Case Study: London Borough of Hackney

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Case study​

Nudging with new content boosted foster care engagement in Hackney in 2016.

In common with most UK local authorities, the London Borough of Hackney needs to continually recruit foster carers to provide family life on a short or longer-term basis for children who – for a whole range of reasons – are unable to live with their birth parents.

Hackney Fostering Service had a target of recruiting 20 new foster carers each year. This sounds like a modest aim, but in the previous three years (2013-15) they came up short.

This is not only bad news for Hackney children in care, but also for council coffers, with the average annual cost for each single placement within the Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) sector in the range of £41,000 to £42,000 compared with a local authority foster care placement of £23,000 to £27,000.

CAN’s marketing brief from Hackney in autumn 2016, was to run a digital Citizen Reach campaign to identify residents interested in fostering and nurture them towards engagement with the fostering team.

It started by raising awareness of foster caring for all Hackney residents in the 35-60 age demographic by placing adverts across local and national newspaper websites, social media channels, and e-commerce and information platforms.

People who clicked on the advert link to the fostering pages on Hackney’s website were classified as ‘interested’, and this group was then re-targeted with a video advert placed in pre-roll slots on YouTube, the All4 website and relevant newspaper web content.

The video featured powerful pieces to camera from foster carers and social workers to encourage those interested to attend events, call the fostering team or sign up for more information.

This strategy delivered an exceptional reach and excellent interaction rates:

  • Around 80% of the target audience saw the campaign.
  • More than 8,000 people clicked through and engaged with the campaign website.
  • There were 5,338 views of the video lasting over 30 seconds among those re-targeted
  • The YouTube video yielded high interactions among non-parents aged 35 -44 years

Over the following six months, Hackney Council received 300 expressions of interest to become foster carers which resulted in successful recruitment of 18 foster families – an increase from 11 on the previous year.

Read more on how to reach the right people with your digital campaigns. And how you can ‘share to save‘. Or contact CAN to arrange a chat.