessions while also protecting their cat.

Multi-Touchpoint Campaign

Implementation

We created and managed ads across the organization’s Google Ad Grant, as well as Google Display Network and YouTube, leveraging our new landing page, which targeted people who were actively looking to declaw their cats.

In order to measure the success of our deterrence campaign, we developed a measurement survey to gauge the effectiveness of the ads and the perception of those exposed to our campaign.

Results

85% of survey respondents who had previously been unaware of the effects of declawing responded that they were now very unlikely to declaw their cats.

Our cross-channel campaign helped to deter more than 100 people from declawing their cats.

By targeting a high-intent audience, we reached people who were more likely to engage with our content and were able to write ad copy that directly spoke to their motivations. Click through rate was 201% above benchmark on Google Search and 13% above benchmark on Display.

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