Audience Targeting for EA communities

post by Asaf Ifergan · 2020-04-12T07:22:12.487Z · score: 9 (8 votes) · EA · GW · No comments

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    5 warrenjordan
    2 Prabhat Soni
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Hey, I want to build a strategy for community building (EA Israel) through facebook ads.

I wonder if there has already been some work done on understanding what is the target audience that most 'converts' for EA related content. Obviously I could just target audiences like students and people who are into volunteering, but that seems like a lazy practice to me and i'd rather have data to back this up.

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answer by warrenjordan · 2020-04-13T03:15:08.401Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Raising for Effective Giving targets the poker industry. The co-founders are poker players themselves and found that players embody the 'E' in EA. They propose that this audience tends to be more rational and logic than the general population. Their initial outreach strategy was to target players who have a pre-existing altruistic tendency, and get them to donate to more effective charities.

Not sure if that constitutes as data for your purposes, but they are an example of how they've targeted an audience that has seen some success in converting to EA.

comment by Asaf Ifergan · 2020-04-13T18:46:22.237Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

That's pretty good for personal outreach, and I would agree that these assumptions can be helpful when trying to reach to people who will have a positive tendency towards EA.

Having said that, it's pretty unclear to me how you would translate that into ad targeting considering:

1. It's difficult to clearly target "rational and logical" people when you're trying not to approach a specific audience. I can obviously target engineers, mathematicians, and philosophy students, but that is excluding everybody else that is logical and rational and assuming others don't possess these characters. This can also decrease the variety of opinions and talents in our community even more. I might be more sensitive about this because i'm not that typical EA character (no academic background, not much of a technology guy).

2. The goal is to build the community, not necessarily finding people who will donate. This means that a lot of different people can be relevant for us and i'd like to open our reach but still keep it within a reasonable and logical audience.

Than again, sometimes you just can't win everything. Maybe it will be a good idea to target specific audiences with different posts, targeting each audience with content that is more palatable and interesting for them.

answer by Prabhat Soni · 2020-05-03T00:44:29.889Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Note: I have been involved with EA since 2-3 months only, so my ideas may not be accurate.

One approach is to target people involved in social issues who believe in some of the more popular EA concept(s).

Climate Change
Out of all the EA priority areas, climate change is arguably the most popular one (among non-EAs/general population).
Quite a few people (among non-EAs) work on climate change because they think it's the most pressing problem. They believe in some of the more well-known EA concepts like:

1. Using supply/demand concept to choose a social issue (aka neglectedness).

2. The fact that climate change needs to be fixed quickly while other social issues can be solved later also (similar to idea of existential risk).


On the whole, more involved groups appear to prioritise Global Poverty and Climate Change less and longtermist causes more. ~ EA 2019 Survey

However, I must point out that Global Poverty is ranked the most popular EA cause area, followed by Climate Change. I suspect this is due to a lot of people in the EA movement having joined recently, and taking some time to understand EA's ideas on cause prioritization.

Similarly, it may be efficient to target people who are involved in nuclear security (they share ideas of existential risk and sudden catastrophes are more important than catastrophes that build up over time).

Essentially, we are looking for people who are working on a particular social cause because of logical reasons. This greatly increases their chance of being a fit with the ideas of EA, since this approach captures both the effective and altruism aspects of EA.

comment by Asaf Ifergan · 2020-05-03T10:43:00.089Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi Prabhat!

First things first, I'm also relatively new to EA (approximately 8 months) and I think that it's of great value to take into consideration the ideas of new community members who still have a kind of 'outsider view' on things.

By in large, I agree and I actually started working on strategies to target people who are involved in relevant cause areas or might be more open to EA's concepts of expanding the circle of morality.

There a few assumptions that we can be the base of building this strategy:

  • Communities that have a moral underpinning:
  1. Might be more inclined to be interested in effective altruism in general.
  2. Might be more open to long-term moral arguments, and possibly more easily convinced with them.
  3. Might already have a relatively ‘expanded moral circle’ (e.g, animal welfare activists, climate change activists). This can make expanding their moral circle easier than with other people.
  • Attracting people that are already interested in one of EA’s cause areas with content that relates to that cause area can help build credibility with them, and make them feel more comfortable, This, in turn, can enhance the openness and willing of those people to read further about other EA causes
  • Existing communities enable us to reach a great number of people semi-organically and with a low cost.

Having said that, I think we should be careful with popular causes like climate change and animal welfare, the reason is that a respectful amount of the people who support these causes do so for reasons that are not suitable with EA, don't really have reasoning for their views, or are even aggressive towards people who think differently.

It's completely anecdotal but yesterday when I mapped relevant facebook communities I noticed some groups explicitly state they do shaming to meat-eaters, or are conspiracy-based.

comment by Prabhat Soni · 2020-05-04T08:01:37.846Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA(p) · GW(p)

Hi Asaf,

I agree with the points you make. Additionally, I think it is easier to find EA's among altruism-related-communities (e.g. climate change, factory farming, etc) rather than effective/logic-related-communities (e.g. philosophers, engineers, scientists). This is because people willing to devote their career to altruistic causes are rare, while quite a lot of people think and reason logically.

Also, I'd love to know of any surveys or research that tries to find correlations between what EAs were doing pre-knowledge-of-EA and post-knowledge-of-EA. Or, what are the opinions on EA among people from different industries or subject-of-study.

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