Catalyst Advertising

Case Study – Amnesty International

We used an integrated approach to boost petition signatures by 117%


Catalyst Advertising successfully met the challenge to increase signatures for eight Amnesty International Canada petitions by reaching out to supporters online using ads in Facebook and in various Google channels.


Amnesty International is a global movement working in more than 150 countries to protect and promote human rights. Their mission is to conduct research and effect action into ending the mistreatment of humans and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated. Over the past 50 years, Amnesty supporters have worked to bring positive changes to the lives of tens of thousands of people through International Calls for Action.

Catalyst was engaged to increase petition signatures for the following eight actions:

Case Studies
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Free Muhammad Bekzhanov

Uzbekistani journalist Muhammad Bekzhanov was finally released on February 22nd after spending 17 years in prison.

Halt the Site C Dam

Petition to let BC Premier John Horgan know he’s wrong to ignore the human rights of the indigenous peoples in the Peace River Valley.

Free Bahareh Hedayat

Women’s rights activist Bahareh Hedayat has been released from the notorious Evin Prison in Iran after serving a 7-year prison term.

Violence against indigenous women

Take the pledge to stand with indigenous women and families to put an end to the violence.

End Torture

Petition to end torture. Canada is one of 155 countries that have joined the Convention against Torture.

Support Syrian refugees

Join the urgent call for the deployment of UN monitors to protect people from harm, and give full access to humanitarian aid.

Help Syrian

Petition to stop the bombing of hospitals in Syria.

Missing people in Mexico

Petition urging Mexico to find 33,000+ people missing in the country and put a halt to an epidemic of torture and disappearance.

The Strategy

Amnesty International wanted to increase participation with their brand and the causes for which they advocate, while acquiring email addresses to expand their supporter database and consequently, to use in solicitations for donations. Obtaining petition signatures online allowed Catalyst to meet both of these objectives; users could engage with Amnesty’s actions and also provide their email address which would prove valuable to the organization for future prospecting.

We strategically set up the following three channels to reach an audience that would likely be interested in signing petitions for Amnesty’s actions:

  • Google search ads
  • Google display ads for branding and awareness
  • Facebook ads for social engagement

We created effective ads for each of the eight petitions, with clear calls to action to entice viewers to sign the petitions. The ads reached users while engaged in different activities:

  • Image ads could be seen by users while browsing sites on related topics in the Google Display Network.
  • Facebook ads were visible in users’ page feeds and generated by specific demographic and interest targeting.
  • Search ads were used as a final step leading to petition signatures. When a user searched in Google for keywords related to one of the actions, they were already aware of it, and were likely looking to see how they could help.

All three ad types directed users to pages set up to leave their email address and sign a petition.

The Results

Three months after Catalyst began the campaign, petitions more than doubled when compared to the previous quarter.

  • Petitions increased by 117%
  • Organic traffic increased petition signings by 311%
  • Facebook signings increased by 179%
  • Direct traffic signings increased by 620%
  • Display ads generated a 337% increase in visits
  • In Facebook, site sessions increased by 82%
  • Sessions from Google search (paid and organic) increased by 42%

Creating awareness for human, social and environmental injustice (something that touches a common nerve among the audience) through Facebook and Google display ads, has led to a powerful ad campaign that ultimately proved effective in further helping Amnesty International realize its vision.